Berkeley Playhouse to Present THE MUSIC MAN, 2/13-3/23

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Berkeley Playhouse to Present THE MUSIC MAN, 2/13-3/23

Berkeley Playhouse continues its sixth season with the Tony Award-winning classic, Meredith Willson's THE MUSIC MAN. Directed by Marissa Wolf (Crowded Fire Theater, Magic Theatre, Cutting Ball Theater), Music Direction by Kevin Roland (Berkeley Playhouse, Signature Theater) and choreography by Matthew McCoy.

THE MUSIC MAN runs from February 13 to March 23 at the Julia Morgan Theater. Tickets ($17-$60) are now on-sale at www.berkeleyplayhouse.org or by phone at (510) 845-8542 x351.

Oh, there's trouble my friends, right here in River City and Harold Hill has the antidote! Full of heart, wit, and beautiful music THE MUSIC MAN opens with the arrival of Hill in River City, Iowa on the 4th of July, 1912. Claiming he can keep small-town ideals alive with an all-boys marching band, Hill charms the townspeople into purchasing instruments and band uniforms. However, Marian the Librarian sees through his schemes, at least until she falls in love with the irrepressible con artist. Overflowing with a parade of classic songs including "Goodnight, My Someone," "Gary, Indiana," "Till There Was You," and "Seventy-Six Trombones," THE MUSIC MAN is a Broadway classic no family should miss!

Marissa Wolf, Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theatre, helms THE MUSIC MAN in her musical theatre-directing debut. Says Wolf, "the heart of THE MUSIC MAN lies in the idea that music is transformative. Without music (and the arts!), the little town of River City, Iowa is drab, hollow, and stiff. It is the music itself, the belief in the power of music, which brings vibrancy and warmth to the town. Suddenly an embittered school board finds its harmony, and the banned books in the library are read with zeal. This story of redemption and vitality through music resonates deeply today as we fight to keep arts funding in public schools."

The cutbacks to music and arts funding for public schools is a concern for Berkeley Playhouse, who has partnered with 51Oakland for the run of THE MUSIC MAN.

51Oakland is dedicated to ensuring that ALL Oakland public school students have equal access to art and music education, by providing instruments, art supplies, and working with teaching artists to volunteer their time to Oakland schools.

"We are extremely excited to partner with Berkeley Playhouse, an organization that produces high-quality performances involving youth in the Bay Area, thereby creating a stronger community and nurturing the amazing youth talent the Bay Area has to offer," says 51Oakland Co-founder Jason Hoffman. Berkeley Playhouse will give any patron who brings a donation of a used musical instrument or new art supplies a 10% discount off tickets to THE MUSIC MAN. At the end of the shows run, all donations will be given to 51Oakland.

THE MUSIC MAN will feature Aidan Park (international tour of Miss Saigon (Thuy), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) at the SF Shakespeare Festival, First Person Shooter at SF Playhouse, After The Quake at Berkeley Rep, and NBC's Trauma) as Harold Hill and Lexie Papedo (Tales of the City (Swing) at American Conservatory Theater, Crazy, Just Like Me (Lauren) at The York Theater, The Salt Plays (Penelope) at Shotgun Players) will portray Marian Paroo.

A double-cast ensemble of 25 youth and teens from Berkeley Playhouse's educational programs will be performing, in addition to lead youth roles featuring alternating performances by Jonah Broscow and Rachel Chin as Winthrop Paroo, Bessie Zolno and MajesTy Smith as Zaneeta Shinn, and Eliza Grown and Malia Lee as Amaryllis.

THE MUSIC MAN also features an exceptional adult ensemble including: Aejay Mitchell (Ragged Wing Ensemble, Broadway By the Bay) as Mayor Shinn; Sara Mitchell (Aurora Theatre, Shotgun Players, SF Playhouse, Cutting Ball Theatre) as Eulalie Shinn; Michael Uy Kelly (Cutting Ball Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Impact Theatre) as Charlie Cowell; Sandi V. Weldon as Mrs. Paroo; RJ Castaneda as Ewart Dunlop; Tom Curtain as Olin Britt; Mary Gibboney as Maud Dunlop; Michelle Ianiro as Ethel Toffelmier; Bonnie Laffer as Alma Hix; Dedrick Weathersby as Oliver Hix; Benjamin Nguyen as Tommy Djilas; Billy Raphael as Marcellus Washburn; Sandi Rubay as Mrs. Squires; Aaron Vanderbeek as Jacey Squires. Also featuring Sean Libiran, Kelvyn Mitchell, Betsy Gloria Picart, and Ally Reardon.

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