The Music Man is a traditionally light-hearted show that has been feeling a little more heavy lately. The show starts off with a salesman spreading fear in order to gain popularity, and harasses the local librarian in town. On its face I would say that this is not the show and the hero that we need at this moment. However, despite all of this Artistry in Bloomington is able to magnify the fun and positive aspects of the show, in the end the conniving salesman also spreads hope, and that is able to triumph. I was happy to be able to forget for just a little while the stressors of the outside world and tap my toes to some great tunes by Meredith Wilson along with the very talented cast of The Music Man.
Michael Gruber is a perfectly charming Harold Hill, he is also the choreographer of many impressive dance numbers, that use the cast, the space and set designed by Joel Sass very well. Jennifer Eckes takes on the roll of Marian, the local librarian and music teacher, she has an absolutely beautiful voice and gives the cold Iowan librarian a great amount of heart. Some other favorites were Liam Beck-O'Sullivan as Winthrop, he was both hilarious and adorable, France A. Roberts as Marcellus Washburn, he made me smile every time he was on stage, and all of the Pick-a-little talk and little ladies, which also brought a smile to my face and were a highlight of the show.
This was not my first time seeing The Music Man, but it was my first time at Artistry and I must say that it will not be last. This production of The Music Man, directed by Angela Timberman, was able to deftly straddle the line between an intimate show and a musical with big production values in a way that made it the best of both world. I am so happy for the production that they have announced that they are sold out, but I am also disappointed for all those who will not be able to see the show. If you can, get on a wait list, if you have never seen The Music Man or seen in more times than you can count this is a show worth seeing.
*Photos by Devon Cox