YSU Theatre to Present Concert Version of ‘The Music Man’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University Theatre will present the concert version of “The Music Man” this weekend only.

The concert version of the time-tested musical features the landmark score performed by an ensemble that shares the stage with the actors. The action is performed in a stripped-down fashion that retains the story structure while putting the emphasis on the music.

Director Maria Fenty Denison said the concert version brings the musical’s cast album to life on stage. “[It retains] a bit of plot, some staging, and a few dashes of choreography just to spice things up,” Fenty Denison said. She also serves as music director.

An ensemble of Dana School of Music students, conducted by Prof. Kent Engelhardt, will be on the stage during the show. Songs will be sung in order with dialogue and movement in between the musical pieces.

“The Music Man” – with book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson and story by Willson and Franklin Lacey – has been a staple of musical theater since 1957.

The story follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize – despite having no knowledge of music. 

Hill’s plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen.

“The Music Man” was inspired by the community in which Willson grew up. After eight years of revisions and over 30 drafts, he referred to the completed piece, for which he served as both composer and lyricist, as a “Valentine” to his Iowa hometown.

Performances of YSU Theatre’s production will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25-26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, in Ford Theatre, which is on the lower level of Bliss Hall, on the YSU campus.

Adult tickets are $16 and all seating is general admission. Special rate tickets are available for  $8 for non-YSU students, YSU faculty and staff with valid ID, YSU alumni, senior citizens, Penguin Club members and groups of eight or more. YSU student tickets are free with valid ID. Call 330 941 3105 or go to YSU.tix.com to purchase show tickets.

The cast members are John Bearrs, Haley Tura, Lexi Cerny, Adam Dominic, Meredith Pallo, Kyle Hudson, Minnie Dischert, Trinity Thomas, Dominic Adams, Sav Bell, Chloe Downey, Noah Landry, Belle Elliott, Sam Law, Meganne Evans, Lauren Ladd, Mitchell Sharp, Anthony Vivacqua, and Destinee Thompson.

Musical ensemble members are Aeva Richard, Julie Douglas, Zachary Fleischman, Aaron Vagi, Brendan Bennet, Gabriella Sandy, Nicholas Brophey, Peyton Mann, Kyle Zimmerman, Kiera Wilkinson, Noah Landry, Devin Zerjav and Joseph Callard.

The staff includes Kristy Lynn Mood, choreographer; Todd Dicken, scenic designer; Ryan Fitzpatrick, production manager, technical director, sound designer and properties designer; Katherine N. Garlick, costume, wig and makeup designer; and James Oakry, lighting designer. Jan Crews is the collaborative pianist.

Pictured: ‘The cast of YSU Theatre’s production of “The Music Man” concert version includes (front)  Haley Tura, John Bearss and Sam Law; and (rear) Kyle Hudson and Adam Dominick.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.