Seacoast Repertory Theatre Delivers Outstanding Performance of The Music Man


Rhianwen Watkins

This weekend, Seacoast Repertory Theatre closed the curtain on its final performance of The Music Man. The show ran from Feb. 3-26 and showcased a cast of 33 performers, ranging from elementary school age to those in their 70s, each bringing a unique spark to the stage. 

The Music Man follows the journey of a travelling con man by the name of Harold Hill, who presents himself to each new town he visits as a “music man” who will teach the children  how to play instruments and ultimately form a band. However, he cleverly uses this guise as a means to make money from the townspeople by selling instruments and band uniforms and ultimately leaves them angry when he departs on the next train out of town having formed no band and taking their cash along with him.  

However, when he reaches River City, Iowa, he unexpectedly falls in love with Marian, the town librarian and piano teacher, who at first is adamantly against seeing him, but after a while falls for Harold’s charm. For her, he decides to stay. The show is brimming with celebration, exciting and at times impassioned town gatherings and a close-knit community, all portrayed through a great deal of singing and dancing. 

Firstly, the leads were phenomenal. Maryann Williams, who plays the role of Marian, has an outstanding soprano voice that carries not only exquisite high notes, but also a depth which embellishes her sound.  

Luther Brooks IV portrayed the leading man, Harold Hill. He had such a genuine way of interacting with his fellow actors onstage and seemed extremely comfortable within his character. Not to mention he also had a gorgeous voice which beautifully complemented Williams’ and is an equally talented dancer.   

It was refreshing to see actors of color in the leading roles as The Music Man tends to portray white actors in the roles of Marian and Harold, including in the 1962 film. It was equally relieving to see an appropriative scene removed, in which the white characters pretend to be Native Americans and make fun of tribal language and calls in what is supposed to be a comedic scene. The removal of this scene took absolutely nothing away from the plot and kept the show tasteful and respectful. 

The set design provided a colorful and exciting canvas for the action, and yet it did so without requiring any drastic set changes, providing an all-purpose function for every part of the play. 

The men’s quartet that sings “Lida Rose” and “Ice Cream Sincere” in a barber-shop fashion was an ear-catching moment of the play, as the four men matched each other’s pitches with impeccable accuracy and looked effortless while doing so.  

Andy Kowalczewski, who played the role of Tommy Djilas, was a stand-out dancer who holds a high pre-professional dance background training. His captivating presence and ability to make every jump, leap and turn look so seamless made it difficult to take your eyes off his dancing. 

Isabella Baer, who played the role of Zaneeta Shin, was an equally talented dancer and was seen in many moments dancing alongside Kowalczewski, doing incredible partnering lifts that added a heightened element to the show. Another stand out dancer of the show was Grace Dalton, who was a member of the ensemble as well as Zaneeta’s understudy. But, these are only a few of the many incredible young dancers who lit up the stage. The choreographers, Alyssa Dumas and Jason Faria, as well as associate choreographer Andrew Lyons, provided compelling movements that showcased the dancers’ abilities so well. 

Not only was the cast spectacular, but the band gave them an excellent musical foundation that allowed the actors to do their job as well as they did. The band is often an over-looked element of a show that many do not realize is vital to allowing the performers to sit comfortably within the music they are singing.  

The crew, although not ever seen, also did a fantastic job of making this show run so smoothly. The crew is also often overlooked as they are not visible to the audience, but it is true that without their tireless work behind the scenes, the show would not be possible.  

I have only the best things to say about this performance. The directors, Ben Hart and Brandon James should be very proud of the production they created. A huge kudos to the entire cast, band, and crew for giving us the gift of theatre and for making this show the most fun it could possibly be to watch. This one will go down in the books as one to surely remember.  

Photo courtesy of Seacoast Rep.