The con man with the heart of gold is back in a new production of “The Music Man” at Young Stars Theatre. The title role of Harold Hill is played YST co-founder Jack J. Bennett, and he is accompanied by Liz Kelly Barone (seen as the Beggar Woman in 2020’s “Sweeney Todd”) as Marian. “This is definitely a bucket-list role for me,” beams Jack. “I first saw this show as a kid at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, and it’s been one of my favorites since then!”
YST unknowingly got lucky to even get to do the show at this time. “We found out after we had applied for the rights that Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster were doing a Broadway production, which usually means the rights are unavailable,” says Jack, “but it turned out they close the weekend before we open, so we got it!”
Set in the fictional 1912 town of River City, “The Music Man” is the story of fast-talking con-man Harold Hill who decides on a whim to take on the town of stubborn Iowans to see if he can run his game of selling band instruments, uniforms, and instruction books with the promise of forming a boy’s band. The only problem is, he “don’t know one note from another!” Marian Paroo, the buttoned-up local music teacher sees right through him, but most of the locals are at first too enamored of the man and the idea to listen.
Gloria Bennett, Jack’s wife, is producing and directing the production. Many YST regulars, both youth and adult, round out the main roles, but there are several brand-new faces to the YST stage as well. “The turnout for this show was great! It seems that both audiences and actors are ready to return to the theatre.”
YST once again features two youth casts, where the youth actors are in all the casts, but play different roles in different shows. The adult actors play the same roles in all shows. “I’m very excited to get to put this show out there! The cast has been working hard, and I think it’s going to be a treat for the audiences. I’m especially excited about the quartet! I really feel like we’re back.”
Rights restrictions make this production unavailable for streaming, so all tickets are in-person. Tickets are on their website (www.YoungStarsTheatre.org) while available. As of this writing, opening night is already sold-out.