‘Music Man’ enchants Xavier stage

By: Lydia Reagan ~Features Editor~

Photo courtesy of Xavier Theatre Department | Sophomore Rachael Petranek (left) plays Marian and senior Eric Minion (left) plays Harold Hill in Xavier Theatre’s The Music Man, directed by Dee Anne Bryll and Ed Cohen and opening Oct. 20.

Xavier Theatre will present Meredith Willson’s The Music Man this weekend, Oct. 20-22. The show features the largest cast ever assembled on the Xavier Theatre stage.

The Music Man is set in River City, Iowa, in 1912, and follows the story of quick-witted traveling salesman and con man, Harold Hill. His scheme is to convince each town he visits to buy instruments, instruction books and band uniforms to create a boys band under his tutelage despite knowing nothing about music. Once he receives his money for the materials, he skips town and begins his con once again in a new city.

Having never been to Iowa, Harold jumps off the train and finds himself in River City, where his excitement and showmanship brings the small, sleepy town to life.

This show is directed by Dee Anne Bryll and Ed Cohen. Bryll has directed and choreographed many productions at Xavier, including Godspell, Spring Awakening and Rent.

Both Bryll and Cohen have a long list of credits that make them more than capable of leading 38 cast members, including children from University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department, through this show.

Sophomore Assistant Director Hannah Sgambellone has worked closely with Bryll and Cohen for the past few months in preparations for opening night.

“Working for Dee Anne and Ed is so different from my other AD experiences,” Sgambellone said. “To watch two directors work together so well really affirms the strength of their artistic vision on the production.”

She also addressed the production itself.

The Music Man is more or less a portrait of life in 1912, a valentine of heightened reality that follows the traveling con man Harold Hill and librarian Marian Paroo through a transformative landscape of love and music,” she said.

Sophomore Rachael Petranek, who plays leading lady Marian Paroo, discussed the progress of the show.

“The show’s going really well! It’s very vibrant. It’s funny but sincere. All the characters have their own story, and I think that once we get an audience in there, the show’s really gonna spark a fire,” Petranek said.

The show’s catchy songs and feel-good vibe offer a great event for Xavier Family Weekend, as this production is inclusive of people of all ages.

You can see The Music Man at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 20-22, or you can attend the Saturday matinee show at 2 p.m. at the Gallagher Student Theatre.