by Lorie Lewis Ham
Editor’s Note: Just saw The Music Man again this last weekend, this time with Terry Lewis as Harold, and the show was just as wonderful just as I knew it would be! Don’t miss out!
Theatre during a pandemic can be a challenge. Both of Good Company Players’ current shows have seen cancelations of performances due to cast members getting Covid, and there has been a shuffling around of casts on some nights. But one thing you can count on with GCP is that when you see a show, it will be the best show they can give you and you won’t be disappointed.
Last week I finally got the chance to see their current production of The Music Man on stage at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the show, Harold Hill, a traveling salesman/con man arrives in River City with the goal of selling the town on the idea of a boys’ band so he can sell them instruments and uniforms. He also promises to teach the kids how to play those instruments. However, he doesn’t know anything about music and has no intentions of actually teaching them anything. His plan is to leave town as soon as he has all the money, but the librarian/local music teacher Marian Paroo puts a wrench in his plans. Could he possibly be developing feelings for her?
Originally, I was supposed to be there on opening weekend but the performance was canceled when Terry Lewis, who plays Harold Hill, tested positive for covid, along with a few others involved. When I finally did get to see the show, Harold Hill was played by the understudy Joseph Ham, who happens to be my son. He did a wonderful job, but of course, I could be a bit prejudiced. It just so happens that KRL’s other theatre reviewer, Terrance McArthur, was also there as his show, I Remember Mama, was canceled that night. Here is what he had to say about Joseph’s performance-“Joseph—a smooth warmth. You wouldn’t mind being hornswoggled out of your life savings by such a gentle con-man. He didn’t have the hard sell you might expect in this role. His performance was somewhere between the awkwardness of Matthew Broderick and the drive of Robert Preston. His wry delivery holds a can’t-believe-they-fell-for-this quality.”
Joseph has performed in many shows at 2nd Space, Roger Rocka’s, Selma Arts Center, and River City Theatre Company, so he isn’t a stranger to the stage—he was back in his regular role as Charlie Cowell (the one trying to bring Harold Hill down) by this past Sunday evening and Terry Lewis was back as Harold. Having also seen Terry in many shows through the years, I have no doubt that he does a wonderful job in the role as well.
Most of the rest of the regular cast was present at the performance we saw and they all did a lovely job of presenting this fun, light show that will have you laughing and smiling all the way home, with familiar songs like “Ya Got Trouble,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” and “Till There Was You,” stuck in your head for days. Greg Ruud as Mayor Shinn and Steve Souza as Harold’s friend Marcellus Washburn were hilarious as always. Here are Terrance’s comments on those two as well- “Souza—His spritely physicality enhances the broad humor that is his forte. Ruud—His mouth may mangle his thoughts, but he knows what he wants, even as his town crumbles around him. Ruud deftly works his way around dialogue that has caused many mistakes for others.”
Jessica Sarkisian has a beautiful voice and gave the audience a stubborn and strong Marian whose heart is melted when Harold manages to bring joy back to her brother Winthrop’s (Logan Clamored) eyes. Here again, is what Terrance had to say- “A ringing voice that commands respect. It’s fun to watch this version of Marian abandon her reserve and follow her feelings. Maid Marian follows her Robin Hood.”
The barbershop quartet is one of my favorite parts of this show and their heavenly harmonies did not disappoint. The evening started off with some fun songs involving numbers from an all-girls Jr. Company.
If you are looking for something to take your mind off the troubles of the real world and make you smile, don’t miss GCP’s production of The Music Man on stage at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater in Fresno until July 10. No matter what variation of the cast you get you can count on it being a fun night/afternoon of theatre! Tickets can be purchased online or by calling their box office at 559-266-9494 or 800-371-4747.
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And if you love theatre don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where you can hear local actors bring to life mystery short stories and first chapters!