The five-time Tony award-winning musical is selling out Arena Stage.
By Carolina Cornejo
Director Molly Smith, the same visionary who made “Oklahoma!” a record-breaking audience favorite, is gearing up to do the same with Meredith Willson’s “Music Man.” The tale of Harold Hill is composed of a team in which most members have already worked together, with choreography by Parker Esse and Lawrence Goldberg as musical director. The multiple Tony Award-winning musical runs May 11 through July 22, 2012, in Arena Stage‘s Fichandler Stage, with all performances in May already sold out.
“I was born in a small town. Some of the most narrow-minded people come from small towns and some of the most visionary,” says Smith. “In ‘The Music Man,’ Willson has captured the essence of a small town in the middle of America. Our world for ‘The Music Man’ is set in a vision of America’s past with echoes of today.”
The musical stars Tony Award-nominee Kate Baldwin (“Finian’s Rainbow”) as Miriam the librarian and Burk Moses (who played the original Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway) as Harold Hill, along with D.C.-area natives John Lescault (Signature Theatre’s “Brother Russia“) as Mayor Shinn, Donna Migliaccio (“Ragtime”) as Mrs. Paroo, and Nehal Joshi (Ali Hakim in Arena’s “Oklahoma!”) as Marcellus Washburn. Making their Arena Stage debuts are Barbara Tirrell (national tour of “Wicked”) as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, with newcomers Will Burton as Tommy Djilas and Juliane Godfrey as Zaneeta Shinn, among others.
“For many Americans, gold-standard musicals like The Music Man are their first exposure to live theater, and this production may be the first time that many families experience this great American musical. There is an essential optimism, a kinetic energy and a spirit in the form that reminds us of something central about America at its best,” says director Smith.
Choreographer Parker Esse returns for his 10th production at Arena Stage and second as choreographer after last working with Smith on “Oklahoma!,” for which he won a Helen Hayes Award. Music director Lawrence Goldberg, who makes his Arena Stage debut and was most recently on Broadway with the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, leads 15 musicians in the orchestra.
Award-winning environmental set designer Eugene Lee returns after also collaborating with Smith on Oklahoma! The citizens of River City will be transformed by costume designer Judith Bowden, who worked with Smith on My Fair Lady at the Shaw Festival, and lighting designer Dawn Chiang, who recently designed The Great Gatsby for Arizona Theatre Company and is a longtime company member at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
The Music Man is sponsored by Karen and Edward A. Burka and Margot Kelly. The 2011/12 Fichandler Stage Season is sponsored by Life Trustee Dr. Jaylee Montague Mead.
Tickets for The Music Man are $46 to $91, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. For information on savings programs such as student discounts, Southwest Nights, Pay-Your-Age tickets, Family Fun Packs, HOTTIX and Hero’s Discounts, visit Arena Stage. Tickets may be purchased online here,by phone at 202-488-3300 or in person at the Sales Office at 1101 6th St. SW. Additonally, for the hearing impaired there will be open-captioned performances on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 31 at 8 p.m. For the seeing impaired, there will be an audio-described performance on Saturday June 2 at 2 p.m.