Arts & Culture

You still have time to see this flawless production of ‘Music Man’

From left, Taryn Wetherington (Marian Paroo), JP Carr (Winthrop Paroo) and Daniel Cort (Professor Harold Hill) star in Main Street Youth Theatre’s production of “The Music Man.”
From left, Taryn Wetherington (Marian Paroo), JP Carr (Winthrop Paroo) and Daniel Cort (Professor Harold Hill) star in Main Street Youth Theatre’s production of “The Music Man.” Submitted

Correction: An earlier version of this review listed the wrong name for the lead actress in this production. Actress Taryn Wetherington plays Marian Paroo, and Pam Martin plays Mrs. Paroo, Marian’s mother.

If you haven’t seen the Main Street Youth Theatre’s presentation of Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man,” you don’t have much time, and I urge you to make it a priority on your calendar this weekend.

Growing up in the era of Shirley Jones and Robert Preston, there are several poignant moments that jump out from memory, and the cast of the MSYT on Main Street of Hilton Head Island did not disappoint in resurrecting those moments for me.

“Sit down, Eulalie!” shouts Mayor George Shinn, played flawlessly by David Southern. Nothing captures a man’s frustration better than being undermined publicly by his own wife. It’s a vivid scene in Americana, one that has aged well with the retelling of this story, regardless of the century in which it is told. And Connie Dudek-Hoskins plays the shushed wife with a perfect sulk.

“Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana …” warbles Winthrop, with nary a lisp — played superbly by James Carr, a fifth-grader from Hilton Head Elementary, reminding us that there is a special song for everyone. The first three notes ran straight to my frontal brain lobe (if that is the correct terminology), as young JP sang it so crisply, as though I had heard it the first time just the day before and not, in fact, 40 years ago.

Taryn Wetherington and Daniel Cort play the leads in this wonderful production with a perfect blend of cast members, including barbershop singers, local students and community actors. Talented voices didn’t miss a beat reviving this stalwart of American Broadway theater.

Costumes will remind audiences of the days when a town could be galvanized by a single, fast-talking newcomer with slick new ideas and a twinkle in his eyes. Played deftly by Daniel Cort, this role is believable even during an unbelievable passage of time since the drafting of the script. What is so great about Wilson’s narrative is that the rather dated conversations don’t have to be tweaked or “remixed” (as is so often the case) with regard to current lingo and cultural trends to maintain their original charm and inspiration.

The opening train scene is delightful, whisking us away to a time (not so long ago, and not so far away) when a community could be caught up in the flash of a con man and yet hold out hope that the con man’s heart will line up with his moral compass in the end.

Kudos to choreographer Jodi Joy Layman, director Phil Harris, musical director Beth Corry, producer Cinda Seaman, and all the designers and managers for staging such a great show.

Carmen Hawkins De Cecco lives on Hilton Head Island. She blogs at hiltonheadblogangel.me. Email her at carmenhawk@hargray.com.

If you go

  • WHAT: Main Street Youth Theater’s presentation of Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man”
  • WHERE: Hilton Head Preparatory School, 3000 Main St., Hilton Head Island
  • WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
  • TICKETS: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (over 65) and $15 for students (under 21). Tickets can be purchased online at msyt.org/tickets or by calling 843-689-6246.
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