This review of The Music Man at The I.C.C. Theater In Douglaston was written by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
The Music Man
The Music Man
Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Directed by Andrew Joseph Koslosky
The I.C.C. Theater In Douglaston
72-00 Douglaston Parkway
Douglaston, New York 11362
Reviewed 8/1/15 at 8:00 p.m.
The Music Man at The Immaculate Conception Center Theater In Douglaston was the perfect summer musical for a summer evening. This production is an example of community theater at its finest. The synergistic, ensemble performances of the actors enhanced the efforts and the results of all who participated. That energy, combined with and powered by the enthusiastic response of the audience, made for a memorable evening. I found myself enjoying the fact that I was transported back into the past to River City, Iowa in the year 1912. That America has all but disappeared, but the hopes and aspirations of all citizens remain the same, as well as their desire to look out for their children and to not get conned or hoodwinked.
I truly appreciated the band's contribution to the beat and timing of this musical. I was particularly entranced by how the drummer mimicked the sound of the locomotive. The music also created a beautiful atmosphere and context for the performers to act in and punctuated the lyrics of the songs sung. There was a time when I didn't appreciate the value of voice amplification. During that time, prior to the 1970s, I refused to attend musicals that miked its actors, preferring instead to see musicals that were completely acoustic, which I considered to be "the pure experience." But then I realized that just as makeup enhances a woman's natural beauty, miking and sound-editing does the same for the human voice. improving its quality and allowing it to be heard in all its glory. I now marvel at the art and science necessary to get the sound just perfect, as it was the evening I saw this production. The choreography of Richard Masin and Danny Stravino also significantly contributed to the success of the show and was magnificently attention-grabbing, especially during the "Shipoopi" number in Act 2.
Richard Masin was exceptional in the lead role of Prof. Harold Hill. He is an up-and-coming talent. Marian Paroo, the librarian played by Monica Barczak was amazing as both a singer and actress soaring above the matronly appearance of the costume she was required to wear. Her mother, Mrs. Paroo, played by Kira Liantonio, kept up nicely. Ariana Barlas was believable and nifty as Amaryllis. However, Marian's younger brother Winthrop Paroo, played by Giancarlo Cascarino, could not match her performance. Marcellus Washburn as the con man's former associate, played by Danny Stravino, lit up the stage with his good humor whenever he made an appearance. Mayor George Shinn, believably brought to life by Mark Lord, was quite impressive as the frustrated public official using his good sense to try to vet the credentials of the con man and, as a concerned parent, attempting to protect the virtue of his eldest daughter from the amorous intent of Tommy Djilas, the son of a day laborer impressively portrayed by Rosario Amico.
The collective efforts of the entire ensemble cast made for a joyful and happy evening. The simultaneous singing, dancing and physical movement of the performers along with the music was absolutely hypnotic, and who could have anticipated that the audience would end up swaying right along with the performers! If you missed this production of The Music Man, then you missed one of the great moments in community theater!