Don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of 76 trombones or see that Wells Fargo wagon rolling into River City, Iowa — er, Ojai, Calif.
“Meredith Willson’s The Music Man” is here.
The Broadway musical will run June 24 through July 24 at the Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St. The curtain will rise at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
The production stars TV host and writer Larry Toffler as con man/salesman, Harold Hill, who promises to help fictional River City, Iowa, form a band to keep its impressionable youth out of pool halls — where they could be corrupted! He’s happy to sell the town’s citizens band instruments and uniforms and teach their kids how to play, using the “Think Method.” (Think again; he’s a con man!)
Playing the librarian Marian Paroo is Ojai’s Darrienne Lissette Caldwell (formerly Darrienne Gross).
Director Tracey Williams Sutton assembled a large cast of actors varying from age 7 to 85. Among them are popular Ojai actors Bill Spellman and Marisa Miculian as the pompous Mayor Shin and his wacky wife, Eulalie, and Laura Ring as the lovable Ma Paroo. Andrew Eiden makes his first appearance at the Ojai Art Center Theater as Harold’s sidekick, Marcellus.
Herb Hemming produced the show with musical direction by Emily Redman Hall and choreography by Holly Irwin.
“The Music Man” is known for songs such as “76 Trombones,” “The Wells Fargo Wagon,” “Marian the Librarian” and “Gary, Indiana.” (One of the musical’s romantic songs, “Till There Was You,” was recorded by The Beatles.)
The popular musical premiered on Broadway in 1957 and inspired the 1962 Warner Bros. movie starring Robert Preston as Harold Hill and Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo. The film version had a feeling of a play, right down to its use of theatrical lighting.
Another movie version, this one for television, came out in 2003 and starred Matthew Broderick as Harold and Kristin Chenoweth as Marian.
Most of all, “The Music Man” has lived on as a longtime favorite of community theater groups throughout the U.S.
Tickets for the Ojai Art Center Theater production cost $30 for general admission and $25 for students, seniors and Art Center members.
For ticket information and group sales, call 805-640-8797.