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Review: Beef & Boards' 'Music Man' 

****1/2
click to enlarge An image from the production number, "76 Trombones."
  • An image from the production number, "76 Trombones."

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, through May 25

A classy production of a classic that sends you out into the night actually humming tunes, singing songs and feeling hopeful for humanity. Director Eddie Curry has assembled a cast with the ability to sing without shouting or screeching for a pleasing experience filled with nuances of interpretation befitting Meredith Willson's musicality and character development.

Impeccable diction and articulation by everyone on stage and a finely tuned sound system allow every sung and spoken word to be understood. Add to that sprightly choreography and upbeat dancing, a pleasantly modulated orchestra, cohesive stage setting and costumes and a bevy of surprises for a new look at a 55-year-old musical that continues to have something important to share.

Yes, we come thinking we know how it will start and end —but short of being a spoiler, we'll merely caution "think again" on both counts. The cast of 22 and crew of equal number work together like the well-oiled train that's the connecting link with the outside world for River City, Iowa circa 1912.

Curt Dale Clark and Katie Sina bring bombast and subtlety to Harold Hill and Marion Paroo. Douglas E. Stark is the Mayor you love to hate; Abraham Rittenhouse is a winning Winthrop. Rowan Whitcomb and Samuel McKanney do some fine high kicking. The men's quartet and women's quintet could easily steal the show. It's fun and heartwarming.

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