Maureen Desmond photo/SJHS

'The Music Man' strolls into Saint John High

by Sandra Davis - Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This article is courtesy of Telegraph-Journal

SAINT JOHN - When you figure in the many hours of practice Saint John High School students are putting in as they prepare to stage The Music Man, along with countless volunteers working behind the scenes, it all adds up to make the show an undertaking of "enormous" proportions, says its producer, Tracy Lutz.

Listen to the Barbershop Quartet performing on CBC radio.

"It's a massive production," she says, and not just for the 100 cast members involved.

Actors' auditions were held in January, with the really serious rehearsing beginning in late February, three days a week. Now, the cast is also rehearsing on the weekends.

Plus, there are the countless hours students have spent at home rehearsing lines and scenes with family and friends.

Meanwhile, a team of about 30 teachers and parent volunteers is pitching in to sew costumes and construct large, moveable sets, under the direction of designer Maryanne Lewell, while music director Trish Gallagher has been working with the cast at lunch.

The Music Man debuts on Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Dennis Knibb Theatre and plays through Saturday.

The production stars Owen McCausland as The Music Man, Harold Hill, and Kirsten LeBlanc as spinster librarian Marian Paroo. Marijke Blok is directing the students.

Meredith Willson's The Music Man is a feel-good musical comedy set in the Iowa of 1912 that tells the story of travelling salesman Harold Hill and his visit to River City, where he falls in love with spinster librarian Marian Paroo.

The fast-talking confidence man, who has no musical skill, convinces the town that unless they adopt his music program, the youth of River City will be destined to fail.

The Music Man debuted on Broadway in New York City in December of 1957.

The musical is perfect for a student production, says Lutz, because it allows for many characters.

"We have kids who are in their Grade 12 year getting lines and name parts, who have been participating every year, so it's nice to be able to distribute a lot of opportunities to all the kids and not just two main leads," she said.

Tickets for The Music Man are $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults for reserved seating; rush tickets are $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.

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