Theatre UCF and the UCF Music Department are joining forces to bring Meredith Willson’s The Music Man to life. The family-friendly musical opens on Thursday, Feb. 20, and runs through Sunday, March 2, on the Theatre UCF Main Stage.
Playwright Meredith Willson wrote the musical in the 1950s and it depicts his childhood in Iowa. The well-known musical features favorite songs like “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Goodnight, My Someone,” and “Till There Was You.”
Kate Busselle, a first-year master’s Theatre student and dramaturg for the production, has been researching life in early-20th century Iowa in order to help director Mark Brotherton and the students working on the musical recreate Willson’s world.
Busselle said: “At the time, Iowa was one of the most progressive states of the union and that is well-reflected in the casting of the show. Iowa abolished slavery 39 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. In our production, the mayor and his wife are African-American, which would not have happened in most of America at that time, but could have happened in Iowa.”
This production has a set and costumes, but was scaled back slightly in order to accommodate the 24-piece orchestra on the stage.
“We are extremely excited to present this collaborative production of The Music Man,” said UCF School of Performing Arts director Jeffrey Moore. “This show is a tangible example of the ongoing merger that demonstrates the growing levels of cooperation within the Music and Theatre units. Building on the previous success of our collaboration on 2012’s production of Ragtime, faculty and students are interacting and interfacing like never before.”
Moore also thinks that joint productions such as this one create benefits for patrons.
“When UCF made the decision to create a School of Performing Arts, we knew that our students would benefit from collaborations between the Music and Theatre departments. In this production of The Music Man, the community also benefits: an orchestra provides a fuller experience for theatre-goers, especially when it is a musical about music. We won’t have quite 76 trombones, but there will be plenty of brass, reeds, and percussion alongside the singers.”
Production at a glance
Meredith Willson’s The Music Man
Book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson
Story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey
Directed by Mark Brotherton
8 p.m.: Feb., 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, March 1
2 p.m.: Feb. 23, March 2
Price: Standard $20, Senior $18, Student $10; Group discounts available.
Address: 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando
Box Office Phone: 407- 823-1500
Box Office Hours: Monday through Friday: noon to 5 p.m. and 2 hours before performances