Eulalie Shinn, played by sophomore Kayleigh Turner, and the Pick-a-Little ladies create “Grecian urn” tableaus as entertainment for the people of River City (Photo Credit: Wren Brastow, BHHS).
Black Hills High School Theatre and Music’s production of The Music Man rang in a successful weekend of shows after its opening performance on February 2nd.
Debuted on Broadway in 1957, the classic musical follows the story of con man Harold Hill, played by junior Nick Hall, who promises to eliminate the so-called “trouble” of a small town in Iowa by forming a kid’s band. Over the course of a summer, the people of River City fall in love with music, just as Hill falls in love with the town’s librarian, Marian Paroo, played by senior Nicole Waldron. Stage manager Bri Smith summarizes the show as: “A con man, a librarian, and a band. And the world is full of music”.
With a cast of thirty-four actors, a pit of seventeen musicians, and a crew of seventeen backstage technicians, the production takes a unique approach regarding its scenery, props, and scene changes. Rather than performing on an elaborate set, the cast uses twelve chairs, four benches, and two tables to represent different locations within the town of River City. Scene changes are done in light by the performers themselves, placing an emphasis on one of the story’s main elements- how a community can come together as one. This “bare bones” method allows the show to be “focused on the characters themselves” rather than their setting, Smith explains. Director Dave Heywood cites the source of his inspiration for the approach as a production by the Seattle Repertory Theatre of the musical “Come From Away” in 2015.
By bringing together both the theatre and music departments, The Music Man is a testament to the power that music has to unite people from all areas of a community. The show also features five students from Michael T. Simmons Elementary School and Tumwater Middle School, reaching even further into the local community to bring art to people of all ages. Smith encourages people to come support the production, emphasizing how “every time you come, you get a new experience, new audience, and new laughs”.
The Music Man finished its first weekend with a sold-out show and will run for a final weekend in the Black Hills High School Performing Arts Center, with 7:00 p.m. shows on February 9th and 10th and a closing matinee on February 11th at 2:00 p.m.
The Olympian has further information and a sneak preview of the performance here.
By Gabby Connors