GALLIPOLIS — The Ariel Opera House and Ariel Players will be putting on Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” June 16 and 17, along with a return from Ohio comedian and Mayor of Hillsboro Drew Hastings July 14.
All shows are anticipated to begin at 7 p.m. in the Ariel Opera House on Second Avenue in Gallipolis.
According to Ariel Executive Director Lora Snow, the performing arts centre often attempts to bring local ties to its productions. With previous productions centered around the history of O.O. McIntyre and performances of music tied to Gallipolis and written by Willson, the centre and players felt it fitting to put on a rendition of “The Music Man.”
“We like to do family productions,” said Snow. “Mr. Hasting’s show may be for more mature audiences, and we like to make sure there is something here at the Ariel for everyone.”
To back her statement, Snow said many of the cast members of the musical were generational relatives.
Siblings Barb White, Mike Edelman, and Theresa Northup will play parts on piano, a barbershop quartet, and the part of Ethel. Three generation family Judy Linder, grandmother, Leslie Shoecraft, daughter, and Caroline Shoecraft, granddaughter, will play the respective parts of Mrs. Paroo, Marian Paroo and Amaryllis. Mother and daughter duo Gina Braxton and Allie Braxton will play Maud and Rosie Shinn. Hoover family members Aaron Hoover, Erica Hoover, Elizabeth Hoover, Hannah Hoover and Jase Hoover will play Prof. Harold Hill, Alma, Zaneeta Shinn, chorus and Winthrop Paroo.
Snow helps serve as a director of the centre with husband Tim Snow playing the Mayor Shinn.
From information provided by Snow, “The Music Man” is “a classic story” of small town Midwestern life. Conman Harold Hill, posing as a boys band organizer, comes to River City, Iowa. Harold is transformed by the town librarian and the townspeople come to realize the excitement that music can bring to them. Willson’s musical is “full of hummable tunes” such as “Goodnight Ladies, 76 Trombones, Goodnight My Someone” and “Til There Was You” in this 1912 homage to small town America.
Comedian Hastings makes his third return to the Ariel. According to Hastings’ website, he has served as a comedian and storyteller for over 25 years. He lived in Hollywood for 13 years and randomly decided to try a hand in rural life at the age of 50. He first became mayor of Hillsboro in 2012. Hastings performed in the Ariel in February 2016.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.