Ojai Arts Center Theater to Perform ‘The Music Man’

PHOTO BY STEPHEN ADAMS
Larry Toffler and Darrienne Lissette Caldwell portray Harold Hill and librarian Marian Paroo in Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” at the Ojai Art Center Theater.

Don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of 76 trombones or see that Wells Fargo wagon rolling through River City, Iowa – uh, Ojai, California.

Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” is here.

The Broadway musical will run from June 24 to July 24 at the Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St. The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

The production stars TV host and writer Larry Toffler as con man/salesman, Harold Hill, who promises to help the fictional River City, Iowa, form a band to keep his impressionable youth out of trouble. billiard rooms – where it could be corrupted! He is happy to sell musical instruments and uniforms to citizens of the city and teach their children to play, using the “Thinking Method”. (Think again; he’s a scammer!)

Darrienne Lissette Caldwell (formerly Darrienne Gross) of Ojai stars as librarian Marian Paroo.

Director Tracey Williams Sutton brought together a wide range of actors aged 7 to 85. Among them are popular Ojai actors Bill Spellman and Marisa Miculian as the pompous Mayor Shin and his goofy wife, Eulalie, and Laura Ring as the loveable Ma Paroo. Andrew Eiden makes his first appearance at the Ojai Art Center Theater as Harold’s sidekick, Marcellus.

Herb Hemming produced the show with musical direction by Emily Redman Hall and choreography by Holly Irwin.

“The Music Man” is known for such songs as “76 Trombones”, “The Wells Fargo Wagon”, “Marian the Librarian”, and “Gary, Indiana”. (One of the musical’s romantic songs, “Till There Was You,” was recorded by the Beatles.)

The popular musical premiered on Broadway in 1957 and inspired the Warner Bros. from 1962 with Robert Preston as Harold Hill and Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo. The film version had a stage play feel to it, right down to its use of theatrical lighting.

Another film version, this one for television, was released in 2003 and starred Matthew Broderick as Harold and Kristin Chenoweth as Marian.

Above all, “The Music Man” has lived on as a longtime favorite of community theater groups across the United States.

Tickets for the Ojai Art Center Theater production are $30 for general admission and $25 for students, seniors and Art Center members.

For more information on tickets and group sales, call 805-640-8797.

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