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Case Middle School staging ‘The Music Man Jr.’ for four shows beginning May 2

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WATERTOWN — Rebecca A. Rose knew that when she selected Case Middle School’s spring show, “The Music Man Jr.,” it would appeal to adults.

“It seems to be the all-time American favorite,” she said.

But she was pleasantly surprised the way her students have embraced the musical, which will be staged for four shows in the Watertown High School auditorium Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“I was afraid it was going to be a tough sell because it’s an older show,” said Mrs. Rose, general music and choral teacher at Case. “But the kids love it. They have embraced every aspect of it. It’s a joy to watch.”

The musical, with book, music and lyrics by Meredith Wilson, 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 he vows to organize, although he knows nothing about music. His plan to skip town with the cash is foiled when he falls for librarian Marian Paroo, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by the end of the story.

The musical, which opened on Broadway in 1957, has become an American institution thanks to its quirky characters and nostalgic score of rousing marches, barbershop quartets and sentimental ballads. Its songs include “Trouble,” “Seventy-Six Trombones” and “Goodnight, Ladies.”

“Every adult of a certain age that I talked to, they have a very special place in their hearts for this musical,” Mrs. Rose said. “And it’s picked at a very good time, especially after a very long winter. It’s a very uplifting musical.”

Mrs. Rose said her students are learning a lot about the era the music is set in, the early 1900s, from slang to fashion.

“We’ve put a lot of work in visually so the kids look like they are from the era,” she said.

Mrs. Rose said she learned several pointers last summer during her annual trip to New York City to attend the Broadway Teachers Workshop.

“We had a whole enrichment day on costumes,” she said.

This is the second year in a row that Mrs. Rose has produced two shows in the school year for Case students.

“We found that when we did (just) one show, the kids missed it too much,” she said.

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The main cast of “The Music Man Jr.” at Case Middle School:

Jacob Medley is Harold Hill; Emma Thompkins is Marion Paroo: Morgan Ortega is Mrs. Paroo, Josh Caldwell is Winthrop Paroo, Jaeden Mayzel is Marcellus Washburn, Joel Fox and Connor McDowell are Mayor George Shinn, Elissa Prieto and Eliana Schultz are Mrs. Shinn, Ally Kilburn and Emily Richardson are Zaneeta Shinn, Serenity Barksdale and Sarah Roux are Gracie Shinn, Brannin Jackson is Charlie Cowell and Katarina Carman and Luise Shay are Amaryllis.

In addition to Mrs. Rose, the staff of “The Music Man Jr.” at Case:

Stephen Hirst, vocal coach; Tina Petrillose, costumes; Timothy Castilleja, lights; Phillip Towne, sound; Joe Wargo, Doug Mayzel and Rob Snell, set construction; Kari Mayzel, “Pinky” Jennings, Kristy Perez, Barb Parks, Ann Snell and Jenny Medley, art design; Rachel Sherman, Noah Mayzel, Kenzie Simmons, Jack Sears, and Michael Briggs are stage managers; Meighan Mustizer, set dressing, and Connor McDowell, Maddy McDowell, Sarah Roux, Jahna Mott, Katarina Carman and Ally Kilburn are choreographers.

The details
WHAT: Case Middle School presents “The Music Man Jr.”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Watertown High School auditorium, 1335 Washington St.
COST: Tickets are $6 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults
Tickets are available in the Case Middle School office, Pine Cleaners, 237 Franklin St., in the WHS lobby from 4 to 6 p.m. today through Saturday, and at the door.
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