Last Thursday and again tonight I was in the audience for local musical theater. Last week it was the Lexington Youth Theatre group’s performance of The Wizard of Oz at the Grace Chapel – tonight it was The Greater Lowell Music Threatre performance of The Music Man in Concert.
The performers in “Oz” ranged in age from 8 to 18 years old. The talent, range and artistry of these young people was just wonderful to see. Parents and families played their part with sets, props, backstage and front of the house work. The enthusiasm and commitment was as fervent as that seen when kids play sports. Both are important opportunities. My personal connection was with a cast member – our granddaughter Abigail – who is about to enter 7th grade at Clarke in Lexington. Participants weren’t just from Lexington but also Andover, Carlisle, Chelmsford and other Valley communities.
Tonight the experience was with an older more mix cast – some obviously professionals and educators along with many experienced community theater regulars from across the greater Merrimack Valley. From the glorious voice of Mara Bonde as Marian to Dick Flavin’s witty portrayal of Mayor Shinn and young Jonas Trach’s engaging turn as the shy Winthrop to the lively Ladies Auxiliary and the charming rogue John Budzyna as Professor Hill – the evening had the audience laughing, clapping, humming and greatly entertained. Well-known playwright and Lowell-guy Jack Neary not only directed but performed as he beamed at his ensemble from his stage-side seat. UML alum Leon Grande had his musicans in fine form, handling this fun show with aplumb! The audience offered its appreciation on its feet!
Let’s hope that this is just the beginning for this Greater Lowell Music Theatre – UMass Lowell Center for the Arts partnership. Tickets are available for tomorrow night’s performance at UMass Lowell’s Durgin Hall.
Kudos to all involved! I had a great time tonight.