Show Photographs

28th Festival Season - 2006

The Music Man

By: Meredith Willson
Premiere: Majestic Theatre, New York, December 19, 1957
Performance Dates:
  • June 15th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • June 21st, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • June 24th, 2006 - 8:00pm
  • June 30th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 8th, 2006 - 8:00pm
  • July 11th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 15th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 16th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 21st, 2006 - 8:00pm
  • July 26th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 28th, 2006 - 8:00pm
  • August 3rd, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • August 5th, 2006 - 8:00pm
  • August 9th, 2006 - 8:00pm

"Professor" Harold Hill is a conman who mesmerizes the small town of River City, Iowa by selling musical instruments and uniforms with the promise to form a local student band and teach them to play using his "think method". His plan to carry out the scam is thwarted when he falls for the local librarian, Marian Paroo, and his conscience takes over.

To focus attention on the need for a boys' band, Harold attacks the town's new pool hall, and his argument is convincing, but the pool hall's owner turns out to be Mayor Shinn, who orders the school board to check out Harold's credentials. As the city officials become suspicious of him, Harold forms the men into a barbershop quartet and distracts the ladies of the town by encouraging them to study classical dance. Marian withholds evidence against Harold when she discovers he is helping her shy, withdrawn brother, Winthrop, to overcome his speech impediment. With the exception of the Mayor, the town is now under Harold's spell.

Although Marian recognizes his scheme, she falls in love with him and speaks out in his defense. Harold has the chance to skip town but decides to stay and face the music. As the band arrives in assorted, unaltered uniforms, Harold is handed a baton. "Think, men, think" is his command. At the drop of his arm comes the "Minuet in G" as it has never been "played" before. Every struggling note is music to each parent's ears. The townspeople realize that even though Harold is a thief, he changed their lives for the better, and they forgive him. Come enjoy the delightful melodies of this American classic: Ya Got Trouble, Goodnight My Someone, Seventy-Six Trombones, Pack-A-Little / Goodnight Ladies, Marian the Librarian, My White Knight, The Wells Fargo Wagon, It's You, Shipoopi, Lida Rose / Will I Ever Tell You, Gary, Indiana, and 'Til There Was You.

'The Music Man' Trumpets the Opening of Ohio Light Opera�s 28th Season

Popular Broadway hit premiers June 15th at The College of Wooster�s Freedlander Theatre

WOOSTER, Ohio � The popular Broadway hit "The Music Man" will parade across the stage of The College of Wooster�s Freedlander Theatre (329 E. University St.) Thursday, June 15 (2 p.m.), trumpeting the opening of The Ohio Light Opera�s 28th summer festival.

A lighthearted love story set in small-town America, "The Music Man" debuted at Broadway�s Majestic Theatre in 1952. It is considered the most famous work of American composer and playwright Meredith Willson, who wrote the book (with co-author Franklin Lacey) as well as the music and lyrics for the production.

Robert Preston starred in the lead role of "Professor" Harold Hill in the original Broadway production, which won eight Tony Awards in 1958, including Best Musical, Author, Composer and Lyricist. In 1962, Preston reprised his role in the Morton DaCosta-directed film version, which also featured Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold and a very young Ron Howard. The film won the Academy Award for Best Music and the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture � Musical.

In the business of traveling salesmen, it is an accepted truth that Iowa is the ultimate test of one�s sales ability. Never one to back down from a challenge, Hill, a long-time swindler, gets off the train at River City. Claiming he is a conservatory-trained professor of music from Gary, Indiana, Hill intends to con the stubborn and conservative townspeople of River City into giving him money toward buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band, but secretly plans to flee with the proceeds.

"The Music Man" is a challenging production because it has many roles for children, according to Ohio Light Opera's Artistic Director Steven Daigle, who added "this is the first time we've ever done anything involving children this substantial." To fill the role, auditions were held five weeks ago, and 14 Wooster locals were selected. "The children are fabulous," said Daigle, "despite the fact that they have very limited stage experience."

