Koinonia Christian School is gearing up to present the classic Broadway musical The Music Man, with shows running at the Memorial Centre April 28th-30th.
Curtain is at 7 p.m. with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. as well.
A huge hit on Broadway back in the 1950s, The Music Man is filled with superbly-crafted, recognizable tunes, said Annette Bradley, musical director. Also heading up the production are Peter Vanderwal (production manager) and Heather Hankins (choreography director).
Tickets are $15 each – to purchase tickets, call 403-346-1839. The production marks the school’s major fundraiser of the year.
The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey.
“You’ve got the famous songs like Seventy-six Trombones, Gary, Indiana, The Wells Fargo Wagon, Marian the Librarian, Till There Was You – it takes place in the 1910s but the copywright was in the 1940s,” explained Bradley of the classic production. “When people start to hear the production, it will definitely ring a bell.
“The music has been around enough that you often hear it at music festivals – these are songs people will also do with their choirs and ensemble groups,” she said, adding that Koinonia’s cast numbers 28 student plus another 12 for the band in the play, too.
Art students have been painting the set and construction students at the school have helped build the set, so from the start the entire project has been a school-wide endeavour, said Bradley. “The junior high students are in the band part of the play, where they come out at the end,” she said.
“It’s a story of redemption, acceptance and forgiveness,” she said, adding the musical will appeal to the entire family. “It’s really got it all.”
Working with Vanderwal and Hankins has also been a joy. It’s also terrific to join together with others in bringing a multi-layered production like this to the stage. “Heather is looking after anything that requires movement. Peter is looking after all the speaking roles and I’m looking after anything that involves dialogue.”
The other staff at the school are involved in the show in some way as well, contributing that much more to the overall community feel of the production.
According to www.broadwaymusicalhome.com, with his fast-talking style, ‘professor’ Harold Hill convinces the parents of River City to buy instruments and uniforms for their youngsters in order to save them, but chaos ensues as Hill’s credentials are questioned and he is called upon to prove himself to the citizens of River City.
Prim librarian and piano teacher Marian sees through him, but when Harold helps her younger brother overcome his lisp and social awkwardness, Marian begins to fall in love. Harold risks being caught to win her.
In 1957, the show became a hit on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and running for 1,375 performances.
According to the web site, the cast album also won the first Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and spent 245 weeks on the Billboard charts.
The show’s success led to revivals, including a long-running 2000 Broadway revival, a popular 1962 film adaptation with Shirley Jones and a 2003 television remake featuring Matthew Broderick. It is frequently produced by both professional and amateur theater companies.
Part of the enduring appeal of The Music Man stems from the extremely singable melodies, said Bradley. “By Christmas, we were hearing from parents that the students would come home singing these songs,” she explained with a laugh.
For Bradley, seeing the school come together in bringing the production to fruition has been a rewarding experience from the start.
“It’s been neat watching their confidence grow in their areas of vocals, dancing, choreography and acting. It’s very satisfying to see the students taking on their roles and enjoying them.”