Aside from Bye Bye Birdie, there are few musicals that have been done as often, and as widespread, as The Music Man.
But that hasn’t stopped the performers in the ’s (MTC) latest production from having a blast with the well-trod story.
“It’s a great story. The musical numbers are great to watch, and it’s just fun,” said 14-year-old Marirose Aleardi, who plays love interest Marian Paroo. “It’s a fun show to watch, because all the kids are having so much fun, so you can tell when you’re in the audience.”
The story of con man Harold Hill’s attempts to swindle the citizens of River City, Iowa, and then subsequently falling in love (with Marian Paroo), is a timeless classic, according to MTC producing artistic director Mark Morgan.
“It’s funny (the kids) are saying how much fun the show is,” he said. “This is one of the most done shows in the musical theater canon … It’s a classic.”
The Music Man was the very first show Morgan directed in Moorestown, with , before he started MTC.
The Music Man Jr. represents the second session of the theater company’s summer stage program. The show, which opens Wednesday afternoon, came together in just the last two weeks, Morgan said, with daily rehearsals at .
“We worked really hard on it, and I think that everyone’s doing a really good job,” said 13-year-old Clare McGreevy, who plays Mrs. Paroo (Marian’s mother).
Nicholas Williams, 10, who plays Winthrop Paroo (Marian’s brother), said he’d only ever seen about 5 minutes of The Music Man previously, but his dad made him sing “Gary, Indiana” “over and over” before he auditioned for the show.
Nicholas said one of the hardest parts of nailing down his character was learning how to lisp. But he’s got it down now so well he’s found himself accidentally slipping it into his speech at home, he said with a chuckle.
The show has 43 cast members, from the ages of 6 to 16.
The show opens at 2 p.m. Wednesday, with additional shows at 7 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday; and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the door. All shows will be held at Hope Community Church.
Morgan said they usually hold a Thursday afternoon show, but are forgoing it so the cast can attend the ’s performance of The Wizard of Oz at .
“We just try to do that in the spirit of theater friendship,” he said.
The rec department’s production of Wizard of Oz opens at 1 p.m. Wednesday, with additional shows at 1 p.m. Thursday, and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
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