Cast and Crew Announcement for Meredith Wilson's The Music Man

Mar 3, 2014

Bradford Little Theatre has announced the cast of its upcoming musical “Meredith Willson’s The Music Man.” With over fifty people in the cast, this classic musical directed by Nicole Bednez and Kathleen O’Mara will be performed at Bradford Area High School Auditorium on Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29 at 7:30pm and on Sunday, March 30 at 2pm. The Music Man is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

BLT newcomers Barry Fitzgerald of Allegany, NY and Beckie Confer of Bradford, both previously seen in Kiwanis Kapers will play fast-talking Professor Harold Hill and the untrusting librarian Marian Paroo. Fitzgerald has performed in several musicals including Olean Community Theatre’s “Les Misérables.” This will be Confer’s acting debut. She decided to audition for the show in order to do something she’s “always wanted to do. “

As Hill arrives in River City, Iowa in 1912, his plan is to convince the “Iowa stubborn” residents to purchase musical instruments and uniforms in order to create a boy’s marching band. He intends to skip town with the money as soon as the shipment arrives. The River City townspeople find themselves split as to how they feel about Hill, some see him as a welcome addition to the town and others do not trust his intentions. Ann Dunkerton of Smethport who was in BLT’s “Charlotte’s Web” and “Diary of Anne Frank” will play Marian’s Irish mother, Mrs. Paroo. Mrs. Paroo encourages Marian to be open to the possibility of love with Professor Hill. New to the stage is 7-year-old Ward Kennedy of Bradford. As Marian’s young brother, Winthrop Paroo speaks with a lisp and overcomes his shyness as his friendship with Professor Hill develops. According to Kennedy, “It’s hard to learn to lisp because I’m not supposed to say anything with an “s” and sometimes I have to put my tongue against my teeth to get the right sounds. It’s fun once you get used to it. My favorite word is scrumptious!” Playing Winthrop’s friend Amaryllis, Gretchen Henneman has had stage experience performing in the past with Kiwanis Kapers, Missoula Children’s Theater and several choirs.

Mayor Shinn, portrayed by Chris Lathrop is no stranger to BLT. He was a juror in “12 Angry Men,” class nerd in “Stay As Dead As You Are” and the vacuum cleaner salesman in “The Marriage Counselor.” Penny Amacher will play Shinn’s outspoken wife, Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn and has been a life-long singer. She performed in both “High School Musical” and “Seussical.” Cailie Shanks, also from Bradford and most recently seen in BLT’s “East of the Sun” and “Charlotte’s Web” will play Shinn’s teenage daughter Zaneeta who is seeing Tommy Djilas, a boy from the wrong side of town. Djilas will be performed by Salamanca teenager Nathan Morris. Seven-year-old Kali O’Neil will play Gracie Shinn. She has performed for Kiwanis Kapers since she was four and this past year played an orphan in “Annie.” “The kids that are in the cast have been fantastic to work with. Ward and Kali, even with being so young, have really stepped it up to learn their parts,” commented director Bednez.

Harold Hill’s old friend, Marcellus Washburn will be played by James Segee who has performed with BLT, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s student plays, their improv team and in “Guys and Dolls” in Salamanca. Other Pitt-Bradford students include dancer Mary Mundy and Adam Yurchisin as Constable Locke. The famous Barbershop Quartet for “The Music Man” will be led by Pitt-Bradford professor David Merwine as Ewart Dunlop, Dave Geitner as Oliver Hix, Hannah Leposa as Jacey Squires and Tom Dunkerton from Smethport as Olin Britt. The uppity Pick-a-Little Ladies will be played by Bonnie Leposa, BLT vice-president Cindy Graham, Chelsea Place as Alma Hix, Connie Shanks as Maud Dunlop, assistant director Barb Pedersen as Mrs. Squires and Claudia Kurjakovic as Ethel Toffelmeir.

The cast is rounded out with several characters including anvil salesman Charlie Cowell, played by Zach Ruth, train conductor and assistant producer Charlie McGuire and River City Townspeople Vince Iaderosa, Codi Stroup, Bethany Bednez, Katherine Yaworsky, Joy Godding, Michelle Page, Michelle Cucuzza, Grace Dalton, Bella Mager, Holly Kilpatrick, Katie Hodge, Kaitlyn Hallock, Michayla Vigliotti, Cheyann Dow and Lily Gunter. The River City Kids are comprised of Catherine Fussell, Lacey Rodgers, Anna Nannen, Caleigh Woloscwicz, Kailee Peterson, Faith Terbush, Lucas Caruso, Allison Pulver, Allyson Luke, MaKenzee Miller and Kate Gunter. “The cast members have been very dedicated to the show. There have been many cold nights when they have shown up early for rehearsals. I am impressed by the chorus, they have had a well-balanced sound since the very beginning of rehearsals” adds Bednez.

Members of the crew include producer Kristin Asinger, costumers Jean Crowley, Marcia McAndrew and Kara Kennedy, set designers and builders Barb Pedersen, Roy Pedersen, Dan Ross, Jesse Persons and Jennifer Pulver. The publicity team includes Karen Pecht and BLT board member Chelsea Place. The stage manager is BLT board member JessAnn Persons and props are by BLT president Nanci K. Garris.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. 10 or more tickets purchased at one time will be given the group rate of $7 for adults and $6 for seniors/students. Tickets are available for advance purchase at several outlets including Graham Florist, Ott & McHenry and Tina’s Hallmark in Bradford, Costa’s Supermarket in Eldred, Lily In The Valley in Kane, Hubber Cafe in Smethport, Everyday Happy ‘nings in Port Allegheny, Hauber’s Jewelry and Always in Bloom in Coudersport, Uptown Florist in Olean, NY and Studio 4 East in Allegheny, NY. Tickets will also be available at the door, from cast and crew; online at www.bradfordlittletheatre.org or by email at tickets@bradfordlittletheatre.org.

Now celebrating its 17th season, BLT is a non-profit organization that promotes, encourages, and produces community-based theatre in the Bradford area. By making theatre available and accessible to the public, BLT provides opportunities for community participation, appreciation and education, thus enriching the community and increasing interest in the arts. An award-winning theatre company, BLT is a member of the American Association of Community Theatres and a founding member of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Theatres.