The Music Man, With Kate Baldwin, Burke Moses, Donna Migliaccio, Begins Marching at Arena Stage May 11
By Kenneth Jones
Meredith Willson's The Music Man, the Americana-striped musical comedy about a corrupt salesman who charms — and is charmed by — a small town in Iowa, begins performances in-the-round at Arena Stage on May 11. Broadway's Burke Moses and Kate Baldwin star.
Arena artistic director Molly Smith directs the Washington, DC, revival of the musical by Willson (book, music and lyrics). Performances play the Fichandler Stage (where Smith's Oklahoma! was a smash) to July 22. Opening night is May 23.
"I was born in a small town," Smith said in an earlier statement. "Some of the most narrow-minded people come from small towns and some of the most visionary. In The Music Man, Willson has captured the essence of a small town in the middle of America. Our world for The Music Man is set in a vision of America's past with echoes of today."
Baldwin (who plays Marian the Librarian) was a Tony Award nominee for Broadway's Finian's Rainbow and was a Helen Hayes nominee for Arena's South Pacific. Moses (who plays traveling salesman Harold Hill) was the original Gaston in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast. They are joined by DC-area natives John Lescault (Signature's Brother Russia) as Mayor Shinn, Donna Migliaccio (Broadway's Ragtime) as Mrs. Paroo and Nehal Joshi (Ali Hakim in Arena's Oklahoma!) as Marcellus Washburn. Making their Arena Stage debuts are Barbara Tirrell (national tour of Wicked) as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, with newcomers Will Burton as Tommy Djilas and Juliane Godfrey as Zaneeta Shinn, among others.
All performances in May are sold out. The Fichandler Stage is located in the Mead Center for American Theater.
The Music Man has choreography by Parker Esse (Arena's Oklahoma!, for which he won the Helen Hayes Award) and music direction by Lawrence Goldberg (conducting 15 musicians).
The creative team also includes set designer Eugene Lee (Arena's Oklahoma!, Broadway's Wicked and original Sweeney Todd), costume designer Judith Bowden, lighting designer Dawn Chiang, sound designer Timothy M. Thompson, wig designer Anne Nesmith, artistic associate and casting director Dan Pruksarnukul, New York casting director Stuart Howard and Paul Hardt, dramaturg Amrita Ramanan, stage manager Susan R. White and assistant stage manager Jenna Henderson.
The Music Man is an original musical not based on source material, though it was inspired in part by Willson's own roots in Iowa. The show won the 1958 Tony Award as Best Musical. Its score includes such American standards as "Seventy-Six Trombones," "Till There Was You," "Trouble," "My White Knight" and more. To learn more about the original Broadway production of The Music Man, visit the Playbill Vault.
Five DC-area kids were cast as a result of an all-day casting call held at Arena Stage. They are Ian Berlin making his professional theatre debut as Winthrop Paroo, Heidi Kaplan as Amaryllis and Jamie Goodson as Gracie Shinn. Colin J. Cech and Mia Alessandra Goodman appear as River City kids.
The cast also features Sasha Olinick as Charlie Cowell/Constable Locke, Katerina Papacostas as Ethel Toffelmeir, Joe Peck as Ewart Dunlop/Traveling Salesman, Janet Aldrich as Maud Dunlop, Lawrence Redmond as Oliver Hix/Traveling Salesman, Tina Stafford as Alma Hix, Michael Brian Dunn as Jacey Squires, Rayanne Gonzales as Mrs. Squires and Justin Lee Miller as Olin Britt. Christina Kidd, Scott Shedenhelm, Eric Shorey, Kristen J. Smith, Jessica Wu and Nicholas Yenson make up the ensemble cast, with Alissa Alter (female swing), Kurt Domoney (male swing) and Michael Schlesinger (understudy).
The orchestra includes Anne Ament (E-flat clarinet, clarinet, bass clarinet), Jerry Amoury (bass trombone), Deborah Milan Brudvig (cello), Mark Carson (drums, percussion, timpani), Curt Christensen (trumpet), Rita Eggert (oboe, English horn, clarinet, soprano saxophone), Dennis Ferry (trumpet), George Hummel (piccolo, flute, clarinet), Kieron C. Irvine (trumpet), John Jensen (trombone), Robert Landham (flute, clarinet, baritone saxophone), Dana Landis (bass trombone), Bruno Nasta (violin), Jose Simbulan (synthesizer, assistant music director) and Greg Watkins (bass).
For tickets and information, visit arenastage.org.
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