Drayton Festival Theatre Celebrates 25th Anniversary with THE MUSIC MAN

Strike up the band and march over to Drayton for the most anticipated show of the summer! The Drayton Festival Theatre ends its 25th Anniversary Season on a high note with a grand-scale production of Meredith Willson's The Music Man, which entertains audiences of all ages through August 29th.

"This is the perfect show to celebrate our 25th Anniversary," says Artistic Director Alex Mustakas. "It's extremely funny, warm, and poignant - it'll leave you singing your way out of the theatre."

The Music Man follows Professor Harold Hill, a charismatic con man who arrives in River City, Iowa and proceeds to turn it upside down. Hill's particular con involves tricking the townsfolk into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band, despite the fact he doesn't know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for the town's librarian and piano teacher, Marian Paroo.

Featuring energetic dance numbers and cherished classics like "Ya Got Trouble," "Seventy-Six Trombones" and "Till There Was You," The Music Man is sure to leave audiences cheering for more.

Director and Choreographer Michael Lichtefeld brings the small town of River City, Iowa to life utilizing the beautiful music and impressive sets to his advantage to tell this treasured story. Lichtefeld's deft direction ensures that the intimate scenes are poignant and heartfelt, and the exuberant choreography creates excitement and energy in the big dance numbers. In addition to directing numerous Stratford Festival productions, Lichtefeld has choreographed major musicals on Broadway, and his depth of experience is evident in the quality of this production.

Music Director Steve Thomas leads a first-rate seven-piece band through romantic ballads, comedic songs, and show-stopping numbers that have everyone humming as they leave the theatre. The gorgeous set designed by Douglas Paraschuk transitions effortlessly from library to town square, accentuated by the work of Lighting Designer Kevin Fraser. Rachel Berchtold has done an outstanding job of designing costumes that showcase the style of turn-of-the-century America.

The Music Man features top-notch theatrical talent. David Rogers delivers a magnetic performance as the smooth-talking Professor Harold Hill, a role he was born to play. As one of Canada's top leading men, Rogers has star power in spades. His charisma is effortless and he holds the audience in the palm of his hand from start to finish. His gorgeous voice shows remarkable range and versatility in songs such as "Ya Got Trouble," "Seventy-Six Trombones," and "Marian the Librarian."

Fresh from her starring role as Roxie Hart in Chicago, leading lady Jayme Armstrong shows her softer side as the sensible and sweet Marian Paroo, the town's prim librarian. Her lovely soprano voice shines in memorable songs like "Goodnight, My Someone" and "My White Knight." Rogers and Armstrong, who worked together as Jean Valjean and Fantine in LES MISERABLES, have palpable chemistry and their terrific voices blend beautifully in the iconic song "Till There Was You."

Valerie Boyle is witty and warm as Marian's feisty Irish mother Mrs. Paroo. Eleven-year-old Declan Cooper steals every scene he's in as Marian's adorable little brother, Winthrop, earning applause for his cute and comedic rendition of the song "Gary, Indiana."

Audience favourite Wade Lynch is funny and charming as Marcellus Washburn, a plucky reformed con man who becomes Harold's best friend and ally. Rogers and Lynch have a spirited rapport, playing off each other with ease - they seem to be having a ball together on stage and the energy is infectious.

Drayton Entertainment veteran Keith Savage is hilarious as Mayor Shinn, bringing his signature comedic charm and goofy facial expressions to the ridiculous role. Karen K. Edissi is equally hilarious as his silly and self-important wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, who is determined to be in the spotlight. Danielle Benton is bubbly and bright as the Mayor's petulant teenage daughter, Zaneeta, who is in love with the town troublemaker Tommy Djilas, played with zeal by Graeme Goodhall.

Fan favourites The Mantini Sisters put their stellar voices to good use as the ladies of River City, particularly in the song "Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little" - Barbara Mantini as Maud Dunlop, Sandra Mantini as Mrs. Squires and Ann Mantini as Alma Hix - along with Christina Gordon as the friendly and sincere piano player, Ethel Toffelmier.

Brian Belleth, Derrick Miller, Christopher Wilson and Arthur Wright sing in perfect harmony as the Quartet (Jacey Squires, Ewart Dunlop, Olin Britt and Oliver Hix respectively). Their excellent harmony is a standout throughout the show as they croon memorable numbers like "Lida Rose" and "Goodnight, Ladies."

The characters of Charlie Cowell, a travelling salesman out to get Professor Hill, and Constable Locke, River City's stern and dedicated lead police officer, are both superbly portrayed by theatre veteran Dean Hollin.

Eleven-year-old Anna Bartlam is endearing and precocious as Amaryllis, one of Marian's piano students. Bartlam shows experience beyond her years and proves that she belongs on stage with some of Canada's best talent.

Rachel Clark, Jennifer Mote, Gregory Pember, Stephen Roberts, Ainsley Roy and Adam Sergison round out the stellar ensemble along with 12 local children, who have been given the unique opportunity to perform on the Drayton Festival Theatre stage in this production. Local youngsters Jordan Goodridge, Lauren Hastings, Lilly Bartlam, Belle Lemieux-Chan, Logan Brideau, Connor Johannes, Marina Levair, Abigail Smythe, Callum Thompson, Carlee MacKenzie, Neilla Keller, and Charlotte Arndt make up the Children's Chorus.

"The Music Man is truly is family entertainment at its best," says Mustakas. "I cannot think of a better show to cap off the Drayton Festival Theatre's 25th Anniversary Season."

The Music Man is proudly sponsored by Burnside. Media Sponsors are CHYM 96.7 FM, 570 News and The Waterloo Region Record. The Design Sponsor is Cherrey Bus Lines Inc. The 2015 Season Media Sponsor is CTV.

Don't miss your chance to grab a trombone and strike up the band - The Music Man is only on stage from now through August 29th and theatregoers are encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Tickets are $42 for adults and $25 for youth under 20 years of age. Tickets for groups of 20 or more are $34. HST is applicable to all ticket prices. Tickets may be purchased online at www.draytonfestivaltheatre.com, in person at the theatre Box Office, or by calling
(519) 638-5555 or toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).



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