“The Music Man” turns Voorhees into River City

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 We got trouble, right here in River City, with this year’s spring musical “The Music Man” performed by Eastern’s acclaimed theatre program.

 “The Music Man,” written by Meredith Willson, tells the story of con man Harold Hill, who arrives at a small Iowa town called River City, posing as a boys’ band organizer and selling band instruments and uniforms to the naïve citizens of the town. However, his plans to scam the people of River City are hampered by Marian, the librarian of the town, who suspects Harold’s intention and with whom Harold falls in love.

 “I’ve never been the lead of a show before, so I’m not used to a role like Harold Hill,” said senior Caleb Schneider, who plays Harold Hill. “It’s very tiring being at the center of the plot at all times, but it’s also sort of exhilarating.”

 “The Music Man” is Schneider’s 7th show at Eastern and, being the lead, he realized, above all, the importance of an ensemble in a show. The show contains several songs in which Harold conducts the townspeople in an elaborate song and dance in order to win their approval. “Without the ensemble, I’d just be singing to myself onstage for two hours, and that’d be kind of sad,” Schneider said.

 Senior Addison Clark, who plays Marian, said that, while rehearsing for the show, she has gotten to spend time with new people whom, had she not worked with, she wouldn’t have gotten to get to know. “I have learned a lot about being an actress, and how to uncover my genuine emotions and letting that shine through my character,” she said.

 Her favorite thing about “The Music Man” is, apart from the kids in the show and the costumes, is her own character. “It’s a gift to get to tell her story and embody such a strong, clever, intellectual, and kind individual,” she said.

Junior TJ Rickey, who plays Mayor George Shinn, stated that his favorite thing about the show is how clever the book and music are. “There are so many subtle jokes and references throughout the show that really set the scene,” he said, “and the beautiful music is all cleverly strung together with a variety of crossovers and instrumental motifs.”

 Band music is an integral part of “The Music Man,” and the pit orchestra came out swinging to support the cast. “I was excited but nervous to take on this new challenge,” said clarinet player Kena Patel. “The music is definitely more difficult and each part is really exposed, which means that there is greater individual responsibility to learn your parts.” Being in “The Music Man” strengthened Patel’s appreciation for all the hard work that goes into productions.

 “For me, pit orchestra is a combination of two of my favorite things: flute and theatre,” said flute player Arianna Reischer. “Being in pit has taught me a lot about playing a different style of music with a diverse group of people and learning how my part fits in with the bigger picture of the show.”

 Harry Jelesiewicz, who plays the trumpet, joined the pit orchestra because “I love musicals and a lot of my friends are apart of the musical in all of its aspects.” His favorite song, as well as Patel’s and Reischer’s, to play from the musical is “Shpoopi,” a fast and energetic dance song.

 To a perform a musical, all parts of cast and crew must fuse and work together to highlight each other’s parts and create a production that the audience is enthralled by. “The Music Man,”  with its unique plot and catchy music, is a perfect show to showcase all the talent that Eastern has to offer.

 Rickey summed up the essence of “The Music Man” perfectly. “Its iconic music will be playing in your head for years, and its feel-good story leaves you never wanting to leave River City,” he said.