July 14, 2011 at 9:06 a.m.
Meredith Wilson's The Music Man seems an appropriate culmination of those 35 full years, having been performed twice before by the Company, in 1978, and in 1993.
The Music Man opens upon the arrival of famed conman Harold Hill (Nathan Hoarn) to the small, set-in-its-ways town of River City, Iowa. Using all of his charms, Hill convinces the entire town that he can successfully turn their children into musicians, promising to form and direct a marching band. But while the whole of the town rushes to order instruments and uniforms for their sons and daughters, the sharp librarian (Melissa Hoarn) isn't so sure that Hill is who he claims to be. Peppered with humor, especially from the bumbling mayor (Doniver Ahlm) and his ridiculous wife (Bobbi Sells), The Music Man is wholehearted and entertaining.
Featuring a live pit orchestra, the production also impressed with outstanding vocals, and actors belting out well-known pieces such as, "Seventy-Six Trombones," "Pick-A-Little," and "Till There Was You." The lively choreography, which included a rollicking dance amidst library shelves in one scene, kept the audience bouncing.
Also to their continuous credit, Masquers doesn't confine itself to the stage. Throughout the show, actors were entering and exiting and marching down the aisles in a successful attempt to bring audience members as close to The Music Man as possible. I know I wasn't the only audience member who appreciated the cast engaging us in such a way; the little girl sitting next to me giggled for several minutes when a trombone player came swaying by.
Finally, to my complete delight, the Company didn't 'fool around' with the classic musical. They stayed true to the original concept, characters, and atmosphere, allowing the warmth of River City to shine through. For those of you who know and love the Shirley Jones, Robert Preston movie version of The Music Man, I can tell you honestly that you will not be let down by the Masquers production.
The Music Man will be performed in the Forest Lake High School Auditorium July 15-17, 21-24, and 28-31. Tickets are $18 adult, $14 senior, $14 children, and $14 student, and can be ordered online at masquerstheatre.org, or purchased at the door.
Masquers Theatre The Music Man production involves the efforts of nearly 75 people from around our area including: Janice Murphy Roman as Director; Jessica Kelley and Ariana Mueller as Stage Managers; Sara Larson as Costumer; Bill Munson as Music Director; Jay Schueller as Technical Director; Nick Jensen for Sound; Robbie Kelley and Tony Nobles as Producers; and Jenessa Wasilk as Choreographer. Actors include: Doniver Ahlm (Mayor Shinn/Conductor); Carol Bergeron (Mrs. Locke); Nicholas Best (Frank Lockes/band/townsperson; Chris Bierwerth (Marcellus Washburn); Brenda Brown (Mrs. Milly Britt); Paul Brown (Oliver Hicks/ Barbershop Quartet/Newspaper- man #2); Elizabeth Capouch (Hyacinth Kirkhart/Pick-A-Little Lady); Talli DuFresne (Lillyana Kirkhart/Indian maiden/dancer /townsperson); Olivia Engman (Alexa Lockes/band/townsperson); Amelia Espinosa (Hayley Dunlap/band/townsperson; Brian Etienne (Jed Djilis/Salesman #1); Bill Fauver (Olin Britt/Barbershop Quartet/Salesman #5); Sharon Gerlach (Millie Djilas/Pick-A-Little Lady); Linnea Gunard (Ethel May Squires/band/townsperson); Willie Gunard (Tommy Djilis); Laryssa Hersom (Mrs. Jayma Squires);
Emily Hjelvik (Olivia Atkinson/Indian maiden/dancer/ townsperson); Melissa Hoarn (Marian Paroo); Nathan Hoarn (Harold Hill); Stephanie Johnson (Alice Britt/ Indian maiden/dancer/ townsperson); Heidi Leeson (Alma Hicks); Mia Leeson (Sarah Atkinson/Indian maiden/dancer/ townsperson); Renee Leeson (Barbara Toffelmeir/Indian maiden/band/townsperson); Emily Lehmann (Lucy Toffelmeir/ Pick-A-Little Lady); Jamie Lien (Gracie Shinn/dancer/townsperson); Hope Marleau (Stella Atkinson/Indian maiden/band/townsperson); Judy Marleau (Maud Dunlap); Zach Marleau (Jacey Squires/ Barbershop Quartet/Salesman #2); Ariana Montzka (Rachel Shinn/band/townsperson); Tasha Montzka (Dolly Britt/Indian Maiden/band/townsperson); Kyles Nobles (Barney Hicks/Salesman #3/dancer/townsperson); Heidi O'Leary (Ethel Toffelmier); Brad Ratgen (Constable Locke/Charlie Cowell); Noah Ratgen (Linus Dunlap/dancer/townsperson); Owen Ratgen (Zach Atkinson/band/townsperson); Bill Roman (Ewart Dunlap/Barbershop Quartet/ Newspaperman #1); Jillian Scherb (Zaneeta Shinn); Lori Jo Scherb (Mrs. Paroo); Bobbi Hodgson Sells (Eulalie Macknecknie Shinn); Cami Sells (Lorraine Hicks/Pick-A-Little Lady/Farmer's Wife); Jake Sells (Timothy Toffelmeir/Salesman #4/dancer/townsperson; Cayden Travis (C.J. Squires/band/ townsperson); Lucas Tetrault (Don Djilis/Newspaperman #3/dancer/ townsperson); Jordan Uecker (Winthrop Paroo/dancer/townsperson); Hope Uggen (June Britt/dancer/townsperson); Anna Weiss (Greta Hicks/band/townsperson); Aaron Wiese (Zeke Britt/band/townsperson); Heidi Wiese (Amaryllis Kirkhart/dancer/ townsperson); Marie Ziegelski (Lizzy Dunlap/band/townsperson).
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