My friend has always wanted to be a con artist. Mike Lawrence just checked off his bucket list performing Harold Hill in The Music Man.
The opening scene is of all the traveling salesmen on the train heading into River City. It’s a great setup. The older salesman explains that there’s a salesman he’s never met, who sells sheet music, instruments, and uniforms to the people and then skips town. The part I love is the other salesmen bumping along with the train as they talk and make music out of the jostling. All the while, Harold Hill (Mike Lawrence) has his back to the audience, sitting on his luggage, and listening to the story, bumping along.
It’s a huge cast that fills a small stage. The kids are equally as entertaining. The girl that plays Amarylis gets a reaction from the audience with her nastiness. Who knew kids could be so mean? In the end, quiet Winthrop (Andrew Kheriaty) sings with his lisp. And Lawrence performs with his daughter Kellen, who plays Dorothy, one of The Del Sartre Society Dance Team.
As the town gets distracted by Lawrence and always ending up singing, he and Marian Paroo (Jennifer Kheriaty) pass each other. Marian, the librarian and music teacher, senses he’s a con man. But I can’t help but notice the rapport the two have. A good story always has a love story. Even though falling in love with a liar isn’t at the top of anyone’s bucket list, it’s believable that Marian ignores the “roomers” about the salesman and falls for him. They sweetly sing the well-known tune, “Till There Was You.”
Then there are other songs with made up words. They’re entertaining, but what does shipoopi mean? A made up word for a dance? “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little and Goodnight Ladies” is a funny song. Balzac!
But the story isn’t just entertaining. It seriously made me think about all the con artists that we have all encountered at one time or another—whether it be a salesman or a politician. You know you’ve seen a good show when it entertains and makes one think.
The Musical Theatre Village is in a business section of Irvine, but when you walk in, it feels like you’re in someone’s home with photos on the wall.
Musical Theatre Village • 36-C Mauchly • Irvine • CA • 92618 The Music Man runs through Sun., June 30, 2019. Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for students.