On Wednesday night my mom and I went to Trollwood Performing Arts School‘s production of The Music Man. Trollwood is a staple in the Fargo-Moorhead community, and every summer they put on a musical at their outdoor theater.
I grew up loving musicals. We taped The Sound of Music off the TV, which I would watch and occasionally reenact the scene in Maria’s bedroom with my mom’s curtains. Unbeknownst to me until years later, our taped version had been edited for length, so I was missing scenes of nuns singing and Captain Von Trapp flirting with the Baroness. In other words, the most boring scenes. I also went through phases with Grease and Guys and Dolls, to name a few. Sometimes I forget that many children aren’t interested in these kinds of things. Then last weekend I made a Sound of Music reference, not thinking much of it, and was met with blank stares. But I know some of my peers enjoy a good musical, nerdy though it may be.
Of course, the musical lives and dies by the quality of its musical numbers. In a world where random outbursts of singing are treated as normal, the audience needs to suspend disbelief in order to take the story seriously. If the music is good, they can become invested. If the music is bad, well, then the audience just becomes more alienated by the form. At least that’s one wannabe-CAMS-major’s opinion.
The Music Man has the benefit of some great musical numbers. Until seeing Trollwood’s performance, I had never thought about how challenging the play might be. It requires both fast-talking and fast-singing from its actors. Don’t get me wrong — Trollwood put on a wonderful show. I was also left with the urge to watch some of the movie performances on YouTube. Robert Preston as Harold Hill is, in a word, flawless. Then again, he had the benefit of playing the role on Broadway before filming the movie.
Don’t worry, the picture is only weird for the first few seconds.
If that’s not your cup of tea, try this on for size. It’s another song from The Music Man as performed by the Beatles. A-freakin’-dorable.