by Nicole Fallon – For 17 years, The Music Man Singing Ice Cream Shoppe has been a staple in the shore town of Lavallette, New Jersey. During the summer season, a talented cast of singing, dancing waiters puts on six shows a night, and at each one, there always seems to be some customers who are there to experience the magic again.
What keeps locals and tourists coming back to this unique, vaudeville-style Broadway cabaret show after nearly 10,000 performances? Just ask Dave Tober, a South Jersey resident who makes a point to see a show at The Music Man two or three times a year.
Dave, who lives 15 minutes from the Grand Central Avenue establishment, had heard about this local attraction when it opened in 2003, but didn’t attend his first show until a few seasons later when some friends invited him and his wife to go.
Like all first-timers at a Music Man show, Dave was asked to make up a song to place his ice cream order (his “usual” is a peanut butter and chocolate sundae, by the way). Most people feel apprehensive about singing and dancing in front of a crowd, especially full of strangers. However, Dave recalled the cast members making him feel so comfortable about it, and he was instantly sold on the place.
“The place is so welcoming,” he said. “You stumble through the little thing you have to do and everyone applauds for you.”
The staff is just one of the many things Dave enjoys about attending shows at The Music Man. Everyone is sunny and positive, he said, and on top of that, they’re incredibly talented.
“The people on staff do a tremendous job,” said Dave. “They always bring it every time you see the show, and you always walk out of there happy.”
Dave also noted that the show is an incredible value for the price. Admission to the performance is free with the purchase of a sundae, or $9 a person if you don’t order ice cream (your ticket includes a complimentary beverage). That’s why Dave always leaves, in his words, “outrageous tips” for the young, aspiring theater and voice majors in the cast – it’s his way of giving back for the great time at the show.
So why have the Tobers made The Music Man a semi-annual tradition? Because “every show is different.”
“I love the improv shows. The theme shows are good, but at the improv [performances], … they always cater to the crowd and change the numbers depending on who’s there,” said Dave. “You can go once a week and never hear the same song twice.”
Most importantly, The Music Man offers a true escape from the stresses of everyday life. It allows audiences of all ages to sit back, relax, and share an experience together.
“You walk in with all your problems in the back of your mind, and in that 45 minutes [during the show], you’re on a journey – all your problems are gone,” Dave said. “I always leave wanting more.”
The Music Man’s 2020 summer season begins on Friday, May 22. Interested in reserving a table at an upcoming performance? Visit themusicman.com for more information.