How do you perform a well-known legendary musical and adapt to only actors and
actresses who are aged eighteen or younger? Ask the Chanticleer Theater with
their latest musical, "Music Man Junior".
This version has shortened songs, abbreviated scenes, and dialogue so that
the entire production lasts about an hour while still singing and dancing the
best known of the songs and maintaining the story line.
As the con man, Professor Harold Hill, Eric Koch commanded the stage with this
demanding role. As Marian Paroo, Rolena Hatfield, beautifully maintained the
dignity of this demur female role. Wyatt Sargent who is only twelve, perfectly
played Hill's con man partner of Marcellus. Tommy Djilas was perfect as
the ornery boyfriend of the mayor's daughter. Kyle Schnitker demonstrated
poise and composure as one of the mature cast members as the mayor while adding
harmony and depth to many of the songs. Paris Fulbright and Molly Schnitker
were excellent in their roles of the wife and daughter of the mayor.
As in any production, there are always outstanding performances on particular
nights. On the night that I saw this delightful show, Audrey Schnitker,
portrayed Marian's mother perfectly with her dress, hair, acting, and definitely
commanding her part with a strong and beautiful voice. Unquestionably the
crowd favorite was seven-year-old Chase Sargent acting as the lisping Winthrop Paroo who actually charmed the entire audience as his character transitioned from almost mute or singing and playing an instrument.
The costumes perfectly fit the characters,the time period, and those on stage with some bizarre and delightful hats completing the outfits. The lighting, sets, and production crews were outstanding with only a few problems with the sound system. Jerry Gray was outstanding as the musical director with Rachael Schnitker being responsible for the clever choreography in this energetic show.
The unison voices is the major production numbers were perfectly matching and
well-balanced with simple, but accurate harmonies.
This particular audience was thrilled with the performance and rewarded the production with joyous applause and a standing ovation.
The Music Man Junior continues through next weekend, November 18th. On Friday
and Saturday, the show opens at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket costs
are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for students and children. For
reservations call (712) 323-9955 or e-mail the box office at