Trombones Led the Big Parade

“The Music Man” Ready to March Onto the Whitaker Stage

Stosh Snyder (l) playing the role of Prof. Howard Hill and Kate Prickett (r) as Marian the Librarian.

The show features a big cast, big show tunes, a simple and delightful story and has warmed the hearts of audiences since it won five Tony Awards in 1958.

Now Theatre Harrisburg, where community takes center stage, brings this crowd-pleaser to the Sunoco stage at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.

“I remember first seeing The Music Man in the mid-1960s when the wonderful 1962 film version was televised on CBS,” recalls Samuel Kuba, executive director of Theater Harrisburg. “However, I really learned the score over the summer of 1972 when I had the opportunity to play the piano in the pit for a local production; it was a great experience for me.”

Ironically, that production’s Marian the Librarian was performed by the wife of Eric Dundore, the director of Theatre Harrisburg’s current production going up this November.

While the story is simple, the music is a “veritable hit-parade of songs” as Kuba explains. “Its deceptively simple-sounding, easily accessible tunes belie the sophistication behind the notes – 76 Trombones and Good Night, My Someone are the same song at different speeds, the clever contrapuntal numbers involving the barbershop quartet and other cast members and, of course, the revolutionary, rap-like opening without any instrumental accompaniment.”

Close to 50 volunteer performers will fill the stage with song, dance, and story. Grandparents will explain to their grandchildren that, yes, there was a time when life was indeed just like this – simple and graceful – when people communicated with their eyes and the spoken word, instead of smartphones and Facebook.

“There is something comforting about revisiting the simpler, more innocent era of The Music Man,” Kuba muses. “Slowing down for a few hours and just enjoying the whole experience – perhaps with family and friends – can produce a welcome and needed respite.”

Theatre Harrisburg will present The Music Man November 2 through 18 at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts. Seats for opening weekend are only $15. All other performances are $20 and $25. There will also be five matinee performances – three Sundays and two Saturdays. For tickets, call (717) 214-ARTS.