"The Music Man" cast say although it's set nearly 100 years ago, the Broadway hit still hits all the right notes. Polytech stages the show at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.
In recent years, Polytech High School’s drama matriarch Sharon Crossen has focused on musicals in touch with teen angst. Students shone in “Fame,” “West Side Story” and the ultimate tribute to teens, “Grease.”
This year, she opted for something a bit more mature. It’s actually a favorite of their grandparents.
Students, and a peppering of teachers, will stage Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.
“That’s what is so different about this,” Crossen said. “It’s a big cast and it’s multigenerational.”
The Broadway blockbuster is set in 1912, and follows con man “Professor” Harold Hill as he tries to swindle the residents of River City, Iowa. He sets out to form a boys’ band to keep the kids occupied and out of trouble. In reality, he’s going to take the cash meant for uniforms and instruments and split. Then he meets Marian the librarian and, as usual, love complicates things.
Junior Robert Murrian, who plays Hill, said the upbeat tone and wit of the show and the great music — including “Seventy-Six Trombones” and “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little” — has kept generations returning to it. His grandmother is a fan of the movie starring Robert Preston.
“I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” he said.
Murrian has already been front and center as Rooster in the Children’s Theatre production of “Annie,” and various Polytech shows, but this is his biggest lead. He loves it, although he’d be happy anywhere near the stage.
“When I try out for a role, I’d be happy backstage helping out,” he said.
His cast mate Jeannie Herrera is also taking the lead as his love interest Marian. Music director Paul Janiga said she can hit a high A and make it look easy, a skill others envy.
While they take care of the music, student choreographer Lindsey Lyons has been working on steps. Like Murrian, this is her biggest challenge to date. She’s been studying old movies and YouTube clips to get the steps right, and schooling her fellow students in the waltz. She also stars as Zaneeta, the mayor’s daughter.
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