THE MUSIC MAN comes to the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre

Published 8:41 am Thursday, August 24, 2023

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By Pam Johnson
The Jonesborough Repertory Theatre is thrilled to bring THE MUSIC MAN to their stage, September 1-17. The Meredith Willson musical, made popular by the 1962 movie starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, features such memorable songs as “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “The Wells Fargo Wagon,” “Ya Got Trouble,” and “Pick-A-Little,Talk-A-Little/Goodnight Ladies.”

Set in 1902, the story follows con-artist Harold Hill (Joe Gumina) who plans to swindle money from the people of River City, Iowa, by raising funds to start a band and then fleeing town with the money. Along the way, he meets the town’s librarian Marian Paroo (Brittany Whitson), who makes him reconsider his devious ways.

“This show is perfect for our small town of Jonesborough,” said Brittany Whitson. “The charming setting and the dynamics of the townsfolk will probably feel very familiar if you’ve ever lived in a small town. While we do reference some things of the past, you’ll find a lot about small-town America hasn’t changed over the years.”

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Kari Tuthill (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, the mayor’s wife) agreed. “The messages in this show are universal, and although they are presented at a very specific time in history, they are easily relatable to a modern audience. The music man (Harold Hill) is in need of something to fulfill his life, but it’s not what he thinks he’s searching for. The librarian (Marian) knows exactly what she wants but lets fear hold her back. And then you have this town of what seem like oddballs, but they are really us: a community.”

The music also remains familiar to contemporary audiences. “Meredith Willson’s music has truly stood the test of time,” said Becky Edmisten (Alma Hix). “Even if a person doesn’t think they’ll know any of the songs, they’ll be amazed by how many true ‘musical theatre classics’ are in this show!”

THE MUSIC MAN is an all-around good time for those both on and off stage. And its bottom-line message, according to director Janette Gaines, is “love conquers all.”

“In a world that is saturated with social media, pop culture, news, and more,” emphasized Ryan Gray (Olin Britt), “I believe that there is a little piece of all of us that still craves a chance to revisit a time where musical theatre was simply entertaining and pure, with lighthearted content and no agenda. THE MUSIC MAN was a hit upon its original Broadway release, and the film further catapulted its legacy. Our chance to revive this production – on a classic American stage in a classic American town – allows us to help continue its enduring reputation and introduce it to people who may not know anything about it.”

JRT’s THE MUSIC MAN is directed by Janette Gaines, music directed by Charlotte Anderson, choreographed by Andee Klusman, and stage managed by Mary Wallen. Sponsors for this production are Dan and Donna Cobb, Denny Dentistry, Bob Fuller, Sonia King, and Dan and Pamela Pope.

Rounding out the cast are Olivia Asbury, Carlos Candelas Torres, Brenden Christie, Alyssa Curtis, Amelia Davis, Julie Anne Dugger, Erin Egan, Duana Gourley, Sydney Gourley, Caleb Hale, Abram Helton, Jess Helton, Michael Hickie, Rebecca Honeycutt, Steve Humphrey, Lee Hunt, Joseph Hunter, Elizabeth Keller, Caleb Knisley, J J Lane, Charleston Langley, Bill Livesay, Daniel Matthews, Nora Jane Mitchell, Lee Mitchell-Harris, Karsyn Potter, LaLa Power, Elliott Price, Sarah Robinson, and Bonnie Straub.

Shows run Thursdays through Sundays, Sept 1–17, at the theatre located at 125.5 W. Main St., Jonesborough. Tickets are $18 general admission, $16 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 423-753-1010 or go online to