In July, all of our dance friends gathered to see Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" performed at Arena Stage here in DC. Despite all our years living in DC, for My partner and I ,this was our first time ever, to Arena Stage.
The Music Man is by far my favorite of all musicals. I admire singers an actors so much, as I am several lacking in theatrical talent. It's my weakest component in ballroom dancing, and one I hope to improve.
During my high school years I had a role in the Music Man, in Summer Music Camp madness. I had only one line, but loved every second of it. All my childhood friends love the music man as well, and meeting up with them now as adults, we still know the lyrics to all the song, and many lines from the script. Having said that I think many people have high expectations when they see the Music Man, and the Arena Stage did not disappoint.
Burke Moses performed a perfect rendering of Harold Hill. It helped that he was the spitting image of Robert Preston. By the end of the show, my suspension of disbelief was in full swing, I am was 100% convinced that he was actually Harold, Robert Preston, or both.
Kate Baldwin played Marion, and was easy to fall in love with. Normally, "My White Knight" is my least favorite song in The Music Man, but Kate Baldwin made it sound so beautiful. I've seen the Music Man over a dozen times, and this was the best I've ever heard.
Arena stage, is just that, a four sided audience with a simple set in the middle. The absence of a backdrop went unnoticed. I loved everything about Arena Stage's production of the Music Man, except for the costumes, which were terrible. They were drab in color and looked like they were from the 1940's, and not period Iowa 1912, where the musical is set. Marion was dressed like Rosie the Riveter, wearing bell bottom trousers, and the Pick a Little ladies weren't wearing big hats with feathers, which is absolutely necessary for that number.
Also noticeably absent from the script, we're the words "great honk" and "ye gods"
Despite the tiny differences, this event was definitely worth attending, and worth paying full price to see it. We made the mistake of over paying for tickets, next time we will know to ask for a group sales rate. Also, within minutes of paying full price for tickets, we received several half price offers from various discount websites.
My partner and I plan to return to Arena Stage in the Fall to see "My Fair lady". We're going to get a group together to see it, and I'm really excited about it. If only it could arrive sooner. The cast has just been announced and I can't wait.