Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Mysterium Theater’s presentation of ‘The Music Man’ is colorful whimsy

Diego Crespo, Editor-in-chief

Directed by Rio Hondo’s own John Francis, “The Music Man” is a charming musical playing at the La Habra Depot Playhouse. When “Professor” Harold Hill comes to town to run a game over the people of River City, he devotes himself to finding out as much about the town’s people as possible. Along the way, Hill finds more than he bargained for.

For such a small production, it’s remarkable to see how alive the production felt. The vibrant lighting and composition of actors on the stage to bring forth the most exciting presentation.

Given the history of the music man, it’s only appropriate the costumes compliment the wider color palettes, inspiring a comical whimsy. Through the exquisite art and stage direction, there’s never a dull moment to doze off or ignore. Every song and performance deserves your attention.

MusicMan

From left to right: Eric Cajiuat as Marcellus Washburn, Mallory Staley as Marian Paroo, and Ray Buffer as Harold Hill.

Speaking of performances, this is where the criticism part of all comes in. Upfront, everyone in this play is clearly relishing their opportunity to shine on stage. They’re all good. Particularly, Ray Buffer as Harold Hill gets to be the leading man and the show stealer. This man has some serious singing pipes on him.

Eric Cajiuat as Marcellus Washburn does something remarkable with his role, adding just enough into his supporting bits to be worthy of his solo scenes. We didn’t get any solo outings but they would have been deserved.

The weak link isn’t in any individual performance but rather during some of the other songs. Mallorey Staley portrays an adorable Marian Paroo, capable of holding her own against Buffer and any number of cast members. However during an intended show-stopping number her voice can’t reach the peaks necessary to bring an uproarious applause.

Emerging from the production were lead dancers Emily Turner, Lauren Sanders, Nicole Kelder, and Kyra Olschewske, who plays Zaneeta, the Mayor’s daughter.

The play also features Sarah Hoeven as Eulalie Mackenzie Shinn, a pure delight onstage, and Robert Purcell, who grumbles as the Mayor should given the circumstances.

The pick-a-little girls (Annie Rivera, Kara Gee, Stacy Griner, Elana Harnack, Shayna Lee and Stephanie Arballo) are a treat and make the play dazzle when they are on stage with their quippy and cute interjections.

Janet Clark plays an even tempered Mrs. Paroo and the quartet of Richard De Vicariis, Chad Adriano, Anthony Cevallos and Jason Johnson add fun to the pacing.

Decent children actors are hard to come for any production. More than once in a while it feels appropriate to grade the kids on a curve. Not everyone can be Maisie Williams from “Game of Thrones”. So it pleases me to say as small as the parts are, the child performers are able to stand alongside their older counterparts.

The child performance mostly stems from Colin Eaton as Winthrop Paroo. He conveys shyness and hints of sadness with authenticity. At one point where he gets to join in an ensemble singing sequence his voice can’t quite carry to the extent of the other leads, but given his character’s persona this suitably adds to the moment. It’s not a standout moment in the play but goes to show the benefit of good casting and the necessity of productions being team efforts.

Well produced and wholesome family fun, “The Music Man” is more than worth the price of admission. It plays from June 17 until July 17, 2016 at 331 S. Euclid in La Habra. Tickets cost $20 for seniors and $15 for students or military. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
Mysterium Theater’s presentation of ‘The Music Man’ is colorful whimsy