‘Music Man’ opens tonight at NLT

Published 12:05 am Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beware Natchez and Miss-Lou: We have trouble, right here in River City!

And Natchez Little Theatre and Mac and Sue Pate are proud to put an end to that trouble and present the ultimate American musical that celebrates small town living, Americana and the 4th of July, “The Music Man.”

With book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, Willson and Franklin Lacey base “The Music Man” on a story.

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An affectionate tribute to small town America of a bygone era, the plot concerns con-man Harold Hill, who poses as a kids’ band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to the naive Iowa townsfolk, promising to train the members of the new band.

But Harold is no musician and plans to skip town without giving any music lessons. 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. The cast album won the first Grammy Award for “Best Original Cast Album” and was number one on the Billboard charts for 245 weeks. The show›s success led to revivals and a popular 1962 film adaptation and a 2003 television remake.

Natchez Little Theatre’s production of “The Music Man” consists of talented local performing artists. Assisting me with the direction of the production were Terrence Robinson as musical director, Leigh Anne Mason and Shemeka Ware as choreographers, Michael Ware as assistant director and stage manager and Sarah Carey for her beautiful costumes that she created for NLT.

The beautifully orchestrated score for our performance is from the MT Pit in Bountiful, Utah.

Starring in the production are Tyler Brown as Professor Harold Hill and Gabrielle Richardson as Marian Paroo, the librarian. The supporting cast consists of Noah Authement in his NLT debut as Marcellus; Bo Allen as Mayor Shinn; Morgan Mizell as the Mayor’s wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn; Katharine Parrish as Mrs. Paroo; and Chandler Johnson as Winthrop.

The Townspeople of River City, Iowa, in 1912, are Terrence Robinson, Nance Hixon, Chris Maxwell and Justin Roland as the Men’s Quartet; Sara Davis, Taylor Spring, Andrea Cater, Hannah Hargis, Courtney Fleming and Janet McNeely as the Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little Ladies; Olivia Bridewell and Abbie Dill as the mayor’s daughters: Zaneeta and Gracie Shinn; Addison Laird as Amaryllis and Dwight Williams as Tommy Djilas.

The remainder of the talented cast is Wesley Steckler, Charlie Vess, Michael Gemmell, Michael Ware, John Elliot Ward, Anabella Laird, Symone Thomas, Ashleigh Johnson, Parker Claire Maxwell, Eric Barbato, Charles Foster and Leigh Anne Mason.

Opening night for “The Music Man” is today, and will continue to run Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20, at 7:30 p.m., closing on Sunday, June 21, at 2 p.m. All tickets for these performances are $20 for non-members of NLT and should be reserved in advance by calling NLT at 601-442-2233 or 877-440-2233. You may guarantee your reservations by purchasing them in advance through NLT’s website natcheztheatre.org and avoid the box office lines.

Come celebrate American and local talent at Natchez Little Theatre and see “The Music Man!”


Layne Taylor is the director of “The Music Man” and artistic and executive director of Natchez Little Theatre.