Northport Daily News: Prepare to fall in love with ‘The Music Man’

April 2, 2014 at 7:30 pm by Elise Pearlman

The multiple award-winning musical, ‘The Music Man,’ opened at the John W. Engeman Theater last week.  Although more than 50 years have passed since its Broadway debut, the show has lost none of its magic, humor or ability to tug on our heartstrings.  Under the direction of Igor Goldin, the Engeman cast brings it all to fruition so beautifully and enthusiastically that they make it new again. Prepare to be bewitched, and to fall in love with the characters. You won’t want it to end.

Meredith Willson, who penned the book, music and lyrics for the show, was not only an extremely gifted composer, songwriter and playwright, but a man with a deep understanding of the dreams, hopes and wishes that are the province of the heart. The musical showcases his genius.

Carl Sagan once said that serendipity is the optimistic belief that there is something marvelous around the corner, something not yet discovered, yet magnificent. It is this feeling of hopeful anticipation that “Professor” Harold Hill, aka “The Music Man,” brings with him when he breezes into River City, Iowa.  Willson modeled River City after his hometown of Mason City, Iowa, a slice of small town America that he knew like the back of his hand.  Yet theatergoers will immediately be enchanted by Josh Zangen’s set which features a beautiful latticework-laced gazebo framed by trees is reminiscent of Northport Village Park.

The good professor is a smooth-talking con artist who has his act down to a science. Like Mr. Willson, he has an uncanny understanding of what makes people tick and he uses it to get the townsfolk  to fork over money for a children’s band. The only person immune to his charms and skeptical  about his motives is the comely but aloof town librarian, Marian Paroo, whom he’d actually like to get to know better.

Robert Gallagher, who previously played romantic leads in Engeman’s ‘South Pacific’ and ‘The Sound of Music,’ was born to play the title role of the traveling Pied Piper. He has a commanding presence, an astounding singing voice, and a great sense of comedic timing.  Kim Carson, who played opposite him in ‘South Pacific,’ stars as Marian Paroo. She has the voice of an angel and the face to match. Her rendition of the lovelorn lament, “Goodnight, My Someone” melted my heart.

The supporting cast assembled by Stephen DeAngelis is impeccable and audiences will be delighted as each one eventually takes his or her place in the spotlight. Ray DeMattis is wonderful as the verbally befuddled Mayor Shinn and Jennifer Tully, Engeman’s Artistic Administrator, is hilarious as his histrionic wife, Eulalie Mackecknie. Carlos Lopez, who plays Professor Hill’s wing man Marcellus Washburn, has a true knack for comedy, and really struts his stuff when he sings “Shipoopi.”

Winthrop Paroo,  an adorable boy whose lisp has rendered him painfully shy, was played by Jeffrey S. Kishinevskiy on the night that I saw the show. I predict great things for this little star who can really belt out a song.   Patti Mariano, who plays Marian’s very Irish, impulsively frank mother, garners a lot of laughs.  I loved the mellifluous crooning of the Barbershop Quartet made up of Richard Costa, Kenny Francoeur, Kevin Necciai and Kilty Reidy.

The show hits all the high notes in terms of the music. Director James Olmstead and his crew deliver the goods big time, making the unseen six piece pit band sound like a full piece orchestra.  With so many wonderful songs, it is hard to choose a favorite, but mine included “The Sadder-But-Wiser-Girl,” “Till There Was You,” and of course, the beloved classic, “Seventy-six Trombones.”

I heartily commend everyone involved with this production. Ryan Moller’s costumes are spectacular as is the hair and make-up design by Kurt Alger. You’ll see some of the fanciest footwork that ever graced the Engeman stage, thanks to Antoinette DiPietropolo’s fabulous choreography. Cory Pattak’s lighting augments the ambience.

‘The Music Man’ runs through May 18, but buy tickets early this family-friendly show could very well sell out! The Engeman Theater is located at 250 Main St., Northport Village. Tickets can be purchased at the theater’s box office, by calling (631) 261-2900 or by visiting www.engemantheater.com.

Times Beacon Record: Seventy-six trombones lead the Engeman in ‘The Music Man’

Published April 07, 2014 | 04:39 PM

Meredith Willson’s 1957 great hit “The Music Man” recently opened at the Engeman Theater in Northport. Set in 1912 in Willson’s hometown, called River City, Iowa, in the show, it chronicles the plans of a con man/traveling salesman to bilk the city out of thousands and skip. All of the above were neatly integrated in the production.

It had all of the things a musical comedy should have: variety, exquisitely performed choreography, impressive singing and an engaging plot. The armature of the production was Antoinette DiPietropolo’s choreography. Yes, there was Rob Gallagher as Harold Hill, the “Music Man,” whose singing and dancing were extraordinarily powerful as usual; yet without DiPietropolo’s terpsichorean talent there would have been a weak spark in the nucleus of the visual entertainment.

