Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” was first produced on Broadway in 1957.

It became an instant classic, winning five Tony awards and over the next 50 plus years has become a staple of regional and community theaters across America.

At first glance you might think the Plaza staged “The Music Man” solely because this war horse puts people in the seats.

But the Siler and Barrus families, the people running The Plaza, have an almost paranoid aversion to the status quo.

They constantly look for ways to push the envelope and deliver fresh takes on familiar material.

Earlier this season they made it rain inside the theater for “Singing in the Rain.”

For “The Music Man” they have cast two-thirds of Johnson County to perform in the show. That may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight.

This is the largest cast in the Plaza’s history, and they defiantly push the limits of their little stage, not to mention the fire code.

As usual the costumes for this turn of the last century piece are colorful and engaging.

Tabitha Barrus is to be commended for the precise choreography. When everyone is marching around on stage it looks like 10 domino sets intricately lined up to be knocked down.

The actors are so close together and moving so fast that if one them were to turn right instead of left they would all come tumbling down.

Instead, this well-drilled troupe dances, sings and smiles as one person. The troupe’s precision would make a Marine drill sergeant well up with pride.

JaceSon Barrus doesn’t so much play Harold Hill as he embodies the old con man with a heart of gold.

Barrus is spot on in capturing the caustic wit of the snake-oil salesman who eventually gets his foot in the door with the comely small town librarian.

Marin Paroo, the lovely librarian, is aptly played by Amy Atkins. Atkins’ voice is singular and mesmerizing.

Her stage presence is doubly enchanting, making it absolutely believable that poor Harold Hill would give up his traveling salesman ways for small town life.

G. Aaron Siler is in top form playing Marcellus Washburn, Hill’s inside man in town.

Siler’s deft comic touch is a staple of the Plaza, and he more than comes through here.

Jay Lewis, another Plaza regular, garners loads of laughs as the word mangling Mayor Shinn.

Milette D. Siler is a bundle of nervous energy in her portrayal of the Mayor’s wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn.

Siler and the other gossip girls, Julie Hefner, Ginny Rogers, Daron Cockerell and Becky Watson, stop the show with their spry ‘Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little’ number midway through the first act.

The real show stopper of the night belongs to young Caleb Midkiff for his energetic rendition of “Gary, Indiana.”

Many more highlights and performances are worth mentioning, the Barbershop quartet, for instance, but my allotted space is smaller than this fabulous cast.

March on down and see “The Music Man” before it closes.

The show runs through Oct. 17. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, with two performances Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

For information, call 817-202-0600 or visit

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