‘The Music Man’ comes to Eastern Regional

This light-hearted family musical comes to Eastern Regional later this March

Caleb Schneider, who plays Harold Hill, stands atop equipment during rehearsals for Eastern Regional’s ‘The Music Man’

“The Music Man” stands as a musical classic, originally written by Meredith Wilson, about the story of a con man who seeks to trick naïve townsfolk into buying band instruments and uniforms from him, as he says he will teach them to form a new band.

However, he is not a musician and he plans to duck out of town after he’s made a quick buck.

This classic story comes to Eastern Regional High School later this month after months of practice by the 65 performers of Eastern Regional and 15 local elementary school students, with approximately 50 crew members assisting in putting on the show in various capacities.

“It’s a nostalgic look at early America; it’s a classic traveling salesman story, kind of P.T. Barnum-esque fools the townspeople into buying band instruments and then skipping town before he has to do anything,” Director Gregg Molotsky said.

Having an extensive theater career under his belt and having helped put on “The Music Man” in varying capacities over the years, Molotsky is amazed at the ability of the musical to consistently apply to the times in which it’s being performed.

“What’s amazed me over the years in a lot of different productions of ‘The Music Man’ … it always seems to speak to whatever generation is performing it,” Molotsky said. “It’s a multi-generational show.”

Molotsky says the decision to choose “The Music Man” as the spring musical was led by the desire to want to expose the theater students to four different types of musicals during their time at Eastern Regional. They decided to go with a more classic, lighthearted performance in “The Music Man,” which also serves as a valuable history lesson.

“I feel like it’s important for these kids in this high-tech generation to try to get a feel for what a simpler time was like — not that it was simple to live back then, in fact it was probably a lot less convenient than it is now,” Molotsky said. “It’s been a little bit of an education for them to get a feel for a simpler time per se.”

Eastern senior Addison Clark, who will play the female lead in Marian Paroo, has been in a production of “The Music Man” before, however is looking forward to her first performance as Marian in this light-hearted musical.

“I think what’s really awesome about ‘The Music Man’ is that the issues the characters face aren’t life or death, which is really nice, it’s kind of an upbeat show,” Clark said. “I think it’s a cool story about how, even though what he was doing at times was wrong, he still brought more good things to River City than bad.”

Clark was in a production of “The Music Man” five years ago with the Voorhees Theatre Company in the teen ensemble, and is enjoying the opportunity to understand the characters a little bit more.

“The role of Marian is very complex, getting to see that side of the show and her story and grow is very interesting,” Clark said. “Throughout the rehearsal process, I started to think a little bit like her too, which is really cool because, obviously, that’s what I hope for.”

“The Music Man” at Eastern Regional will be on stage at 7:30 p.m. March 22, 23, 29 and 30, and at 2 p.m. on March 23, with an autism-friendly performance Wednesday, March 27 at 4:40 p.m.

Tickets are available at Eccrsd.booktix.com for $13 each.