Theater Info for Maryland

Children’s Playhouse of Maryland The Music Man, Jr.

By • Oct 5th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Music Man, Jr.
Children’s Playhouse of Maryland
CCBC-Essex, Baltimore, MD
Closed October 2nd
90 minutes with 25-minute intermission
Reviewed October 1st, 2011

Professor Harold Hill proclaims “Ya Got Trouble, Right Here In River City!” Well, there might be trouble in River City, but there is absolutely no trouble in Children’s Playhouse of Maryland’s production of Music Man Jr. This delightful production, written by Meredith Wilson, tells the story of a con man salesman who charms his way into a small town in rural mid-America, conjuring to put together a boy’s band. As he falls in love with the town’s librarian and befriends the townsfolk, the journey changes his plans and changes him.

With a handful of sing-a-long favorite tunes and passionate and energetic performances, the cast shines. The set is heartwarming; the costumes are almost as good as they get in a community theatre production. The choreography is fun and clean. The lighting is gentle and yet affective, and the hot dogs and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches at concessions were a big hit with my son, niece, and nephew.

For those who are not familiar with what exactly is a JR. production, it is a slightly condensed version of the full-scale musical and is entirely performed by children and teenagers. The cast consists of 48 of them. Hats off to Director Liz Boyer Hunnicut, Musical Director Julie Parish, and Chorographer James Hunnicut for their talent, structure, vision, and (I’m sure) PATIENCE.

James Ruth delivers a very energetic and heart-felt performance as Harold Hill, he is reminiscent very much of a young Ray Bolger in every way. He allows his character to grow and allows the audience to laugh with and at him and to love him and wish for a happy ending. Allison Comotto plunges into the uptight non-trusting and protective role of Marian Paroo with one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard from an actress of her age. Her and Ruth’s chemistry is also spot on.

Nicole Smith (Zaneeta Shinn), Thomas Gardner (Mayor Shinn), Matthew Demetrides (Marcellus Washburn), Collette Simkins (Mrs. Paroo), and Zach Miller (Tommy Djillas) are all standouts in their perfectly played supporting roles. Jhonathon O’Neal (Ewart), Philip Merrick (Oliver), Gino Cardoni (Jacey), and Joey Bird (Olin) are OUTSTANDING! Way to go, guys! And Jamie Watson (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn) takes no prisoners and holds no bars. Her innovative, energetic, hysterical to the point of tears performance would make Lucille Ball and Carroll Burnet very proud.

The production closed this past weekend so if you didn’t see it you missed out. However, Children’s Playhouse of Maryland produces five productions a year so make sure not to miss anymore.

Disclaimer: Children’s Playhouse of Maryland provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.