Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Music Man continues its run at THE BLACK BOX

The musical theater classic, The Music Man, continues its run at THE BLACK BOX in downtown Franklin this weekend. Franklin Performing Arts Company’s production of the Broadway charmer opened on March 13 and concludes with three additional performances on March 21 and 22. Saturday’s shows will be staged at 2 and 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2. With small-town spirit, con-man-makes-good plot, and toe-tapping score, the six-time Tony Award winner woos audiences of all ages.

“It’s my favorite show!” said Director Raye Lynn Mercer. “The humor is so honest. It’s charming and so well written.”

With book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, The Music Man showcases an all-American score that captivates with gorgeous ballads, rousing marches, nostalgic barbershop harmonies, and such cherished standards as “Ya Got Trouble,” “Seventy-six Trombones,” and “Till There Was You.”

“Those elements – the barbershop quartet, the marches – are real crowd pleasers,” noted Mercer.

The Music Man - at THE BLACK BOX Theater
The Music Man - at THE BLACK BOX Theater

The musical theater classic follows fast-talking salesman Harold Hill as he attempts to bamboozle the townspeople of River City, Iowa into buying instruments and uniforms for a marching band. But Hill’s scheme begins to unravel when he falls for Marian the librarian and must choose between the promise of romance and a quick getaway.

Under Mercer’s direction, FPAC’s production makes creative use of THE BLACK BOX’s open floor plan, with staging that mixes a traditional proscenium format with the intimacy and flexibility of the venue’s space. The aisles lead into the center of River City, bringing the audience into this iconic small town. The theater’s 360-degree catwalk provides a dramatic platform to feature the production’s professional orchestra, conducted by Boston’s Peter Cokkinias.

The Music Man spotlights the talents of 50 lead, featured and ensemble cast members, with Franklin’s Nick Paone and Hallie Wetzell in the starring roles of Harold Hill and Marian Paroo. A prolific FPAC performer and director, the versatile Paone most recently appeared as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Scrooge in Humbug!, Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker, and was creatively cast as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Nick is the founder and creative force behind FPAC’s annual summer Whatever Theater Festival. FPAC Vocal Director Hallie Wetzell is also Vocal Director at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts (FSPA), where she oversees the Pro Voice program, teaches private vocal instruction, and music directs all ensembles, including the international touring group, Electric Youth. A classically trained soprano with master’s degrees in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy from the New England Conservatory of Music, Hallie is a veteran FPAC performer as well.

The Music Man cast showcases well-known local talent, including Jamie Barrett, popular Franklin music teacher, singer-songwriter, and guitarist. Barrett is featured in the musical’s famed barbershop quartet, along with Ed Milham of Attleboro, Graham Hancock of Franklin and Brian Steiner of Millis.

From 10 area towns, cast members also include Madi Asgeirsson, Janene Asgeirsson Jason Barney, Lily Barney, Aidan Clark, Brooke Collins, Devin Curley, Christine DiMartino, Mia Fleischer, Aaron Frongillo, Brandon Hancock, Graham Hancock, Kelly Irwin, Ed Jones, Jocelyn Jones, Wendy Jones, Greg Leach, Sydney Leach, Shauna Martin, Tatiana McAlpine, Caroline Merten, Debra Packard, Shane Packard, Chuck Peters, Guy Rezendes, Hannah Rezendes, Kim Rezendes, Madison Rezendes, Katharine Waples, Michele Webster, Amanda Wylie, Melissa Wyner and Peter Wyner of Franklin; Colie Vancura of Medfield; Alan Mercer and Maddy Williams of Medway; Zoe Stewart of Mendon; Katie Gray of Milford; Bob Matson of Millis; Susauna Wickstrom of Plainville; Laine DiMartinis, Mairead Nee and Griffin Wilkins of Walpole; Kellie Stamp of Westport; and Jenna McDermott of Wrentham.

FPAC’s commitment to youth development in the arts is reflected by the casting of 30 children and teens in this production, working collaboratively with the musical’s adult professional and community performers. Founded in 1991, the nonprofit FPAC supports educational arts experiences, quality entertainment and outstanding performance opportunities, drawing performers and audiences from more than 100 communities throughout the region.

THE BLACK BOX, FPAC’s new home and performance venue, is located at 15 West Central Street. Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation is the Premier Sponsor for FPAC’s production of The Music Man. Tickets are $34. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call (508) 528-3370.

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