'The Music Man' Parades into Westchester Broadway Theatre

Scarsdale Inquirer

Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:00 am By: Debra Banerjee

“Seventy-Six Trombones” and an ensemble of spirited performers lead the big parade that is “The Music Man” at Westchester Broadway Theatre. The Family Theatre Co. is presenting Meredith Willson’s musical through July 29with a cast comprised of both New York City and local actors.

            A new venture for John Fanelli, founder of the Light-house Youth Theatre of Thornwood, Family Theatre Co. casts a mix of professional and amateur actors in its family shows for Westchester audiences.

            “The Music Man,” with book, music and lyrics by Willson, and Franklin Lacey, was a hit on Broadway in 1957 starring Robert Preston and Barbara Cook. The show won five Tony Awards, including for best musical. Revivals,  a film adaptation and a TV remake followed.

            “The Music Man” is the story of con man “Professor” Harold Hill who moves into new territory when he decides to “give Iowa a try.” The citizens of River City are his latest marks.

            Wherever he goes, Harold creates a “desperate need” for a boys’ band. He poses as a band organizer and musician, convincing the towns people to buy instruments and uniforms before he skips town with the cash.

            Marian Paroo is River City’s librarian, piano teacher and moral authority who is skeptical of Harold, but eventually falls in love with him because his scheme helps her younger brother Winthrop overcome his crippling shyness

            Harold (Scott Bierko) meets his old friend Marcellus (played by the excellent Jeff Raab) a reformed con man, who tells him that River City has a new pool table. Harold lays the groundwork for his scam by raising anxiety about “sin and corruption” in the number “Ya Got Trouble.”

            Bierko, whose brother Craig Bierko played the role of Harold Hill on Broadway, is a teaching artist, songwriter  and recording artist specializing in arts in education programs. He makes a fine Harold Hill, all bluster and phony sincerity. Although his dancing was a little tentative, he went through the steps with a big grin on his face.

            Harold follows Marian (Victoria Lauzun) home but she wants nothing to do with him. She tells her mother (Regina Singel) she has high standards in men, a fact her mother be-moans because she worries that her daughter will never get married. We meet Amaryllis, Marian’s piano student (Lexi Staub), and her brother Withrop (Brandon Singel), who doesn’t talk much because of his lisp. Marian sings a wistful ‘Good