The Engeman has a wide stage, and every square centimeter was used. Every aspect of dance was put into play: classical ballet, interpretive, modern and more. Directing was the job of Igor Goldin who was confronted by a massive responsibility of blocking and interpretation. His resume, loaded as it is with many awards, stood him in good stead to take on “The Music Man.” His stage skills had eminent success in this show.

Backing all of these rhythms was James Olmstead directing on piano, Joe Boardman on trumpet (whose skill your scribe has praised previously for his ability in the very upper register), Frank Hall on trombone, Mark Gatz and Marni Harris on reeds and Josh Endlich on percussion. Endlich had alot of march-tempo effort, and he made it sound like a platoon of drummers.

Gallagher was undoubtedly the star. His stage presence alone, along with his sense of timing, while integrating all this with singing and dancing, put him on the apogee of which there was no perigee.

Kim Carson, her tall angular beauty enhancing her plangent voice, teamed up with Gallagher both in “Shipoopi” and individually on “Till There Was You” with penetrating effect. There was plenty of comedy with Mayor Shinn (Ray DeMattis) and his wife, Eulalie (Jennifer Collester-Tully). His mangling of the English language culminated in (to his wife) “Not one poop out of you!!” to which she responds, “He means peep!” Then there was his incomprehensible simile, “like a buttonhook in a waterbucket.”

Collester-Tully was particularly sharp as the foil … er, wife. The diminutive dynamite of Carlos Gomez as Marcellus was effective as the comic Leporello. Since the setting was 1912, a barbershop quartet was featured, consisting of Richard Costa, Kevin Necciai, Kilty Reidy and Kenny Francoeur. Their really close harmony stood beautifully in contradistinction to the production numbers and solos.

In a well-played child’s part, Shane Anthony McGlone sang “Gary Indiana,” showing great promise. That made-for-the-stage character, portly Burl Ives look-alike Doug Vandewinckel was the lecherous Charlie Cowell. All he needs to do is walk on stage and the character he is playing comes to immediate life.

The ensemble members responsible for all the kudos for dancing were: Larry A. Lozier Jr. (dance captain), Nathan Applegate, Tara Carbone, Karli Dinardo, Danielle Mia Deniz and Chris LeBeau.

The happy coalescence of talent is what made this show a hit. However, talent is not a finished product — it needs coordination, training, rehearsing and support. This is what the Engeman brings together; a host of expertise in the aesthetic dimension with sharp skills in directing, choreography, singing along with those unsung backups like Costume Coordinator Ryan Moller, sound design by Craig Kaufman and lighting design by Cory Pattak. The result: great theatah.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport will present “The Music Man” through May 18. Tickets are $60 to $65. For more information, call 261-2900 or visit engemantheater.com.

Broadway World: BWW Reviews: The Engeman’s THE MUSIC MAN

April 3, 2014, by Melissa Giordano

All of the productions at Northport’s John W. Engeman Theatre are a special treat. Their current offering, Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, is certainly no exception. The fantastic production, running through May 18th at the gorgeous Long Island venue, boasts a top notch cast who deliver Broadway caliber performances.

The musical’s story revolves around con man Harold Hill, portrayed delightfully by Rob Gallagher, who pretenses himself as a boy’s band organizer/leader. He sells band instruments, instruction books, and uniforms to the naive Iowa townsfolk, but plans to skip town with their money without giving any music lessons. Mr. Gallagher receives roaring applause particularly with his spirited renditions of “Trouble” and the iconic “76 Trombones”. Additionally, Mr. Gallagher has great chemistry with co-star Kim Carson who portrays prim librarian and piano teacher Marian Paroo.

Perceptive Marian sees right through Harold’s scheme and is initially stand-offish toward the “masher” – we’re in the year 1912 here, folks. However, as Harold begins to help her younger brother – Winthrop, portrayed adorably by Jeffrey Kishinevsky – overcome his lisp and social awkwardness, Marian begins to fall for Harold. Ms. Carson’s strong voice is ideal for the demanding score and makes it a point to interact with pretty much everyone on stage with her. Additionally, she also receives praise from the audience with her stunning performances of “My White Knight” and “Will I Ever Tell You”.

Carlos Lopez is also part of the Igor Goldin directed cast as Harold’s longtime friend Marcellus Washburn. Mr. Lopez was especially fantastic leading a lively performance of “Shipoopi” in Act Two with Mr. Gallagher and the cast. Special kudos also to Nathan Applegate, Richard Costa, Kenny Francaeur, Chris LaBeau, Larry A. Lozier, Jr., Kevin Necciai, Doug Vandewinckel, and Kilty Reidy for a rousing opening number of “Rock Island”. This is a tricky song; you can’t miss a beat in the number and they delivered brilliantly. The rest of the large, talented, enthusiastic cast moves well to Antoinette DiPietropolo’s fun choreography highlighted by the wonderful orchestra headed up by James Olmstead. Ryan Moller’s costumes are stunning as well with a definite throwback feel to them.

