“How was the show?” My husband asked our four-year-old daughter, as she hopped out of the car. Her reply was a single word “Awesome”. He looked up at me and I nodded in agreement. “It really was a great show!”
We had just come from Festival Place and opening night of The Music Man Kids. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this teen and tween aged (and some even younger!) musical theatre actors – and I can honestly say I was blown away.
The Music Man is a musical theatre classic that’s had countless turns on stage, and to say these kids did it more than justice would be the understatement of the year.
The story tells the tale of silver-tongued con-man Harold Hill, who drops into sleepy River City, Iowa just as a new pool hall has opened. He frightens the residents into believing that afternoons wasted in the billiard club will turn their children into unruly misfits. Harold convinces them to hand over their hard-earned cash for instruments and uniforms so the children can have a place in his band. Most of the townspeople are wooed by Harold’s charm, except for two skeptics – the Mayor and the Piano teacher, Marian. Harold perseveres, and by charming the Mayor’s wife and by bringing Marian’s kid brother, Winthrop, out of his shell, everything seems to be going Harold’s way.
Harold thinks he’s in the clear, until another newcomer rolls into town. It’s someone from Harold’s past, bent on warning the citizens they’ve been duped. But when the band members roll in, decked out in bright uniforms and playing shiny new instruments, their parents are enamored. For Harold, the feeling is mutual, and in true hero fashion, he wins the day and gets the girl too!
This cast sings and dances and looks the part. They flash bright smiles, draw the audience in, and move in remarkable harmony. From the busy bustling opening scene, to Harold and Marian’s romantic moment alone on the bridge, it’s easy to forget that these are just kids!
But they’re not just kids. They are some seriously talented young performers. There is stunning musical power behind the voice of the beautiful Marian, and the fast-talking Harold’s ability to sing and deliver lines at full speed is remarkable. The audience was clearly charmed by young Winthrop’s transformation, and got quite a chuckle out of the Mayor’s wife and her cackling little hen party. It would be no surprise to see any of these youngsters turn up on stage at the Jubilee Auditorium, or any other major venue, in the coming years.
The magic of The Music Man Kids is that it’s a show that audiences at all ages can appreciate. I loved the performance and so did my four-year-old twins, and at 45 minutes, this presentation is a perfect way to introduce youngsters to theatre. Adults will be impressed at the challenging production this young cast so aptly pulls off, and kids will love that the show is quick and fun and catchy and exciting.
In a word, as my daughter so rightly put it, the show is awesome.
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