by Destiney Warren
I love musicals. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that I had never seen what is hailed as one of the most loved musicals of all time until this weekend. I’m always a skeptic of things that everyone else raves about (that’s just the snob in me) however the Raisin’ Cain Players production of The Music Man did not disappoint and I am a skeptic no more. You can still catch it if you haven’t already, with shows running every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until November 22 at the Selma Arts Center in Downtown Selma.
The Music Man though a comedy, is at heart, the classic love story of a bad boy turned good by finding (unexpectedly) the love of his life. The story starts out with a group of traveling salesman on a train talking about the nefarious “Professor Hill” who is ruining the name of traveling salesmen and causing them to be tarred and feathered. One of the men, Charlie Cowell (played by Jonathan Waltmire) wants to find this Professor Hill and make him pay! We then find Professor Hill who is selling “musical instruments to make a boy band though “he can’t tell one note from the other”. Hill has to convince the Mayor Shin (Randy McFarland) and the town librarian/music teacher Marian Paroo (Hanna York) that he can really teach the children how to play. Professor Hill and the rest of the town of River City entertain us with various escapades and musical numbers until finally ending perfectly.
One of my favorite parts about this musical was the beautiful set. The Raisin Cain players really outdid themselves with the set itself, the props and the costumes. It made you feel as if you were right back in Iowa of 1912.
Peter Allen who played Professor Hill has strong vocals and delivers even the most difficult of the songs perfectly. He makes the character of Hill come alive beautifully and captures how Hill grows over the course of the storyline. Hanna York who plays Marian Paroo captures us with her performance of the stern librarian and especially with the songs “Goodnight, My Someone” and “Till There Was You.” The show delivers its best comedic performance with Jennifer Avila-Allen who plays the Mayor’s wife: Mrs. Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn. She had the audience laughing with every one of her scenes, and was my favorite character.
This is definitely a good show if you’re looking for an evening or an afternoon out with a good love story and lots of laughs. It’s good wholesome fun that you can take anyone to, I took my 65-year-old Grandma and she had a blast. So go and take everyone you know to The Raisin’ Cain Players Production of The Music Man at the Selma Arts Center in downtown Selma (1935 High St). Tickets can be purchased online at www.tickettomato.com or at the Selma Arts Center. The Music Man has definitely earned its well-loved status!
You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section, along with a couple of behind the scenes articles about The Music Man from Terrance McArthur who is understudy one night for Jonathan-look for the Charlie Chronicles Part 1 and 2.