TR Robertson... As many times as you may see the classic musical, “The Music Man”, the songs still make you tap your feet, move in your seats and sing along. The Welk Theatre’s latest production, along with an outstanding 22 person cast, will make you do all of these things and more. Ray Limon is the director of the Welk musical with Joshua Carr as Producer. Mr. Limon has directed and choreographed over 300 productions around the United States and was awarded the 2013 San Diego Bravo Award for Outstanding Director and Choreographer. Mr. Carr has been producing plays and musicals at The Welk since 2009.
“The Music Man” appeared on Broadway in 1957, running for 1,375 performances and winning 5 Tony Awards. Book, music and lyrics were written by Meredith Willson and the story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The musical also won a Grammy that year for Best Musical Theater Album. The original musical starred Robert Preston and Barbara Cook. In 1962 the musical was made into a movie and won an Academy Award for Best Musical Score. The movie starred veteran Robert Preston along with Shirley Jones and introduced Ron Howard as Winthrop.
Photos by Ken Jacques
The Welk’s veteran cast of performers gave a performance that would have made Meredith Wilson proud. David S. Humphrey as Harold Hill and Charlene (Koepf) Wilkinson as Marian had strong voices and great stage presence as the leads. And who can forget Harold Hill’s “Think System”? Both actors are veterans of the Welk stage. Cliff Senior handled the English language challenged Mayor Shinn with ease and Robin LaValley was an audience favorite as his wife Eulalee Shinn. Her “Pickalittle” song with her friends is one of those “Music Man” songs you always remember. Alex Allen played the excitable Marcellus, Harold’s friend, and Tanner Vidos played the vengeance seeking Charlie Cowell. His surly portrayal almost brought boos from the audience and he also led the unforgettable opening number “Rock Island”, eliciting a large round of applause to begin the musical. Jenny Wentworth was an impressive Irish Widow Paroo. Youngest members of the cast were Catalina Zelles as Amaryllis and Bobby Chiu as Winthrop. Catalina is a returning Welk performer and Bobby is making his Welk debut. One of the reoccurring scenes from “The Music Man” is the River City School Board Members who Harold Hill molds into a barber shop quartet. Olin, Oliver, Jacey and Ewart, played by Robert Hoyt, Maxwell Dannenberg, Chris Bona and Joshua Tangermann perform “Sincere”, Goodnight Ladies”, “It’s You” and “Lida Rose” in perfect harmony and are also an audience favorite. The ensemble performed memorable dance routines in standout numbers “Marian the Librarian” and “Shipoopi”. Featured in these numbers were standout dancers Kylie Molnar as Zaneeta Shinn and Sean Kiralla as boyfriend Tommy Djilas. Both actors are making their Welk debut.
There are musical classics that you see once in your life and that is enough and there are musical classics that you can see again and again. This is one such musical. Unforgettable numbers, dance routines and memorable moments on stage have led this musical to be one you can see being performed on stage throughout the country each year. There is even a bit of philosophy to live by toward the end of the musical; Harold says to Marian, “Pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll find out you’ve got nothing but a bunch of yesterdays”. There is a reason for the popularity of this musical and a reason this it is timeless.
“The Music Man” will be on the Welk Theatre stage until July 30. Tickets can be purchased at 855-455-9355 or go to www.welkresorts.com/san-diego/theatre .