|Marian the librarian and Professor Hill|
(Aimee Bryant and Luverne Seifert)
|Luverne Seifert and the cast of The Music Man|
The sparse set (by Joel Sass) and costumes (by Mary Anna Culligan) are so charming and effective. Each of the four corners of the square that is the Ten Thousand Things stage holds a weathered white post on which various signs are hung to represent the billiard hall, the Peroo home, the Wells Fargo Wagon, or the city gymnasium. Costumes are of a pale muted hue one night wear in the hot Iowa summer, and provide a great base for accessories to differentiate characters. In the blink of an eye, the actors change hats or add a shawl and transform into someone else entirely.
There's a reason The Music Man is such a classic. It's a beautiful story about the power of music, storytelling, family, friendship, community, and having a common goal. Professor Hill gives River City hope and something to strive for, and Marian's love and faith in him help him become the man that she thinks he is. With direction by Lear deBessonet and choreography by Jim Lichtsheidl, this is a wonderfully unique and delightful interpretation of this familiar story. Ten Thousand Things productions are always extremely professional, yet retain a playfulness and laid back feeling that draw the audience in, whether that audience is comprised of prisoners or seasoned theater-goers. Only five public performances remain and they're entirely sold out, but they do sell a limited number of 4th row seats at the door (yes, 4th row are the "bad seats" in this intimate staging). If you don't already have tickets, I highly recommend you show up and take a chance on these seats. This is a show not to be missed!
*I once saw Bradley Greenwald perform the opening number by himself, and it was quite impressive!