APT’s ‘Music Man’ is everything you’ve always loved about the show – Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

If you’ve never fallen in love with Harold Hill — or Marian Paroo — you’ve obviously never seen “The Music Man. ” Traveling salesman Hill — whose con is to sell band instruments to the rubes in River City, Iowa — is the quintessential “front man, ” the larger-than-life character who might be a hero… or might not. And Marian the librarian might be the girl next door, but she’s not the fainting ingenue, rather a tough-as-nails heroine, so difficult to woo and so easy to love.

If you’re a fan of Illinois Public Theatre, you’ve already had numerous opportunities in order to fall in love with the particular current Harold Hill, Cody Robinson. He was Lonnie in “Rock of Ages, ” Simon in “Jesus Christ Superstar, ” Dr . Scott plus Eddie in “The Rocky Horror Show, ” Robbie in “The Wedding Singer, ” and most recently, Shakespeare in “Something Rotten. inch He is every bit as versatile as those roles imply, yet “Music Man” may just be his piece de resistance. There’s a line in the show that accuses Hill: “That man’s a spellbinder. ” And it’s true of the particular actor, too.

At the same time, the production of “The Songs Man” opening Sept. 16 will give you your first chance to adore Anna Ashwell, a newcomer in order to the APT stage. Her Marian Paroo is sweet, determined, shy, bold, loving and brave — the heroine worthy of Shirley Jones in the particular classic film. And then she opens her mouth to sing, and it’s literally stunning.

There’s also Brenda Nemec, finally back on stage as Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn; her husband Jason Nemec as the stolid Mayor Shinn; Michael Weir as Harold Hill’s old sidekick, Marcellus Washburn (a role he played within the good old days at Arts Center of the Ozarks); Everett Lee in his APPROPRIATE debut because Winthrop, Marian’s lisping little brother who is transformed by the magic associated with Hill’s fictional band; Noelle Drummonds since Zaneeta, the particular mayor’s older daughter, plus Drew Harris as the girl suitor Tommy Djilas; Emma Martin as Ethel Tofflemeier, the player piano gamer; and all the other characters you know and love portrayed by actors you understand plus love on the APT stage.

The youngest in the cast actually might have the strongest acting lineage. Liam Edmunds is only 5, but he is the son of Lexie and Patrick Edmunds, most recently on stage while the romantic female lead and the particular sleazy casino owner, respectively, in “Disaster. ” Patrick plays the constable plus the train conductor, therefore Liam says it’s “so great in order to dance and be with Daddy! ” He’d rather be on phase himself than watch their parents, this individual admits, and he adds, “Mrs. Brenda is usually so nice to me, plus it was the nicest associated with Mr. Ed to put me in this show! ”

Male impotence McClure is the artistic director and one of the founders of Arkansas Public Theater, and he states this show is so popular on Broadway, “it was probably time to do it again. ”

“It’s a huge leap” to transition from the ’80s jukebox musical “Disaster, inches “but it’s so refreshing to produce a classic that feels new and fresh.

“More than half the cast is making their APPROPRIATE debuts, so that’s my favorite part of the display, ” he says. “The fact that many years ago, when I has been playing Marcellus Washburn, I met my future son Zachary is a bonus! ”

Robinson started performing in APT whenever he was a sophomore within high school back in 2012. He keeps coming back, he or she says, because of the people.

“It’s an amazing atmosphere full of friendly people, and they are all extremely supportive. A lot of them are like a second family in my experience.

“The charisma he has is the most fun part about Harold, inch he adds. “It’s therefore fun in order to play a guy who can convince everybody of something as silly as a pool table leading their kids to become delinquents! ”

Ashwell started voice lessons inside high college and has experience as Mary Poppins from College associated with the Ozarks and because Anne in “Anne of Green Gables” at the Stained Glass Theatre in Joplin, Mo.

“I was looking to get involved in local theater plus found their auditions online, ” the girl says associated with APT. “I love that will Marian will be unapologetically doing what the lady feels is right at every turn in this story — she is consistently thinking of others in every thing she does. During the show we get to see her slowly open up, and it’s been delightful getting to work on the details of that development!

“I think there are quite a few things to take away from this particular show, but one of the favorites is the fact that the boys’ band really worked, inches she provides. “Having some thing you’re passionate about can bring light plus color into your life, whether or not it can something you can profit through or are usually good with! ”

Brenda Nemec, that is usually directing the display instead associated with acting in it, says the mayor’s wife “is a hot mess, married to a hot mess! She is so pompous and funny plus wears the particular most outlandish costumes! No wonder I love her! ” And “Mayor Shinn is usually a bit pompous and overbearing, yet he loves his family and town, ” her real-life husband Jason Nemec says.

“There is the moral about a con artist going straight and the townspeople’s trust being rewarded in the end, inch he adds, “but just hearing the particular audience laugh and react is why most of us continue to do what we do. inches

    photo   Traveling con man Harold Hill (Cody Robinson, seated center) decides to give Iowa a try inside the APT production from the classic music “The Music Man. ” (Courtesy Photo/Sarah Oakley for APT)

    photo   FYI ‘The Music Man’: Four-Part Harmony Just a few weeks ago, Edward Mountz had been belting out ’80s rock ‘n’ roll tunes since the romantic lead in “Disaster, ” plus Kevin Lancaster was the awkward professor trying to stop an earthquake, followed by the tidal wave, accompanied by a blazing inferno. Now they’re joined by APT veteran Wendell Jones and newcomer Joe Miller to portray the constantly bickering Water City school board who find new unity singing four-part harmony. “This is definitely my first time performing in the barbershop quartet, ” Lancaster says. “It has been a fun and rewarding challenge. “Singing in the particular quartet will be much more challenging musically than the other musicals, ” he provides. “The harmonies are tighter and more complex, and there is no accompaniment in order to help keep us upon track. ” “I’ve sung in four-part harmonies within ensembles before, but I’ve always had someone else also singing my part — which definitely helped, ” agrees Mountz. “So this was a little bit of the learning curve for me, but once the individual parts started to sink in, things began to click. “Back in ‘Avenue Q, ’ I maneuvered the right arm with regard to Nicky, so I had to be totally in sync with his left arm and tone of voice, Cody Robinson, ” he adds. “It was an amazing and fun experience, and now I find to somewhat relive it, but with three people instead of 1! ” Callier says this individual learned four-part harmony from the United Methodist hymnal in grade school, so the singing has been the most fun about his APPROPRIATE debut. “But it’s also fun to feel the momentum build within the rehearsals now that we’re getting to the full show runs, ” he or she adds. “It’s been a long time since I was on stage, plus I’m enjoying the energy of the APT veteran stars. ” “Singing barbershop harmonies … should seem easy and effortless, but is very technically precise and requires each member to sing exactly what is written, ” Jones says. “Trust in the other members from the quartet is what makes a great barbershop experience. ”

    photo   Brenda Nemec since Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn (center) entertains the people of Lake City, Iowa, as the girl husband the particular mayor (played by Nemec’s husband Jason Nemec) looks on inside APT’s “The Music Man. ” (Courtesy Photo/Sarah Oakley for APT)

    photo   “You got trouble, my friends, right here in River City, ” Harold Hill (Cody Robinson) tells a wondering crowd in the APPROPRIATE production of “The Songs Man. ” (Courtesy Photo/Sarah Oakley regarding APT)

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