|Music Man, The(SE)/A,B+|
| Robert Preston weaves through River City with the
grace of a panther sizing up its prey. Slightly hunched with knees bent, Preston latches
on to River Citys populace by painting a world with words in staccato rhythms that
drive The Music Man with more energy small town high school marching band.
Preston is Professor Henry Hill, a combination con man/salesman, who foists his wares on unsuspecting small towns with promises that are never fulfilled, at least not until he gets to River City. In this staid Iowa town the most excitement seems to be generated by the reading habits of the mayor's daughter. Her taste in boy friends provide further sparks, but life limps along from July 4th celebration to July 4th celebration with little of no alteration to the pattern of fireworks. That is until Hill seizes the collective collar of the town to inspire their interest in an all boys marching brass band. And it all starts from, Yes Sir, There's trouble right here in River City.
So many of the musical
elements of The Music Man are a sheer delight. Preston of course is perfection,
mostly sing talking his songs. But the harmony of The Buffalo Bills is delightful and
their interaction with Professor Hill never fails to bring a smile to my face. The opening
train number is quite amazing in its syncopated dexterity. And the ladies auxiliary
bursting with song like so many chickens is terrific.