Last modified: Friday, June 3, 2011
Inaugural Indiana Festival Theatre launches summer season with Meredith Willson's 'The Music Man'
The Music Man, book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, directed by George Pinney with musical direction by Terry LaBolt.
WHEN: Special discounted preview Thursday, June 23, at 6 p.m. Opens Friday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances through July 9. For specific dates and times, visit theatre.indiana.edu.
WHERE: All performances take place at the Ruth N. Halls Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center at 275 N. Jordan Ave. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted during performances.
TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for any student and those 18 years of age and younger.
MORE: Special exhibit at the Lilly Library and Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center arranged by Charles Leinenweber, nephew of Catherine Craig Preston and Robert Preston.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- IU's Department of Theatre and Drama launches its inaugural season of the Indiana Festival Theatre Friday, June 24, with Meredith Willson's The Music Man. One of the most beloved musicals of all time, The Music Man won six Tony Awards in 1958, beating productions such as West Side Story for Best Musical.
The Indiana Festival Theatre's production captures that American spirit on the stage of the Ruth N. Halls Theatre under the direction of George Pinney and musical director Terry LaBolt.
The Music Man tells the story of Professor Harold Hill, a fast-talking salesman of musical instruments who convinces the good folks of River City, Iowa, that they need a band. His plans to skip town with their money come to a crashing halt when he falls head-over-heels in love with Marian, the town's librarian. The Music Man is "as American as apple pie and a Fourth of July oration. It's a marvelous show, rooted in wholesome and comic tradition," wrote the New York Times.
After eight major stars turned down the role of "Professor" Harold Hill (including Ray Bolger, Danny Kaye and Gene Kelly), non-singing, non-dancing movie actor Robert Preston was offered the role and turned in a Tony Award-winning performance that he would later revive in the movie.
Bloomington native and alumnus of Bloomington High School South Taylor Crousore, now an IU junior, hopes the role of Harold Hill will create the same magic for him. Crousore has appeared in IU Theatre productions Blood Brothers, Take Me Out and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and is co-host of "The Friday Zone" on WTIU.
"Harold Hill is a tour de force demanding an accomplished actor with imagination and superb stage presence, and Taylor Crousore is just such an actor," Pinney said. "Taylor has played many diverse roles at IU, and I have the utmost confidence that he will turn out an exceptional rendition of Harold Hill. As the saying goes, 'he is worth the price of admission.'"
Joining Crousore is a cast that includes several members of the Bloomington community, including IU faculty members, students from elementary school through high school and well-established members of the Bloomington arts scene, such as Philip Christiansen in the role of Olin Britt. An IU alumnus with a Master of Music in Voice from the Jacobs School of Music, he has appeared in numerous roles at the Musical Arts Center and in Cardinal Stage's recent production of A Christmas Carol.
The part of Mrs. Paroo is played by Heather Hertling Narducci, an IU alumna with a Bachelor of Music in Voice who is also a former Miss New Jersey and founder of the Harmonia Voice Studio.
"She is simply wonderful as Mrs. Paroo," Pinney said, adding that Hertling Narducci has "an outstanding voice studio."
Julia Mosby plays Marian Paroo, IU associate professor of voice and speech Nancy Lipschultz plays Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn and IU professor of English Raymond Hedin plays Mayor Shinn. "By involving area actors, the Indiana Festival Theatre is embracing the Bloomington community in live theater," Pinney said. "Six degrees of separation, the community is that much closer to the festival."
The visual world of The Music Man comes from head of scenic design and Indiana Festival Theatre associate producer Fred Duer, costume designer Robbie Stanton (who has a costume studio already filled with hundreds of costumes for the musical) lighting designer Chris Wood and sound designer Andrew Hopson, assistant professor of sound design.
Anchoring the production to the production's history is a Lilly Library exhibit on the history of Robert Preston in the role of Harold Hill, coordinated by Catherine Craig Preston's nephew Charles Leinenweber. The exhibit will take shape in both the Lilly Library and in the theater art gallery of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center.
The Music Man plays June 23 through July 9 in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre on the corner of Seventh Street and Jordan Avenue on the campus of Indiana University. For tickets and more information about the show, including the rest of the 2011 Indiana Festival Theatre season of professional summer theater and the 2011-2012 IU Theatre season, visit theatre.indiana.edu.