Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER The Music Man
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Author: Meredith Wilson ( book, music & lyrics )

At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. Tickets: 312-443-3800;; $25-$142. Runs through: Aug. 18

Director Mary Zimmerman won a Tony Award and a MacArthur Fellowship for her imaginative adaptations of classical literature such as The Arabian Nights and Ovid's Metamorphoses. But she's always wanted ( she told me over 10 years ago ) to direct a classic Broadway musical comedy. Previously she's staged Candide and Wonderful Town, both with brilliant scores by Leonard Bernstein, but both with fragmented plots she couldn't overcome. Now, with The Music Man, Zimmerman has staged a strongly-written musical comedy with a memorably tuneful score and an all-American story … and it's a resounding success!

Of course, it's easy to triumph with songs such as "Seventy-Six Trombones," "Til There Was You," "Ya Got Trouble" and all that great barbershop quartet stuff. All you need is a terrific tight marching band orchestra, four guys who actually can sing notoriously-difficult barbershop harmony, a warm-hearted Marian the Librarian and a Prof. Harold Hill who's slickly charming but not too cynical. The rest is a piece of cake, right? The costumes, choreography, scenery, supporting players and the ambience of a kinder, gentler, early 20th century America.

Well, Zimmerman and her fellow artists really do make it seem like a charming piece of cake. Geoff Packard is rakish but likeable as con man Harold Hill, selling musical instruments to the rubes, and he's a master of Meredith Wilson's rapid patter, both sung and spoken. Marian the Librarian—suitably red headed as befits her Irish heritage—is sweet voiced Monica West, whose songs betray her dreamy side so well. The 29-person troupe features top Chicago musical theater veterans, among them ( but not limited to ) Matt Crowle, Heidi Kettenring, Ron E. Rains, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Bri Sudia and Mary Ernster.

The brass-rich, 12-piece orchestra sparkles under musical director Jermaine Hill, earning a well-deserved ovation, although the lone violin gets lost in the mix. Denis Jones's choreography works really well, even with the non-dancers in the ensemble, with Act II's Shipoopi as the delightful highlight. Ana Kusmanic's costumes are fresh, summery and period-accurate down to the shoes. Daniel Ostling's set ( nicely lit by T. J. Gerckens ) is simple but effective with its hedgerow of corn, Midwestern main street and miniature Wells Fargo wagon.

Zimmerman doesn't conceptualize this iconic work but wisely allows it to tell its own story just as written. She understands that The Music Man is an idealized—if gently satirical—version of America, similar to Ah, Wildlerness!, Eugene O'Neill's bucolic comedy also set in an early 20th century summer. Both works offer characters that are inherently good and optimistic. This makes The Music Man pertinent for our time when, regrettably, we are governed by people who are inherently greedy and self-serving ( I won't declare them inherently bad, although some may be ). We have a better nature, as this family friendly musical sings loud and clear.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

BAC Announces Season of Inclusion, Productions to Focus on Diversity 2019-08-21 - ( Chicago, August 20, 2019 ) — The Beverly Arts Center announces the productions for their upcoming 2019-2020 season, dubbed the "Season of ...

Gay News

Muslim performers' event Aug. 30-31 2019-08-21 - On Aug. 30-31, at 8 p.m., the Muslim Writers Collective will host a program at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., with artists ...

Gay News

Bechdel Fest 7 set for Aug. 25-28 2019-08-21 - Broken Nose Theatre ( BNT ) has announced the full line-up for Bechdel Fest 7: Momentum—the company's annual festival of new short plays ...

Gay News

About Face names new associates 2019-08-21 - About Face Theatre has announced the addition of five new artists to the company's roster of artistic associates. Along with Artistic Director ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW You Can't Fake the Funk 2019-08-21 - Author: Daryl D. Brooks At: Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St. Tickets:, 773-769- 4451; $55-65. Runs through Sept. 22 Enjoyment ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW All Quiet on the Western Front 2019-08-21 - Playwright: adapted by Matt Foss, from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque At: Red Tape Theatre at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Fly Honey Show 2019-08-21 - Authors: Erin Killmurray ( concept ), Mary Williamson and Shannon Matesky. At: The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets:; $22.50-$45, ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-08-21 - The Band's Visit, Cadillac Palace, Sept. 3-15—Critics' Picks rarely promotes shows not yet open, but this disarming, tender, compassionate and entertaining musical must ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Women of 4G 2019-08-21 - Playwright: Amy Tofte At: Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. Tickets: and; $20-$28. Runs through: Sept. 14 It is ...

Gay News

Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-21 - Lips, billed as "the ultimate in drag dining," is locating its fifth location in Chicago. The South Loop venue, opening to the public ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.