Now in its seventh decade of productions, The Music Man remains a quaint, hearty Broadway musical, as much a time warp as the Year 1912 in River City, Iowa, in which it is set. In case you’ve forgotten, this Meredith Willson/Franklin Lacey show is brassy enough to blast to the heavens “Seventy-Six Trombones” (its showstopper), but old-fangled enough to pair onstage a stripe-jacketed barbershop quartet warbling “Goodnight, Ladies” and shamelessly gossiping women chirping “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little.”
Moonlight Stage Productions’ second summer offering at its Vista amphitheater is The Music Man, and it’s as wispy, dramatically speaking, as Old Glory fluttering over the River City courthouse. Still, a massive cast featuring many well-rehearsed child actors couldn’t do much better with the time-tested tale of “Professor” Harold Hill, Marian the librarian, and the shady scheme to start up a boy’s band that ends up becoming a sugar-sweet love story. Leads David Engel (as Hill) and Alessa Neeck (as Marian) are appealing and clean-scrubbed, and director John Vaughan’s choreography sets the pace for a swiftly satisfying night outdoors.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.