Arts and Entertainment

Silverdale's 'The Music Man' finds his charm

It’s hard to say which element of “The Music Man,” playing at the Central Stage Theatre of Kitsap County this month, is most utterly irresistible: There’s the school board quartet, a squabbling bunch of round-bellied comics singing in perfectly ridiculous harmony; there’s Winthrop, the little boy with a lisp whose rendition of “Gary, Indiana” is sweetly show-stealing; and then there’s the people of the town. In big top hats and frilly dresses, the happy chorus of nearly 50 makes the arrival of the Wells Fargo wagon a moment so magically tickling one easily forgets themself.

But in a play so beloved as Meredith Willson’s, directed with Christopher Borer’s Disney-style charm, “The Music Man” is more about what you’re not supposed to like — or rather, who.

And in this case, Professor Harold Hill, the conniving con man who dupes the town on the lovely idea of a boys’ marching band — but can’t conduct a single note — is so wonderfully boisterous you’ll wish the show could keep running long after the instruments finally arrive.

“It’s a wonderful show, it’s quite magical,” Borer said. Under his direction, the cast seems to have fused together, each character’s lines clipping along in a cohesive rhythm, every stage presence as colorful and charming as the next. It seems a bit of the magic of River City, Iowa, has spread to CSTOCK’s Silverdale stage.

Amy Musselwhite, who lends beautiful vocals to Marian ‘the Librarian,’ said hers is a “dream role” in a show for all ages.

“She would be a feminist in today’s age,” Musselwhite said of Marian, the smart, stubborn music teacher who won’t settle with just any man, despite the widely held notion she’s on the fast track to spinsterhood.

When Hill comes to town, chastising River City’s trouble-causing pool table and selling the unheard sounds of a marching band, Marian is none too confident in the man’s boastful stories and big promises. It’s 1912, and River City is a place keen on purity, where cigarettes are illegal and the mayor’s daughter is forbidden to fraternize with the boy from the wrong side of the tracks — “egads!”

Eric Richardson’s Hill is as smooth and well-oiled as a superb sales pitch. His choreography is rowdy — hardly a scene goes by without Hill perching on top of this, tap dancing on top of that. Richardson and Musselwhite bring the unlikely pair together in a show that seems as much a celebration of storytelling on the stage as it is a peek inside small-town America, where happy endings are just a train stop down the tracks.

WANT TO GO?

“The Music Man” will play at CSTOCK Feb. 12 to March 7. The show plays Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Sundays. For tickets and more information, visit www.cstock.org.

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