Singing the classic song, "Ya Got Trouble," Hill convinces the townspeople that without the structure of a boy's band, the town's youth population will fall into delinquency at the local pool hall. "'Ya got trouble' lends itself to someone who has a trained voice," said Daigle who selected OLO veteran Ted Christopher for the role.

Hill's spectacle prompts River City's Mayor Shinn, played by Mark Snyder (who, coincidentally, owns the pool hall), to become suspicious of the professor. Eventually, Hill mesmerizes the townspeople, forming the suspicious members of the school board, played by Ben Robinson, Patrick Howle, Peter Bush, and Cory Clines, into a barbershop quartet and convincing the ladies of the town to study classical Grecian dancing.

Due to the rigors of the festival's schedule, lead roles are split between actors. Mezzo-sopranos Valerie Hart and Elizabeth Mitchell share the role of Mayor Shinn's wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn. The constant voice of reason in River City, local librarian, Marian Paroo, remains skeptical of Hill's motives but he ingratiates himself with song and, in the process, the two fall in love. The role of Paroo is split between sopranos Danielle McCormick and Kemper LeCroy Florin.

The people of River City finally get wise to Hill's scheme, and he has to choose between saving his neck and staying with the woman he loves. His conscience wins out in the end, and Hill chooses love over a quick getaway. When forced to face the music, Hill is forgiven. The townspeople realize that, while he lied, the professor did a lot to brighten their humdrum lives.

Article written by Laura McHugh
Production Team
ConductorJ.Lynn Thompson
Robert Katkov-Treviño
DirectorSteven Daigle
ChoreographerCarol Hageman
Assitant DirectorStephen Carr
Set DesignerTymberley A. Wittrig
Costume DesignerCharlene Gross
Lighting DesignerShannon Schweitzer
Harold HillTed Christopher
Marian ParooDanielle McCormick
Kemper LeCroy Florin
Winthrop ParooBriar Arn
Harper Baddley
AmaryllisEmily Neill
Ali Jaeb
Mrs. ParooStina Marie Eberhardt
Marcellus WashburnAnthony Buck
Tyler Nelson
Jacey SquiresBen Robinson
Ewart DunlopPatrick Howle
Oliver HixPeter Bush
Olin BritCory Clines
Mayor ShinnMark Snyder
Eulalie Machecknie ShinnValerie Hart Nelson
Elizabeth Mitchell
Zaneeta ShinnKarla Hughes
Erin Jackson-Legris
Gracie ShinnNicole Wellington
Annie Jaeb
Tommy DjilasMichael Denos
Alma HixMaren Tenney
Ethel ToffelmierClaire Maloney
Maud DunlopSara Gartland
Mrs. SquiresAshly Evans
ConductorGary Moss
Charlie CowellBrian Tanner
Constable LockeDavid Krohn
Children of River City: Brian Arn, Harper Bradley, Skylar Breiner, Emily Crawford, Thomas Fitz Gibbon, Alisha Hocking, Ali Jaeb, Annie Jaeb, Joey Lenehan, Han Mahle, Emily Neill, Jennifer Vicknair, Jillian Vicknair, Nicole Wellington
Women of the Ensemble: Donata Cucinotta, Stina Marie Eberhardt, Ashly Evans, Kemper LeCroy Florin, Anne Marie Frohmayer, Sara Gartland, Karla Hughes, Erin Jackson-Legris, Amanda Kingston, Claire Maloney, Danielle McCormick, Elizabeth Mitchell, Valerie Hart Nelson, Maren Tenney
Men of the Ensemble: Jacob Allen, Jack Beetle, Kevin Blickfeldt, Anthony Buck, Peter Bush, Ted Christopher, Cory Clines, Michael Denos, Patrick Howle, David Krohn, Gary Moss, Tyler Nelson, Bejamin Robinson, Mary Snyder, Brian Tanner, Joseph Valone