Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Music Man
Town Hall Arts Center: 5/16 – 6/15
                                                Chris Boeckx as Harold Hill

     How does it get any better than this?

    Chris Willard’s “The Music Man” for Town Hall Arts in Littleton features an exhilarating performance by Chris Boeckx.  His version of Harold Hill as a weasel who’s surviving and thriving off the good will and naivete of old fashioned down-home widows and spinsters is full of stink eye expressions to which only we as audience are privy.
                                                 Maggie Sczekan as Marian

     Maggie Sczekan’s portrayal of Marian, the Librarian stuns. The term “auditory champagne" gets infused with a brand new effervescence as Sczekan’s soaring soprano delivers the likes of “Til there Was You” and “My White Knight … magnificently!
     The Shinn family is given sterling life by Brian Walker-Smith (Mayor Shinn,) LuAnn Buckstein (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn) and Erica Lloyd(Zaneeta Shinn.)
     Damon Guerasio’s wide-eyed, high steppin’ Marcellus sounds and looks a lot like that of a skinny version of Buddy Hackett. (I mean a Hackett after a two-year success story with Weight Watchers!) Bravo!
     How often can a critic say that the children featured in a show are magnificent?
     Not very often.
     Here, however, we have two children who, if they continue to study in the field of musical theatre, will become stars.
     Sydney Fairbairn’s Amaryllis brings this nearly always overlooked character to startling vibrant clarity. Ms. Fairbairn was the star of Town Hall’s amazing “Annie” last holiday season.
                                          Carter Novinger as Winthrop

     Carter Novinger’s performance in the role of Winthrop is outstanding. It is to be hoped that Mr. Novinger will continue his work in the theatre as he shows tremendous promise.
     Donna Debreceni’s musical direction is as always, stunning. This time it is especially noticeable in the large choral numbers like "Iowa Stubborn” and “The Wells Fargo Wagon.”    Her work with the quartet singing the Barber Shop quartet numbers astounds! Kevin Hindley, Keegan Flaugh, John Mackey and Jacob Villareal are the outstanding harmonizers. And although La Debreceni’s musical tracks are great one so wishes for her presence leading her outstanding onstage band.
      Kelly Kates’ choreography is exciting and fresh and fills the stage to perfection. (This is the kind of correctly staged choreography that allows the audience to feel excited and comfortable at the same time. I remember one production of “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” at The Country Dinner Playhouse in which the athletic choreography was so expansive that it made a critic fear that one of those leaping brothers was gonna land in someone’s just offstage potato salad.)
     Jacob Welch’s lighting creates just the right mood in each scene. Especially in the ones that showcase Ms. Sczekan’s solos!
     Cindy Franke’s costumes –especially those for La Sczekan and La Buckstein- are eye-poppers. The outrageous hats Franke designed for Ms. Buckstein are hilarious.
     If there were one thing that this critic might wish to have been done differently it would be the number at the top of the show. Although the brass rectangle that served as the only physical illusion of the train in “Rock Island” was nicely polished, the production of this scene was not. In short… “Rock Island” does not rock! If anyone at Town Hall is still on staff from around fifteen seasons ago he will remember a much better scene in a somewhat less than good production.
2450 W. Main Street
Littleton, CO.
Call for tickets: 303-794-2787 or go online at townhallartscenter.comMarlowe's Musings

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