Skillful con man Harold Hill has made his latest stop in Louisville.
The infamous character, who poses as a boys’ band organizer in the “The Music Man,” will appear this coming weekend in the Emerging Artists Group’s production of the classic musical written by Meredith Willson. Cody King, an incoming freshman at Indiana University Southeast, will take on the role of the unconventional hero.
Directed by Elizabeth Huling, voice instructor and award-winning New York City actor and singer, “The Music Man” will show July 13-15 with two 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances at the KCD Theater, 4100 Springdale Road.
“(The play is) set in 1912, it’s 100 years ago, and as I went through the script, I realized things are very different (now compared to then) but they’re also really the same,” said Huling. “That’s what I kind of got in touch with.”
With the help of choreographer Amanda Lahti, musical director/costume designer Cathy Ryan and several summer interns, Huling led a group of 50 cast members, ranging in age from four to 60, through six weeks of rehearsal, six days a week.
“These kids are so talented and they’re passionate, and we attract the kids who really care about theater,” Huling said. “They’ve had some good leadership in their older colleagues. The alumni that have come back have really raised the bar. We wanted to create a real dynamic. We wanted to be a real community so we have people of all ages. We don’t turn anyone away. We hold auditions so we know what their skill set is, so we can determine where to put them and help them feel more comfortable.”
Building a sense of community is one of the main themes in “The Music Man,” as well. The plot involves protagonist Harold duping naive townsfolk into paying him to equip a marching band and teach them to perform. Having no actual musical training, Harold’s plan is to flee for a new city before the town realizes they’ve been scammed.
However, in River City, Iowa, librarian and piano teacher Marian Paroo, played by Western Kentucky junior Meaghan Heit, catches onto Harold’s scheme. Yet, feelings begin to develop between Harold and Marian, and Harold must decide whether to remain in town to win her over or flee to avoid being caught for his criminal past.
In 1957, “The Music Man” became a hit on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for 1,375 performances. Its success led to a popular 1962 film adaptation and a 2003 television remake, as well as many revivals such as the one produced by the Emerging Artists Group.
“It’s time for a new generation to learn ‘The Music Man,’” Huling said. “It’s timeless. What I love about the show is it’s about part of a community and being engaged in that community, trying something new. It’s about loving your family and being loyal to your family. … There’s lots of effective and good comedy. It’s very family-friendly. Little kids love it; grandparents love it. It’s got something for everybody.”
Tickets to “The Music Man” can be purchased for $15 at the door or in advance at www.kcd.org/theater or by calling 502.322.7361. For information on the Emerging Artists Group, visit www.emergingartistsgroup.org.
Contact writer Ashley Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 502.498.2051.