Friday, May 12, 2017

Magical 'Music Man' at Welk Resort and new company Roustabouts satisfy theatrical cravings

Energy, enthusiasm, strong voices and high-stepping choreography make "The Music Man" a delight at Welk Resort Theatre.


David Humphrey's swindling Professor Harold Hill sees the light, charms
the town in a joyful production of "The Music Man" at Welk Resort Theatre.
and courtesy Ken Jacques

WHEN PROFESSOR Harold Hill steps out of the train, promising to give Iowa a try with his roving flim-flam operation, we know we're in for a treat.
He'll romance Marian the Librarian, breathe life into the stodgy town of River City and give young grieving Winthrop hope.  The whole town comes alive -- and so do we, the happy audience smitten by the spell this classic of American musical theater weaves.
Cookie and Keller, center, met the spirit of Lawrence
Welk in the museum outside Welk Resort Theatre.
Their fellow musical theater fans are Melody and Larry
Cogsdill, left, and Chuck and Cathy Colclasure.
Welk Resort Theater, north of San Diego, does Meredith Wilson's legacy proud.  Its version of the 1962 Tony Award winner is larger than life, befitting its charismatic leading man.
I GREW UP with Broadway musicals and have long loved the tale of the swindler reborn with the love of a good woman (with the voice of an angel.) The two leads are masterfully played by David S. Humphrey as Harold Hill and Charlene K. Wilkinson as Marian.  While he's going straight, she's discovering the joys of love and romance. It's a pleasure to watch their chemistry develop.
Robin LaValley as the Mayor Shinn's wife, Eulalee, is a comedic hoot, backed by the other lively Pick-a-Little gossips.  Bobby Chiu's Winthrop is endearing as he emerges from his cocoon of sorrow, and the Barbershoppers are a harmonic delight.
Direction and choreography by Ray Limon is old-fashioned musical theater at its best -- full of energy with the ability to place us in the heart of the story.
WE SIX JUNKIES of musical theater loved it.
Ruff Yeager created a determined, egotistical and believable
professor in his Anton Myrvold, in a world premiere.
Four talented actors did honor to the world premiere of
a new company in San Diego. Roustabouts opened its
season at Horton Plaza's Lyceum and moves to Diversionary.
Joel Miller is Gray Foxberry and Roxane 
Carrasco is Sunita Myrvold. 
Kate Rose Reynolds is Britt Carlsson
in Roustabouts premiere production.
Two more works are planned this first season.


IT IS ALWAYS a pleasure to add a new theater to our engaging and diverse list of troupes. San Diego's balmy weather produces more than avocados and surfers. The theatrical offerings are impressive.
The Roustabouts ' recent debut is an enticing promise of brilliant collaborations with more to come.  
A beautifully rendered opening production, "Margin of Error," was directed by veteran San Diego actor Rosina Reynolds.
The work is a fast paced drama that explores issues of morality, science, loyalty and politics in the academic world. Beautiful language by Will Cooper, a Roustabout founder, with nuanced direction by the versatile Reynolds make it clear that Roustabouts will be a major contender in San Diego's burgeoning theatrical repertoire.
Extraordinary violinist and storyteller Yale Strom promises more klezmer treats
at the upcoming Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival, celebrating its 24th season.

THE TROUPE'S second show will be the new comedy “Withering Heights” (yes a spoof on Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights.") "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" follows, originated by Lily Tomlin and written by her partner and collaborator Jane Wagner.
Keep an eye on Roustabouts for quality and daring. The company promises brave new work and reimagined classics.

UP NEXT: The talent and pleasures of the annual Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival are upon us. Check out the array of performances, from Yale Strom's freewheeling Klezmer Summit, to Yiddish vocals and pop tunes, theater, readings, art and more. We've written about this festival for several years and its 24th season of treats is coming up in June.  Check it out at the Lyceum and elsewhere then mark your dance cards for spectacular, enlightening work. Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Fridays when we post for the weekend.

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