By Jessica Berlinger
Music, dancing and joy filled the Sigurd K. Lee Theater on Feb. 3, the opening night of Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man.
The Music Man is about a small town in Iowa that finds hope. It opened on Broadway 60 years ago and is still a beloved musical today. It is well-known as it has cast members ranging in ages from elementary school through college. It draws a crowd to see children in the cast alongside their collegiate counterparts.
“This show is very well-known, and it’s cool to be able to perform shows that no one knows, and also shows that lots of people know,” said senior Christian Rank. “We might possibly have to have two extra shows because so many people know the show and want to see it.”
Out of the six shows, all sold out.
“I thought it was a very good musical,” said sophomore Grant Hochmuth. “Everyone did a great job with their parts and really got into their roles.”
In this production there were 79 cast members.
“We have kid actors this year and any scene with them is really cool to me,” said Rank. “Seeing the little kids up there acting, they’re just really cute and funny.”
Some of the major parts were played by seniors David Roemhildt, Sarah Roemhildt, Rank, and Adam Tecken; sophomores Natalie Dworak, Daniel Nusbaum and Bailey Rogotzke; freshman AJ Mildebrandt; and child actors Rose MacPherson, Alex Matzke and Lexi Meunier. Although the cast is large, everyone has become close and has enjoyed every minute of preparing for the show.
“It’s very bittersweet,” said Dworak about the last dress rehearsal. “Last night was our last rehearsal and we need to perform because we are ready, but it was sad and nobody wants it to end because it’s very fun. It’s something everyone looks forward to at the end of the day.”
As a musical, this play is full of singing and dancing, which also affects the mood of the play.
“All the dance rehearsals were super fun, and you really got close with the other cast members,” said Dworak. “And this show is really happy. Last year’s [play] was very beautiful and serious, but this one is very happy and it really shows through the characters. There are a lot of characters who have very defined personalities; I really enjoy it and the set is really nice and the costumes are fun to be in.”
This play isn’t just set in a small town, it also portrays the culture of small towns, and not just one aspect of that culture but many aspects. There is a town mayor whom everyone knows, a school board who can never seem to agree until they become a barbershop quartet, ladies who gossip all day, a constable, a train conductor, traveling salesmen and of course the citizens.
Through these different generalizations, Wilson is able to portray a small town atmosphere as realistic but humorous.
The cast members had a great time throughout all the rehearsals and shows.
“I love being the librarian. It’s so fun, I feel so proper,” said Dworak laughing.
The Music Man filled the theatre with singing, dancing and rhythms that will be hard to forget. The show ran Feb. 3-5 and will be playing again Feb. 10-11.