The Golden Chain Theatre will present nine performances of the classic musical-comedy “The Music Man” by Meredith Willson Oct. 28 through Nov. 20 - right here in Oakhurst - with a capital “O.”
A cast of 46 is directed by Jennifer Piccolotti in the G-rated family-friendly story that is a six-time Tony Award winning show that has been entertaining audiences since 1957.
“The Music Man” follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill played by James Mierkey, as he attempts to con the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize – despite the fact he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. Mierkey also serves as the musical director for the production.
With help from his associate Marcellus Washburn, played by JR Romero, Hill incites concern among the parents of River City that their young boys are being lead into a world of sin and vice by the new pool table in town. He convinces them that the marching band is the only way to keep the boys out of trouble, and begins collecting their money.
Washburn has settled in River City and has started a new life with his girlfriend, Ethel Toffelmeir, played by Makenzie Hagerman.
Heather Sconce plays Marian Paroo the town librarian - a woman with a deep distrust of men - but finds herself being slowly seduced by the slick-talking Hill.
Once Hill has collected the money and the instruments and uniforms have arrived, he hops on the next train out of town, leaving them without their money or a band.
Hill was played by Robert Preston and Shirley Jones played Marian in the highly acclaimed 1962 Warnor Brothers movie based on the 1957 Broadway musical. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning for Best Musical Score. It lost out to “Lawrence of Arabia” for Best Picture.
In 2005, “The Music Man” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Songs in the production include “Ya Got Trouble,” “76 Trombones,” “Gary Indiana,” “Till There Was You,” “Marian the Librarian.” and “The Wells Fargo Wagon.”
Mierkey and Sconce are thrilled with the opportunity to play Hill and Marina.
Due to a talented cast, Director Piccolotti said audiences are in for a great time at the GCT since two leads in the cast, Mierkey and Sconce, will bring a high level of professionalism and glorious vocals to the show.
“They are both very well suited for the style of music featured in “The Music Man,” Piccolotti said. “I am so thrilled to be able to direct such an American classic, and I’m excited to be able to refresh the memories of those who have seen it before and to introduce it to a whole new generation.”
Sconce, 36, who has been singing since her first solo in church at age two, said she is honored and humbled to be playing one of her dream roles.
“I get to sing in over seven songs in the play, and at least four of them are solos,” Sconce said. “Two of my favorites are “My White Knight” and “Til There Was You.”
Sconce said each of those songs allow her to bring a different point of view of Marian’s character and each let’s her do different things vocally that she loves.
““My White Knight” lets me spread my vocal wings and challenges me whereas “Til There was You” is soft and romantic and has a lot of character in it,” Sconce said.
The Paroo family also includes Janet Pritchett as Mrs. Paroo and Makenzie Sconce as Winthrop. Mayor Shinn is played by Michael Van Buren, with Ruth Ann Van Buren as his wife (on and off the stage), Eulalie. Cassie Longcor and Paige Ferbrache are cast as their daughters, Zaneeta and Gracie, and Eben Hammond plays Zaneeta’s love interest, Tommy Djilas.
The schoolboard members who are the Barbershop Quartet are Lee Hulbert, George Rich, Kent Byers and a mustachioed Piccolotti. They jokingly call themselves “Three and Half Men.” Allyson Ferbrache plays Amaryllis, and Matt Vanderwal is the anvil salesman, Charlie Cowell.
“You will laugh until your sides hurt and cheer for the amazing dance sequences,” Piccolotti said. “Don’t miss this show, with its heartwarming finale, hailed by many as the perfection of the American musical comedy.”
Looking for ways to give back to the community that has supported GCT for so many years, the GCT board of directors decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the production to the Yosemite High School Marching Band fund.
The show will open with a short presentation from the Golden Chain Theatre’s newly formed youth group, The GCT Junior Players - 12 youngsters who have auditioned for this elite group that has a focus on performance, stage pretense and the ability to conduct themselves professionally with patrons. There are several children in “The Music Man,” cast as well, but they are separate from the Junior Players.
Details: “The Music Man” - Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays 7 p.m. and Sundays 2 p.m. Oct. 28 - Nov. 20. Tickets cost $10 - $15. Children 12 and under free. Pre-sale tickets are available at www.goldenchaintheatre.org or by calling (559) 683-7112. Tickets are also available at the door.