Sunday, March 17, 2019

Wetumpka Depot: "The Music Man, Jr."

The Wetumpka Depot Players have a lot on their plate: their production of The Diviners is on its way to compete in the National meeting of the American Association of Community Theatres; they're in rehearsals for the musical Bright Star; and the "Encore Players" production of The Music Man, Jr. is the first group in a pilot program sponsored by Music Theatre International affording Seniors opportunities to perform versions of plays that have been abridged for performances by Youth Theatre companies. The Music Man, Jr. closed after a short run this weekend at the Depot.

The "Encore" company is comprised of some 15 women who doubled many of the roles in Meredith Wilson's hugely popular musical that tells the exploits of flimflam man "Professor" Harold Hill [Sally Blackwell] who comes to River City, Iowa to scam the town's naive citizens into investing in a boys band, complete with fancy uniforms and instruments, intending to skips town before they realize they have been bilked. -- While there, he meets and falls in love with spinster librarian Marian Paroo [Jean Webb]. Assorted townsfolk fall under his spell, though some including Mayor Shin [Charlotte Whetsone] demand to see his credentials.

There is a lot of confusion and many complications along the way, and audiences are treated to the play's many well-known songs, among them: "76 Trombones", "Trouble", "Goodnight My Someone", "Wells Fargo Wagon", "Shipoopi", "Gary, Indiana", and "Till There Was You".

With an average age of 70, the "Encore Players" strut their collective stuff with grace and style, impersonating men in admirable costumes and makeup [they are recruiting Senior men to join the Company], and creating an infectious good-natured atmosphere that had the audience laughing, cheering, and occasionally singing along.

Let's hope this will be the first of many such theatrical excursions for the "Encore Players".