A group from Saratoga Drama Group went to check out Sunnyvale's The Music Man last night, since we had a night off from Beauty and the Beast. The show was a lot of fun, with simple yet beautiful sets, gorgeous costumes and beautiful voices. My friend, Steve Anthony, was really outstanding as Marcellus - stealing every scene he was in, with his hilarious antics and incredible facial expressions that really brought each scene he was in alive.
The opening scene on the train was very catchy and enjoyable - the movement of the cast perfectly recreating the motion of a train, so you could really believe they were moving... except for Kevin Cornelius (Harold Hill) who for some reason remained still on the suitcase he was sitting on. It was an odd choice, as it drew attention to him when we were all still supposed to be wondering who this Harold Hill Character was they were so wound up about.
The quartet was delightful, starting out seemingly "rough" then really coming together as the show developed and their characters became friends instead of rivals. It was an interesting character arc for all of them, that added a nice subplot to underscore the main characters.
Krystin Skidmore, who played Marian, was amazing. Her voice swelling above the orchestra, easily heard even in her softer moments. Good diction, I'm sure, helped with that. I never quite felt the romantic connection with Harold Hill, as she seemed to retain her wariness through much of the show... until she quite clearly resolved that she'd allow this conman into her life.
Kevin Cornelius was an outstanding Harold Hill - his height greatly contributing to his stage presence, as he seemingly towered over the residents of River City. Other standout performances were seen from Alex Martin as Tommy and Eulalie's dancing ladies.
There were a few "zombie chorus" moments (non smiling, slightly terrified dancers) and a few times when the ensemble forgot to watch the music director, but overall the group numbers were fun and enjoyable! I particularly liked Shipoopee. Some of the younger girls were unbearably cute and were so much fun to watch (particularly with an oversized trombone!)
I really enjoy seeing a show where microphones are not used. It is a much richer sound, with no risk of technical glitches or popping from the microphone. Since Sunnyvale has a proper pit for the orchestra, they can do this and achieve a really beautiful sound.
The show is closing this weekend, but I can't recommend going to see this show enough. It was a lot of fun!
That is... if you can't get tickets to see me at Saratoga Drama Group's Beauty & the Beast. :-)