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Musical pays tribute to small-town America

Sandy High presents The Music Man, opening Friday, Nov. 15


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Cassidy Williams and Shawn Young playing Marian Paroo and Harold Hill, respectively, foreground, dance 'The Shipoopi' in Sandy High Schools performance of 'The Music Man.'

“The Music Man” has captivated audiences since 1957, called a musical as American as apple pie and the Fourth of July.

Sandy High School’s performing arts department is presenting Meredith Willson’s Broadway classic the next two weekends in the school auditorium.

“We try to do a mixture of well-known shows and lesser-known shows over the years,” said Chris Harris, director. “This is the well-known show here — one of the big warhorse musicals of American theater.”

Featuring 50 students from the high school and district elementary schools, “The Music Man” is the combined effort of Harris, veteran choir director Bruce Scarth and band director Rob McGlothin.

Musical Theatre International calls “The Music Man” an “all-American institution, thanks to its quirky characters, charmingly predictable dramatic situations and one-of-a-kind, nostalgic score of rousing marches, barbershop quartets and sentimental ballads which have become popular standards.”

It’s 1912 in River City, Iowa. A smooth-talking salesman named Harold Hill (Shawn Young) poses as a music instructor, selling instruments and uniforms to the small community.

Little do River City denizens know that Harold “doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef” and plans to skip town without giving any music lessons.

But when he becomes smitten with a librarian-piano teacher named Marian, the con man’s tune changes.

“Honestly, the story is kind of weird if you think about it,” said senior Kady Bradley, who plays Zaneeta Shin. “Everyone thinks it’s a happy-go-lucky musical, but deep down it’s really not. The moral of the play is you can turn your ways around and become good — and fall in love.”

Prim and proper Marian falls for Harold and puts herself out there. In turn, Harold risks getting caught in order to win over Marian.

“Marian talks about how even though Harold came to con us, he made our town so much better and brought so much joy to everyone in town,” said senior Cassidy Williams, who plays Marian.

Freshman Riley McCord, who plays three minor characters, said he was proud of the set the cast and crew constructed — a stationary set that fits the early 20th century Americana play.

J.J. Dominguez, a junior and chorus member, said the energy on set is contagious with so many energetic cast members and catchy band tunes.

“The Music Man” was originally produced in 1957 and revived on stage in 1980 and 2000, receiving five Tony Awards and a Grammy Award for best original cast album.

A movie production was released in 1962, and a television movie was released in 2003.

IF YOU GO

Who: Sandy High School’s drama, choir and band departments.

What: Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15-16 and 21-23.

Where: Sandy High School’s auditorium, 37400 Bell St., Sandy.

Cost: $5 for students and senior citizens and $7 for adults.

Info: For reserved seating, call 503-668-8011, ext. 7313.