MUSIC MAN is a HIT!!!
Review below by Lily Olason
Music Man at BAAY
One of the many fabulous things about Bellingham is the assortment of activities for the youngsters. Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth takes the fun-fetti cake in this category, and it’s not exactly hard to see why.
Kaleb Van RijskWijck and Nick Falewitch co-direct a revamped, refurbished, and dang slick version of that antique nugget of Americana, The Music Man. Flush with barbershop singing school boards, typical turn of the century con schemes, and unbelievably talented cast members, this show made us all happy there was such a thing as BAAY in our own backyard.
Professor Harold Hill (Zander King) just ain’t what he seems when he arrives in River City, Iowa. A well-established con man all over Middle America, Hill schemes to reap the cash from musical hopefuls itching for a shiny brass band in their town. Well, he makes them itch for that band, and then gives them the bill. Unwittingly, Hill befriends the generous masses, including a particularly stoic librarian, Marian (Izzy Buri).
King delivers a spot-on Harold, zany and wily and conniving, and man, can this guy sing. He takes “scam” to a whole new level with ease and grace, being a ham, belting it out, then turning around and slyly making seven dollars off ol’ Ms. Paroo. A wonderfully well-cast lead, King holds up his end of the bargain making the show great.
Buri’s got a voice that could make the birds jealous. Her tone is shockingly good, jaws dropping further once calling to mind the fact that nobody’s over fifteen here. This matched equally in her portrayal of independent woman/piano instructor/shy librarian crazy for Harold, Buri delivers a knock-out performance and it would behoove you to see it before she and King leave the BAAY nest.
No play about a small town calamity is complete without some excellent small town citizens. Alex Farkas does a bang-up job as Mayor Shinn, constantly skeptical of Professor Hill’s credentials while trying comically to keep up with wife and kids. Both Adelyn Pagels and Noam Richmond as the rest of the Paroo clan work wonders, Richmond showing off some great vocal chops as an integral member of the (crazy-good) traveling barbershop group that frequents the scenes. Gracia Powell as Amaryllis, Lainie Mueller as Eulalie, Zoe Taylor as Zaneeta, and Luna Chambliss as Tommy, to name only a few, do amazing work and make this show into the full-fledged production that it is.
What’s remarkable about a youth oriented show like this is how very precise the setting and costuming can be. Visually, the gig was spectacular: the wardrobe crew made monochrome of all the old-timey outfits in the first act: black and white, with splashes of red emanating from Professor Hill’s vest and the barbershop guys’ suspender/tie combo. Framed by a strong gray set, the aesthetics were wonderfully well done.
Musical director Steve Barnes deserves a giant shout-out for all the fabulous work done by the live band. The balance was great, and the tunes were killer. Special accolades go to whoever was on trombone.
This play reminds us, thankfully, that there is some amazing work done to keep the arts alive in a country where they’re being cut right and left. BAAY is a wonderful place that not only offers kids a space to learn the craft of drama, but to get really good at it and to have a blast, too. Both Van RijsWijk and Falewitch have made magic with this production, and watching it is a total must-do this summer.
The Music Man plays July 9th-11th at 7 p.m., July 12th at 2 and 7 p.m., and July 13th at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, or online. Visit baay.org for more information, and don’t miss out!