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Published: Thursday, 1/27/2011

Much-loved musicals coming to Toledo area

A pair of Broadway shows are making their way to the area this week for limited runs.

A national tour of The Music Man stops at the Valentine Theatre for two performances Sunday.

Meredith Willson wrote the book, music, and lyrics for the romantic comedy, which is set in the early 20th century in the Midwest. It's the tale of "Professor" Harold Hill, a traveling salesman/con artist who specializes in selling musical instruments to the residents of small towns, along with the promise of lessons and the organization of a boys' band to keep the town's youth away from less-savory pursuits. But somehow Hill always disappears with the money before he makes good on those promises.

Hill is a master at what he does, until he arrives in River City, Iowa, and comes up against Marion Paroo, the town's very pretty, very skeptical librarian. She plans to prove that Hill's a fraud until she realizes he's bringing new life to the town -- and to her shy, stammering little brother, Winthrop -- and that she's falling in love with him.

The Music Man opened on Broadway in 1957 and ran for 1,375 performances, winning five Tony Awards, including best musical. A revival opened in 2000, ran for nearly 700 performances, and was nominated for eight Tonys. Popular songs in the show include "Seventy-Six Trombones," "Marion the Librarian," "Gary, Indiana," and "Till There was You."

For the production at the Valentine, John Adkison plays Harold Hill, Megan Buzzard is Marion Paroo, and Sebastian Hagelstein is Winthrop Paroo.

Pamela Lehan-Siegel plays Marion and Winthrop's mother; Doug Kester is the henpecked Mayor Shinn; Britte Steele plays the mayor's wife, who believes she is the social and moral authority of River City, and Todd Tucker is Marcellus Washburn, Hill's former partner in crime.

The show is aimed at all ages.

"The Music Man" is scheduled at 3 p.m. (extremely limited seating remains) and 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Valentine Theatre, 400 North Superior St. Tickets are $39, $49, and $59. Information: 419-242-2787 or valentinetheatre.com.

For the second year, the Croswell Opera House will present its All-Area High School Musical when Footloose takes the stage.

More than 30 students from the Adrian and Toledo areas will fill primary and ensemble roles for the musical, based on the 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon and later translated to the Broadway stage, where it ran for more than 700 performances.

Featuring songs such as "Footloose," "Holding Out for a Hero," "Almost Paradise," and "Let's Hear It For the Boy," the show revolves around Ren McCormack, a teenager who moves with his mother from Chicago to a small farming town. Used to a lively club scene in the Windy City, Ren is shocked to learn that dancing has been banned in his new town, thanks to a local preacher.

But with the help of the preacher's rebellious daughter and some new friends, Ren confronts the town fathers, sparking a process of change.

Footloose is directed and choreographed by Croswell veterans Erin and Michael Yuen, under the musical direction of Michael Williams. Scenic design is by Tom Schrock, and costumes by Emily Gifford.

Principal cast members include Dan Evans as Ren, Matt Burtless-Creps as the Rev. Shaw Moore, Jordyn Norkey as Ariel Moore, Becca Nowak as Rusty, Maggie Williams as Wendy Jo, Elizabeth Romey as Urleen, Derek Kastner as Willard Hewitt, Cody Anderson as Garvin, and Kegan Jenkins as Bickle.

The Croswell Opera House, 129 East Maumee St., Adrian, presents "Footloose" at 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for those age 12 and younger. Information: 517-264-7469 or croswell.org.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.

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