San Diego / Regional Theater Preview: THE MUSIC MAN (Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista)

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by Tony Frankel on July 14, 2015

in Theater-Regional


David Engel and the Company in Moonlight’s THE MUSIC MAN. Photo by Ken Jacques.When Moonlight Stage Productions announced their production of The Music Man, which opens this week at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista, I actually got excited. While I never tire of seeing this charming musical, it occurred to me that I haven’t watched it live since 2001, when Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack took over for Craig Bierko in Susan Stroman’s Broadway revival. Now, David Engel—who has continually surprised me with his youthful demeanor and comic chops in various projects over many years—hits the boards to play con man Harold Hill (I’m especially thrilled for Engel, who told me this is one of those bucket-list roles for him). Hill, for those few who don’t know, is a traveling salesman who promises the creation of a boys’ band in 1912 River City, Iowa, to counteract the arrival of a pool table. His shady dealings, however, begin to transform these stubborn Iowans. Alessa Neeck plays town librarian Marian Paroo, who isn’t fooled by Hill’s convincing doublespeak, yet she is charmed nonetheless. Also in the cast is funny-woman Tracy Lore, who takes on one of the juiciest roles in musical comedy history: The uptight town’s uptight mayor’s uptight wife, Eulalie Shinn. In addition, Moonlight consistently offers Broadway-caliber production values, and with a cast of 54 and an orchestra of 22 (there are 3 sound designers under director John Vaughan!), this will be one of its biggest productions, so a sight-unseen recommendation is in order.

photos by Ken Jacques

The Music Man
Moonlight Stage Productions
Moonlight Amphitheatre
1200 Vale Terrace Drive in Vista
July 15–26, 2015; Wed-Sun at 8
July 30–August 1, 2015; Thurs-Sat at 8
gates open for picnicking and dining at 6:30
for tickets, call 760.724.2110 or visit Moonlight

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