‘The Music Man’ brings ‘timeless’ story to town
A cast, orchestra and crew of about 100 area men, women and children will present the Baldwin City Theater's summer production, "The Music Man," at 8 p.m. Friday through Tuesday and June 22-24 on a outdoor stage west of the Baldwin City Post Office.
The musical by Meredith Willson was originally produced on Broadway in the 1950s, and recently won a Tony award for its Broadway revival.
"It's a large cast," said director Dan O'Connell. "That's always fun lots of kids, lots of parents."
"The Music Man" is the story of traveling salesman, Harold Hill, and his visit to a small Iowa town in 1912, where he meets and falls in love with spinster librarian, Marian Paroo. Hill convinces the residents of River City that unless they adopt his revolutionary music program, the morale of the youngsters will be forever doomed. With his fast-talking style, he cons the parents into buying expensive instruments and uniforms to form the River City Boys Band.
Soon, the citizens question Hill's credentials and demand that he prove himself to River City.
"It's a good, all-American show," said producer Kathy Davis. "It has phenomenal music and great dancing."
"River City is probably pretty much like Baldwin City," O'Connell said. "If it's successful in New York City, it has to have good things in it. Anybody would enjoy it."
The score of the musical includes the songs: "'Til There Was You," "Gary, Indiana," "Lida Rose" and "Seventy-six Trombones."
"It's one of those shows where the music can really carry the show," said Knute Pittenger, who plays Charlie Cowell, a salesman who would like to see Hill leave town.
Hill is played by Mike Boring, Lawrence. Beth Rea, Lawrence, starred in last summer's musical, "Show Boat," and returns to Baldwin as Marian Paroo. Mike Swan, Baldwin City, is cast as the mayor of River City.
"It's a great story," said O'Connell, who is directing his sixth musical for the Baldwin City Theater. "I think we all like to see a love story. Harold Hill is a bachelor and a traveling salesman. Marian is waiting for the right man to come along. He doesn't think it's her, she doesn't think it's him and low and behold. It has a timeless appeal to it."
O'Connell said the costumes and set will be great, too.
"The costumes are going to be fabulous," he said. "They are all made by Baldwin people."
Tickets at the door are $7.50 for adults and $5 for children. Advance tickets, discounted $1, are available at Santa Fe Market, Whitney's Creative Hair Designs, Baldwin State Bank, Santa Fe Market, Baldwin Lumber and Hy-Vee in Lawrence. Family nights are Tuesday and June 22, with tickets priced at $5 for adults and $3.50 for children. If rain cancels a show, a performance will be added on June 21. The musical will be signed for the hearing impaired Friday, June 23.
Senior citizens may watch the show for free at 7 p.m. Friday. Donations are accepted.