Monday, May 2, 2016

Right here in River City

Meredith Willson’s iconic musical about swindlers, love, and redemption in small town USA came to life over the weekend in the Goochland High School auditorium. Our amazing drama department under the direction of Neil Burch staged a fabulous performance of The Music Man.

The acting, singing, sets, choreography—especially “Shipoopi,” the complicated and tricky number involving scores of dancers skipping over tables while not colliding with each other—were magnificent. Costumes were evocative of the play’s setting, notably the hilarious millinery sported by the ladies of River City and the outlandish, but appropriate, headgear for their dance troupe.

Assembling and organizing the large cast—Burch explained that some of the actors were not GHS students but from all of five county schools—was a formidable task well executed. Music was provided by an orchestra including adult community members under the direction of the indomitable Jay Sykes.

Lead actors, Christian Robinson as Harold Hill and Heather Carter as Marian (the librarian) Paroo, gave outstanding performances. They were, however, the peak of a very large iceberg formed of untold hours of group rehearsal and individual practice.

The “Pick a little ladies” slapstick delivery of their material was hilarious. Four-part harmony, as portrayed by the members of the school board AKA the Barbershop Quartet, never sounded better.

Whether or not anyone involved in this production pursues a career in theater, they all learned the importance of teamwork. A complicated production like The Music Man has many “moving parts,” all of which required flawless articulation for it to work. And work it did to the delight of three packed houses.

Burch thanked all involved including parent and staff volunteers. Michael Newman, GHS principal who is retiring at the end of the school year, was presented with a framed production poster.

This is a great way for seniors to end their high school career and a benchmark for future productions. Once again, Goochland Schools make us proud!

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