Cue up the 76 trombones because the community is invited to watch a cast of 93 eighth grade students from Eastern Middle School as they perform The Music Man by Meredith Willson on Jan. 24, 25 and 26.
The production is the culmination of Show Chorus, a semester-long course offered to eighth grade students. Through Show Chorus, students have studied all aspects of musical theater, including dramatic performance, music, movement and technical direction elements. Alison Allerton, the production’s stage director and music director, teaches the course.
The Music Man tells the story of Harold Hill, a fast-talking traveling salesman who convinces the townspeople of River City that he’s a music professor in order to sell band instruments and uniforms. Harold persuades the town to allow him to create a boy’s band to prevent corruption of the town’s youth. The local librarian and piano teacher, Marian Paroo, sees through him, but when Harold helps her younger brother overcome his social fears, Marian begins to fall in love with Harold. Harold, in turn falling for Marian, risks being caught to win her.
The cast features Peter Bound as Harold Hill and Katie Hoffmeister as Marian Paroo. Additional principal cast members include an array of colorful characters: Harold’s old friend Marcellus Washburn, (Reed Aaron), Mayor Shinn (Michael Busani), Marian’s mother, Mrs. Paroo (Katherine Tracey), Marian’s younger brother, Winthrop (Stephen McDonnell), the mayor’s wife, Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn (Emily Bass), Tommy Djilas, the town ruffian (James Catalano), Zaneeta Shinn, the mayor’s eldest daughter (Sophie Blue) and the school board members who go from bickering to forming a barbershop quartet — Olin Britt (Cameron Liflander), Oliver Hix (Steven Magda), Ewart Dunlop (Kevin Downey) and Jacey Squires (William Mackay).
The production team includes Eastern Middle School faculty Christine Anderson, Emily Carter, Katherine Fairchild, Tara Hoffman, Bruce Johnson and Anthony Morello, as well as recently retired EMS teacher Kathleen Harbort. Other EMS faculty and staff involved in the production are Anthony Duncan, Peter Hohmeister, Steve Kinner, Gina Mustico and Michelle Rudolph.
Performances are today, Thursday, Jan. 24, at 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lee Book Auditorium at Eastern Middle School on 51 Hendrie Avenue. Tickets are $5 for Thursday and $15 for Friday or Saturday and can be purchased in person in the main lobby of the school from 7:15 to 7:45 a.m. Ticket reservations can also be made via e-mail or phone by contacting Tara Hoffman, ticket sales manager at [email protected] or by calling 203-637-1744, ext. 1110.