Tag Archives: Reagle Music Theatre

Reagle Music Theatre’s “The Music Man” Knows The Territory

Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” At The Reagle Music Theatre Of Greater Boston

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

 

Mark Linehan and Cast: Ya Got Trouble

The other night I paid my first visit to the Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. The Reagle stages productions of Broadway Musicals at the Robinson Theatre located in Waltham High School. Don’t be fooled by the location. The auditorium is a great venue with comfortable seats and a great view no matter where you are seated. More than that, the play I saw was a top notch production that included a full orchestra, something you rarely see today in regional theatre. That full orchestra really makes a difference and was extremely impressive. 

The production currently playing at the Reagle is Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, one of, if not the, best musicals ever written. It is certainly a favorite of mine and I was skeptical that this would rate very high in quality. My doubts were soon chased away once the orchestra began playing the overture which led into the opening number, the onomatopoeic Rock Island, which takes place on a train. This train left the station and the audience was in for a wonderful ride to River City along with Professor Harold Hill, the flim flam man who would eventually be won over by the Iowa Stubborn folks he was trying to take with his scam about starting a boy’s band.

Mark Linehan, in his seventh production at the Reagle, had his work cut out for him in the role of Hill. Most audience members know Hill from the movie version of the play and have Robert Preston’s version burned into their memories. Mr. Linehan does not attempt an impression of Preston, but instead gives his own interpretation of the smooth talking traveling salesman. It doesn’t take long to embrace Linehan’s Hill and to appreciate what he does with the role. Ya Got Trouble, The Sadder But Wiser Girl, and the rousing Seventy-Six Trombones are all classic Broadway musical numbers that Linehan delivers right on the mark. 

Jennifer Ellis and Mark Linehan

It is also quite the treat to see Jennifer Ellis as Marion Paroo, the librarian with a heart like a lump of lead as cold as steel, but who eventually finds her way to allowing that heart to melt and opens her eyes to seeking her white knight. Ms Ellis puts her heart as well as her beautiful voice into Willson’s warm and touching numbers Goodnight My Someone, My White Night, Will I Ever Tell You, and Till There Was You. Was there ever a better score than this? I don’t believe so, and Jennifer Ellis was born to sing these amazing songs. 

The Music Man has a huge cast and you might think a small company would pare it down a bit, but the Reagle does not. Director and choreographer  Susan M. Chebookian goes all out to give a full scale production here. Using choreography based on the original by Onna White, the huge dance numbers in Seventy-Six Trombones and Shipoopi are a site to behold. Watching and listening to The Wells Fargo Wagon gives you the feeling of excitement the residents of River City have while waiting for the approaching delivery. 

 Ms Ellis and Mr. Linehan are superb, and they are backed up by a strong cast including Harold “Jerry” Walker as Mayor Shinn and Lori L’Italien as his wife Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn. Both have wonderful comedic timing and both are able to push their characters to the edge without crossing into caricature. They are real pros. 

 Shipoopi is a number that is sometimes knocked as not fitting into the play, but when you see see Daniel Forest Sullivan as Marcellus Washburn lead the cast in this more than lively number you won’t be able to imagine it not being included. Sullivan really kicks in on it. 

School Board

Oh, such a large and wonderful cast. The School Board comprised of Louis Brogna, Matthew Gorgone, Antonino Ruggeri, and Tom Sawyer keep perfect harmony in their barbershop quartet numbers. Singing in counterpoint with Ms Ellis on Lida Rose/ Will I Ever Tell You it is a feast for the ears. 

Jonathan Tillen, Marylee Fairbanks, and Jennifer Ellis “Gary Indiana.

I’ve always felt that the Mrs Paroo must be a dream role, and Marylee Fairbanks makes that dream come true as the mother of Winthrop and Marion. Strong and kind with her Irish determination and heart of gold. Ms Fairbanks’s Paroo has the twinkle in her eye and just enough skills at manipulation to push her daughter in the right direction.

Perhaps the real stars of this production are the children and young adults who worked endless hours preparing for their moments on the stage. Jonathan Tillen as the withdrawn Winthrop Paroo shows us the growth of the self conscious young boy with a lisp who has sunk into despair since the death of his father but now begins to find himself through Professor Hill. In both The Wells Fargo Wagon and Gary, Indiana we see him emerge and you can’t help but feel touched by young Tillen’s performance.

Jennifer Ellis and Cate Galante

Winthrop’s friend Amaryllis who prays for him every night is played by Cate Galante. Cate’s Amaryllis is full of life and love. Her feelings for Winthrop warm the heart. She sparkles on stage.

Ye gods! I can’t forget Isabelle Miller who takes on the role of Zaneeta Shinn, the Mayor’s daughter. Zanneta is quite taken with bad boy Tommy Djilas played by Bernie Baldassaro who saves the day, and Professor Hill’s neck, by putting a band together. Both performers are vibrant and interact well together. 

The ensemble is large and in sync. It is quite something to see how they light up the stage in Waltham. Their energy is boundless. The Music Man has a short run at the Reagle in Waltham so you should plan on getting there soon. You don’t want to miss this one. A classic musical with a cast and director that gives it the treatment it deserves. Hop on board, River City next stop!

Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Through August 12

The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston

The Robinson Theater, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham

781.891.5600 www.reaglemusictheatre.org

Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston Opens 50th Anniversary Season With: A Chorus Line

Directed by Broadway’s Leslie Woodies

Starring Boston’s own Scott Wahle as “Zach” and Kirsten McKinney as “Cassie”

Reagle Music Theatre kicks off the company’s spectacular 50th Anniversary Summer Season with A Chorus Line from June 7-17.  The multiple Tony Award-winning musical will run for 8 performances at the Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington St., Waltham, MA.  A Chorus Line is the ultimate Broadway story, following the hopes and dreams of young performers as they bare their souls auditioning for a Broadway musical.  A Chorus Line will feature a roster of regional talent featuring newsman and IRNE award winning actor of stage and screen, Scott Wahle as “Zach”, and IRNE award and Tommy Tune Award winner Kirsten McKinney as “Cassie”. 

The production is backed by a full, live orchestra and includes the original Broadway costumes!  Produced by Robert J. Eagle; Directed and Choreographed by Leslie Woodies (A Chorus Line, On Your Toes); Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez (In the Heights, Show Boat).

A Chorus Line is a stunning celebration of the unsung heroes of the American Musical Theater – the dancers and singers of the Broadway chorus.  A Chorus Line takes the audience through the final grueling audition for a new Broadway musical while exploring the inner lives and poignant ambitions of the Broadway hopefuls competing for a spot on the stage. The show features one powerhouse number after another including “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Can Do That,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror,” and “I Hope I Get It.”  A fusion of song, dance, and drama, A Chorus Line was instantly recognized as a classic winning nine Tony Awards in addition to the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The original Broadway production ran for 6,137 performances.

Reagle Music Theatre’s 50th Anniversary production of A Chorus Line features a full cast of 27 performers from Boston, New York and across the country, starring Boston’s own Scott Wahle as Zach and Kirsten McKinney as Cassie Ferguson.

Performance Schedule:  Thurs, June 7th at 3:00 PM; Fri, June 8th at 7:30 PM; Sat, June 9th at 7:30 PM; Sun, June 10th at 2:00 PM; Thurs, June 14th at 3:00 PM; Fri, June 15th at 7:30; Sat, June 16th at 7:30; Sun, June 17th at 2:00 PM.

To purchase, visit www.reaglemusictheatre.org, call 781-891-5600, or visit the theater box office at 617 Lexington St, Waltham, MA, 02452. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., with extended hours from 9:00 am to curtain on performance days.

Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston

Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston

Announces 50th Annual Summer Season

A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, and The Music Man are on tap for this year’s summer season at the Reagle Music Theatre located at the Robinson Theater, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham. The three classic musicals will be directed by Leslie Woodies, Eileen Grace, and Susan Chebookjian respectively. 

A Chorus Line will run for 8 performances from June 7 through June 17. Anything Goes will have 8 performances running from July 5 through July 15, and The Music Man will close out the season also running for 8 performances from August 2 through August 12. 

For more information contact the box office at 781-891-5600, or go to 

www.reaglemusictheatre.org 

Show Boat at The Reagle Music Theatre In Waltham

Broadway’s Ciarán Sheehan and Boston’s Own Sarah Muirhead headline in

Show Boat

The epic tale of life on the Mississippi

Reagle Music Theatre, July 6-16, 2017 – 8 performances only

Directed and Choreographed by Rachel Bertone

Broadway’s “Phantom,” Ciarán Sheehan, returns to Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston to take on the role of GAYLORD RAVENAL in Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1927 masterpiece Show Boat.Running from July 6-16 for 8 performances only, Show Boat will also star Boston’s own Sarah Oakes Muirhead (Sunday in the Park with George) as MAGNOLIA HAWKS.  A groundbreaking show when it debuted in 1927, Show Boat continues to touch audiences with timeless themes and unforgettable music.  Rachel Bertone (IRNE Award Winner, Carousel, Wild Party) will direct and choreograph this intimate Goodspeed Musicals version of the production, in creative partnership with Musical Director and Conductor Daniel Rodriguez (Carousel, Barnum).  Original set design by Mike Micucci.  Producing Artistic Director Robert J. Eagle.

“What’s beautiful about the Goodspeed version of Show Boat, that our producer Bob Eagle has procured, is that it focuses very concisely on the themes of loss and love—the themes that bind all of us.” said Rachel Bertone, Director/Choreographer. “The beauty of the theatre, to me, is how it so powerfully reflects our humanity in all its strengths and weaknesses, how it holds a mirror up to who we are so that we might learn something about our own journeys through life. Great writing, like Show Boat, accomplishes this and as a director I feel an almost sacred responsibility to convey these themes with as much truth and integrity to our audiences as I can muster.”

Show Boat is based on Edna Ferber’s bestselling novel, following three generations of the Hawks family on the Cotton Blossom river boat from 1887-1927. The story chronicles the fortunes of naïve Captain’s daughter Magnolia and her troubled husband Gaylord Ravenal, and the lives of the performers, stagehands, and dock workers whose lives are affected by the ever-changing social current along the Mississippi River. Show Boat was the first fully integrated “book musical”, tackling issues of unhappy marriage, miscegenation and racial prejudice. The musical’s classic songs, including “Ol’ Man River, “Only Make Believe,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” and “You Are Love,” have become mainstays of the Broadway canon.

Performance Schedule:  Thurs, July 6th at 2:00 PM; Friday July 7th at 7:30; Sat, July 8th at 7:30 PM; Sun, July 8th at 2:00 PM; Thurs, July 13th at 2:00 PM; Fri, July 14th at 7:30 PM; Sat, July 15th at 7:30 PM; Sun, July 16th at 2:00 PM.

 www.reaglemusictheatre.com,  781-891-5600, The Reagle Music Theatre, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham, MA).