Young Stars Theatre premieres “The Music Man Jr.” at Fremont Centre Theatre

Theatre Review by Alisa Hayashida


Do you have children who love to act, sing, dance or all three? If so, I have very good news for you because a new theatre company for young people has arrived in South Pasadena. Helmed by longtime theatre veterans, Jack and Gloria Bennett, who also teach acting and voice, the company aims to give the young people in our community a chance to perform in full scale, professional productions. After many successful years in Sherman Oaks and North Hollywood, they have realized their dream of a real home for the company by establishing YST as the resident company at Fremont Centre Theatre. Following an outstanding and festive production of A Christmas Carol, they have premiered their first all youth production of the year with “The Music Man Jr.”! Opening night on Friday was a jubilant affair with all of the children thrilled to share their talents with the full house and all enjoyed a gala in the adjoining patio. The Fremont Centre is a lovely, hidden gem in our city that offers a very pleasant night out at the theatre.

The Music Man is one of the most beloved American musicals, chock full of favorite numbers like “76 Trombones”, “The Wells Fargo Wagon” and “Trouble”! The talented cast is enthusiastic and gives it their all in this vibrant production. A few members of the cast are under the age of 6 and are impressive as they don’t miss a step and sing their hearts out! Brayden Nguyen is adorable as the shy, lisping Winthrop Paroo, especially singing the crowd favorite “Gary, Indiana”. J’Quinn McKenna has an absolutely exquisite voice that she uses to beautiful effect as Marian “the librarian” singing “’Till There was You.” She and the handsome Dylan Naber as Harold Hill, have wonderful chemistry. Nabor is as charming as he can be as the smooth talking traveling “salesman” who gets more than he bargained for when he chooses River City, Iowa as his next con. Eadan Franklynn does a great job with her homespun, Irish accent as the sweet and well-meaning Mrs. Paroo. Special mention must be made of Jack Wisinski as the Mayor who provides much of the evening’s biggest laughs. The entire cast does a bang up job from the hilarious school board quartet to the mayor’s wife and fellow “Pick-a-Little” ladies and all the townspeople who make all the group numbers simply joyous!

It’s an auspicious beginning to be sure! Do yourself a favor and go to the YST website at and sign up for their email list so you will be the first to know about upcoming shows and auditions. We are going to be hearing a lot about this exciting theatre company that is on it’s way to becoming a South Pasadena tradition. Music Man Jr. runs through this weekend with performances on Friday 8pm, Sat. 8pm & Sun. 3pm & 7pm. For tickets and info – Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave. South Pasadena.

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