Though Meredith Willson's musical, The Music Man, is all about a high school marching band that never actually learns to play well, more than two dozen real-life, Rhode Island high school bands will get a chance to strut their stuff in Trinity Repertory Company's mounting of the show, Apr. 24-June 7. The show officially opens Apr. 29.
In Music Man, con-man Harold Hill arrives at a small town, he easily dupes the citizens into buying band uniforms but doesn't count on the resistance he receives from Marian, a sharp-minded librarian. Songs in the 1957 smash include "Till There Was You," "Seventy-Six Trombones" and "Gary, Indiana."
Portsmouth, Cranston and Scituate are among the high schools taking part in the production, underscoring the show's small-town milieu.
Said artistic director Oskar Eustis, who will stage the piece, "The Music Man is about art created without experts. From the Charleston to the Lindy Hop to break-dancing to hip-hop, from barbershop quartets to doo wop, from jazz to rock -- America's indigenous art forms have all sprung from the streets, from people without experts creating their own culture." Eustis worked with local high school bands and barbershop singing groups in developing the show.
Finishing the Trinity Rep season will be Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive. Awards keep accruing for this tragicomic story of a young girl's unhealthy relationship with her alcoholic uncle. (Before the Pulitzer, the most recent was Trinity Rep's own Pell Award for outstanding contribution to the arts by a Rhode Island resident.) The play just finished its run Off-Broadway at the Century Center Theatre in a Vineyard Theatre production. (May-June) *
For information on Trinity Rep shows call the Providence-based theatre at (401) 351-4242.
-- By David Lefkowitz