REVIEW: Playhouse’s ‘Music Man’ charms audience

Review written by Lawrence Bernabo for the Duluth News Tribune (7-13-2018)


The Music Man, the as American as apple pie musical, opened Thursday night (7/12) at the NorShor Theatre, a production totally committed to charming the audience from start to finish.

Shad Olsen and Ali Littrell Finstrom team-up for the fourth time as the leads in a Duluth Playhouse musical. The former, as Professor Hill, has come to River City, Iowa, under the guise of being a music teacher with plans to start a band — but first, he needs money. You can see the gleam in Olsen’s eye from the back row of the balcony, his two sets of two-tone shoes the clearest sign the charming con-man is as slick as a whistle.

The latter plays the librarian who falls for him. Finstrom breathes fresh life into the proper Marian. “My White Knight” has always been a throwaway song for me, but Finstrom gave it real emotional weight.

When Greg J. Anderson’s angry anvil salesman Charlie Cowell gives the “girly girl” the low down on the infamous Professor Hill, Marian is clearly rocked by the encounter. In Finstrom’s hands, Marian’s rousing defenses of Hill to first young Winthrop (Logan Johnsrud) and then the entire town has real heart.





  • What: Meredith Willson’s The Music Man
  • When: July 19-29, 2018
  • Showtimes: Thursday-Saturday @ 7:30pm, Sunday @ 2pm
    • An ASL-Interpreted performance is scheduled for Thursday, July 19 @ 7:30pm
  • Where: The NorShor Theatre (211 E. Superior St., downtown Duluth, MN)
  • Tickets: Adults – $35-$45 (depending on seat location), Students – $25
  • Purchase:  |  218.733.7555  |  211 E. Superior St.