As so the Engeman certainly has another hit with The Music Man. Predictable? Perhaps, but this classic from the golden age of theatre is one every theatre enthusiast should see. The Engeman’s incarnation delivers a great cast, wonderfully executed numbers, and, frankly, a smile on your face as you leave the theatre.

The Music Man is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through May 18th. By Meredith Wilson, Directed by Igor Goldin, Scenic Design by Josh Zangen, Costumes by Ryan Moller, Lighting Design by Cory Pattak, Sound Design by Craig Kaufman, Hair & Make-Up by Kurt Alger, Casting by Stephen DeAngelis, Music Direction by James Olmstead, Choreography by Antoinette DiPietropolo, Stage Management by Naomi Anhorn. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

Photo by Michael DeCristofaro; Kim Carson and Rob Gallagher in the John W. Engeman Theatre’s The Music Man

New York Theatre Guide: Review, ‘The Music Man’

April 2, 2014 by Kristen Weyer

The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport presents Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. This beloved classic opened last weekend, and is playing through May 18, 2014. Full of comical characters, enchanting musical numbers, and lively, jovial dance sequences The Music Man is a delight for all ages.
The Music Man follows con-man Harold Hill (Rob Gallagher) as he plans to take in the parents of a small town, River City, Iowa. He promises that in only four weeks, he can transform their sons into a boy’s marching band; though naturally through the purchases of musical instruments, uniforms and instructional booklets. The only problem is Harold doesn’t know the difference between a piano and a piccolo. Despite his musical ignorance, Harold manages to turn the town on its head with his fast talking, and slippery ways. However, not everyone is so easily swayed to believe in Harold’s enticing vision. The town librarian, Marian Paroo (Kim Carson), is also the savvy local piano teacher, who has some serious doubts about the authenticity of Harold’s claims. Meanwhile, Mayor Shinn (Ray DeMattis) and the school board (Richard Costa, Kevin Necciai, Kilty Reidy, and Kenny Francoeur) continually hound after him for credentials, causing Harold to reach deeply into his bag of distracting and humorous tricks. Before Harold can skip town with his collected money, he realizes his flirtations with Marian have turned into something that might be worth staying for.
The quality of this production is wonderful. Every aspect, from the acting and costuming, to the set design, works together for a stunning performance. Many of the actors have performed on Broadway and other stages, and the quality of their performances is noticeable. Even the young, new actors have impressive abilities. Jeffrey Kishinevskiy, one of the boys who plays Winthrop Paroo, shone in his performance of “Gary, Indiana” with a pleasant, clear voice. Rob Gallagher showed tremendous vocal ability and control with his fast paced talk/singing throughout the performance, and the beautiful, clear soprano of Kim Carson was a pleasure to listen to.

‘The Music Man’ is a delight for all ages.

The teenage love story sub-plot, was an added enjoyment to the performance. The workman’s son, Tommy Djilas (Justin Schuman), is in love with the mayor’s daughter Zaneeta Shinn (Heidi Friese), but the mayor only sees a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Take a peek at these two on the sides, even during the main action; they will put a smile on your face.
Marian’s spunky mother Mrs. Paroo (Patti Mariano) was a fantastic character. Her loveable portrayal, combined with humorous wishing for Marian to get married, and incredible Irish accent, made for a memorable performance. Ray DeMattis also deserves commendation on his performance as Mayor Shinn. The humorous, twisted lines were delivered to perfection, and the character’s frustration was palpable.
The six member pit orchestra, conducted by Music Director James Olmstead, provides all the music for the show with stunning success. From “Seventy-Six Trombone”s to “Till There Was You,” the composition comes across in such a way that you believe you are listening to a much larger orchestra. The School Board turned Barbershop Quartet, also benefited from Mr. Olmstead’s direction in impressive a cappella renditions of some of their songs.
A great show depends not only on the acting and singing, but also on the little details that make a show believable. The costumes were time period appropriate, down to the shoes and hair styles. Even minor characters had three costume changes. Different locations were portrayed with rolling set pieces, which also aided in changing the mood on the stage. The dance sequences were wonderful, full of intricate choreography, lively jumps and fast paced twirls. From the opening number to the closing scene, The Music Man will enchant all who attend.
Running Time: 2 ½ hours with a 20 minute intermission.
The Music Man is running at the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport from March 27, 2014 – May 18, 2014. Shows are Wednesdays – Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $65, and available at the box office, by phone (631) 261-2900, or online www.engemantheater.com.

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