“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade” in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man when it debuted on Broadway in 1957. A similar “big parade” will take the stage Thursday, Friday and Saturday when the Clinton High School Fine Arts Department and Friends of CHS Drama present their annual spring musical in the Clinton High School Auditorium.
The local production of The Music Man features more than 40 performers, including both students and adults from the community and school faculty, as well as a stage crew of 15. Curtain time is 7 nightly, but the doors will open at 6. General admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and $1 for children 5 and younger. Advance tickets may be purchased at Clinton banks.
Linda Sullins, speech, drama and journalism instructor at the high school, once again directs the spring musical. She will retire this year after 22 years of teaching, the past nine years at Clinton High School. She plans to do mission work through her church, Choctaw Church of Christ, and travel.
“I feel truly blessed to have worked with some of the finest students and adults from this community,” she writes in the printed program for the musical. “I hope to be involved to some extent with future productions, and I pray that the tradition of quality musicals and plays will continue in this impressive auditorium. Thanks for the memories.”
Sullins appeared as Maria in The Sound of Music eight years ago when the Clinton High School Auditorium first opened. Sallie Parish directed that production; she also retired that year after 34 years as a teacher. Parish continues as a consultant and is one of the costume coordinators for The Music Man.
Sullins stepped into the role of director after Parish retired.
Also retiring from the musical this year is Carol Gray Hutto, music director. After teaching choir and music for 20 years, Hutto was forced into retirement in 2009 following an
automobile accident. Since then, she has worked on the musicals on a volunteer basis.
“It has been such a pleasure to work on such worthwhile endeavors, and I certainly trust the work will continue following our retirements from these honorable positions,” Hutto said. “I was honored to direct the Madrigal Feastes during the ’90s under the direction of Sallie Parish, an ongoing project that continued annually until the new auditorium was built.
“Mrs. Parish’s last position as director of The Sound of Music prior to her retirement ushered in this new era in Clinton School productions, and it has been a wonderful experience to share it all, since we three are such good friends. Mrs. Parish has stayed on board through the years, helping with costuming and all things ‘drama.’
“Rounding out this foursome is Lorna Nulph, vision and deaf-education specialist, who sang with great beauty in all the Madrigal Feastes, who served as Mother Superior in The Sound of Music and who was Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. She was the artist who painted the amazing Aspen forest that served as backdrop for Fiddler, who has been there every step of the way as a right-hand ‘man’ to help Mrs. Sullins through the years.”
The Music Man is a musical with book, music and lyrics by Willson and is based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot revolves around the con man “Professor” Harold Hill, who comes to River City, Iowa, to organize a boys marching band. In doing so, he sells band instruments and uniforms to the naive townspeople and plans to skip town with the cash. Marian Paroo, the prim librarian and piano teacher, is onto his game, but when he helps her younger brother overcome his fear of social interactions due to his lisp, she begins to fall in love with him. Harold falls for Marian as well, but he risks being caught in his con if he continues to woo her.
The cast includes the following: Caleb Pryor, a junior at Clinton High School, as “Professor” Harold Hill; senior Catie Ward as Marian Paroo; junior Jonathan Hunter as Charlie Cowell; eighth-grader Josh Pryor as Marcellus Washburn; senior Kennadee Bright as Zaneeta Shinn; junior Greyson Bryant as Tommy Djilas; senior Lanie Walsh as Maud Dunlop; senior Tiffany Booth as Ethel Toffelmier; junior Glorya Belonie as Alma Hix; ninth-grader Abby Robbins as Gracie Shinn; eighth-grader Juliana Parish as Amaryllis; Lorna Nulph as Marian’s mother, Mrs. Paroo; fourth-grader Chase Blanton as Marian’s brother, Winthrop Paroo; Kirk Pryor as Mayor Shinn; Debbie Pryor as Eulalie M. Shinn; Tonia Robbins as Mrs. Squires; Melvin Browning as Constable Locke; and Shawn Walsh as the conductor.
Members of the barbershop quartet include Hal Ward as Ewart Dunlop, Carl Trahan-True as Oliver Hix, Becky Bradley as Jacey Squires and Dell Holt as Olin Britt.
The Rock Island Salesmen include David Cook, Roy Daniel, Jonathan Turner, Adam Eppes, 12th-grader Garrett Robbins and Caleb Pryor.
Appearing as the “Shipoopi” dancers are 11th-grader Jessica Lyons; 12th-graders Mary Kay and Madi Hoyle; 10th-grader Kayla Meeler; eighth-graders Alyssa McKnight and Kylie Blanton; ninth-graders Katie McHale and Libby Walsh; and Kennadee Bright, Abby Robbins and Juliana Parish, who are already mentioned in the cast list.
Playing the River City Kids are seventh-graders Johnny Evans and Alex Sadlowski; fourth-graders Garison Robbins, Joseph Strawn, Christian Sadlowski and Ian Thompson; and preschoolers Eva Barnes and Lily Ann Barnes.
Appearing as the “Pick-a-Little” women are Tiffany Booth, Lanie Walsh, Glorya Belonie, Debbie Pryor, Amy Blanton, Tonia Robbins, Suzie Daniel and Lorna Nulph.
Members of the lighting crew are Alison Keeling and Garrett Parish, 12th-graders; Cole Ward, an 11th-grader; and Bailey Duncan, a 10th-grader.
Members of the sound crew include 12th-grader Garrett Robins, 11th-grader Kylie Webb and 10th-grader Maddie Coats.
Members of the stage crew include Kara Tyer and Kelsey Hayes, 12th-graders; Ashley Hayes, an 11th-grader; and Kelsie James, Jamie Stacks, Taylor Shelton and Kayla Kipfer, 10th-graders.
Michele Sadlowski is the choreographer for The Music Man. Assisting Parish with costumes is Suzie Daniel. Assisting Nulph with set design and artwork are Linda Davis and Ken Johnson. Assisting Hutto with the music is Dell Holt. The production manager is Lis Jones; the stage manager is Hannah Parks, a 12th-grader; and the production technician is Caleb Pryor, who, along with Garrett Robbins, made much of the scenery digitally, using a computer and oversized printer to create the scenery.