‘The Music Man’ full of fun, family-friendly entertainment

Courtesy Photo by Bronwyn Woolman The Barbershop Quartet sings a number at a recent rehearsal of “The Music Man” at Alpena Civic Theatre. Pictured, from left, are Harold Ruder, Jay Kettler, Rex Swope, and Bruce Michaud.

ALPENA — Audiences of all ages will enjoy the upbeat, high-energy entertainment of Alpena Civic Theatre’s “The Music Man.”

Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” continues Thursday through Sunday, and will run for an extra weekend, Friday through Sunday, May 24 through 26, due to its high popularity.

Once you attend this vibrant musical, you will likely leave the theater humming the fun tunes, such as “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “The Wells Fargo Wagon,” and “Shipoopi,” as well as familiar ballads like “Goodnight My Someone,” and “Till There Was You.”

The cast and crew have put in countless hours at the theater to bring this large-scale production to the stage, and it shows.

From the main characters to the ensemble, every single person on the ACT stage shows their talent and dedication to this outstanding musical, masterfully directed by Kirstine Furtaw and Nan Hall.

Courtesy Photo by Bronwyn Woolman Mayor Shinn (Matt Southwell) and family are seen rehearsing recently for “The Music Man” at Alpena Civic Theatre. Pictured, seated, from left, are Aria Nuemann (Gracie Shinn), Vivian Furtaw (Zaneeta Shinn), Lina Suneson (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn), and Southwell (Mayor Shinn). In the background is piano accompanist Nick Stone.

Mike Furtaw shines in the spotlight as Harold Hill, the main character who is both a traveling musical instrument salesman and a swindler. Furtaw, a salesman in real life, displays the charismatic charm of Hill, whose huge personality captivates the other characters, inspiring them to dream big, even though Hill’s promises are, in fact, too big for him to deliver on. Furtaw’s booming yet melodious voice is perfect for a musical of this magnitude.

Olivia Martin brings beauty and strength to her role as Marian the Librarian, a woman who marches to the beat of her own drum. Martin sings several solos beautifully, as well as a few duets. Her acting comes naturally, and you really feel that she is Marian the Librarian, a strong woman whose only weakness may be the charm of Harold Hill.

Andrew MacNeill portrays Charlie Cowell, who sees right through the Hill’s con act. MacNeill also takes on the role of a traveling salesman, who is not too keen on Hill’s antics. As always, MacNeill delivers a stellar performance on the ACT stage, adding an element of drama to the story.

Several youngsters and teens have taken to the stage for the first time, including 8-year-old Nathan Young, who does a fantastic job portraying Marian the Librarian’s younger brother, Winthrop. The talented boy delivers his lines smoothly and sings like a songbird. His future plans are to continue in the performing arts.

Also notable is the performance of teens Colin Hainstock and Vivian Furtaw, who can be found pretending to read books at the library as Tommy Djilas, the town mischief maker, and Zaneeta Shinn, the mayor’s eldest daughter. Both Hainstock and Furtaw are new to the ACT stage, but no one would know it from their excellent acting, singing and dancing.

Mayor Shinn, played by Matt Southwell, and his wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, played by Linda Suneson, bring a tremendous amount of comedy to the show. The seasoned actors lead their groups of men and ladies, attempting to corral the masses to follow their lead. Mayor Shinn is trying to get the school board men to find out the dirt on Hill, because he knows something is fishy. Meanwhile, his wife is enthralled with getting the ladies of the town to learn their special dance routines.

Kevin Bey plays the vital role of Marcellus Washburn, bringing everything he has to the stage in a great performance that even gets a tad physical at times. He has to use his body to hold back a group of children, and has a very believable fall at one point during a chaotic scene.

Pam Swope adds sweetness in her role as Mrs. Paroo, Marian and Winthrop’s kind mother. Her singing voice is lovely, as well.

Let us not forget the Barbershop Quartet. Jay Kettler and Bruce Michaud are joined by newcomers Rex Swope and Harold Ruder. The men bring four-part harmony to life, which is also a testament to Music Director Jean Martin-Brown’s incredible talent.

The cast also includes: Traveling Salesmen Kevin Bey, Southwell, MacNeill, Kettler, Swope, Ruder, Michaud, Scott Edgar, Rodney Ayotte, Eric D. Collins, and Alek Degen; Amaryllis — Fallon Gandulla-Ghekiere; Gracie Shinn — Aria Neumann; Conductor — Bob Martin; Pick-a-Little Ladies Marlo Broad, Marilyn Kettler, Traci Boyle, Kristin Loughery; Adult Ensemble members Dani Ayotte, Taylor Ayotte, Marty Cantleberry, and Scott Edgar; Teen/Children’s Ensemble members Rodney Ayotte, Eric D. Collins, Alek Degen, Dawn Collins, Briana Jasso, Addison Wesaw, Callie Barber, Delilah Bobolts, Alivia Muszynski, and Adalynn Scott.

Crew members include Directors Kirstine Furtaw and Nan Hall; Music Director Jean Martin-Baker; Rehearsal Pianist Nick Stone; Pit Orchestra: Nick Stone (piano) Jean Martin-Baker (piano), MaryAnn Hubbard (flute/piccolo), Kristin Burrone (clarinet), Dave Lawrence (bass), Randy Bouchard (drums); Choreographer Christine Giordano; Choreographer’s Assistant Brittany Giordano; Stage Manager Doreen Kriniak; Assistant Stage Manager Amber Vesotski; Scenic Designer Grace Morrison; Set Crew: Jackie Herbert, Kirstine Furtaw, Nan Hall, and Bill Powell; Technical Director Jason Luther; Scenic Painters Danyeal Dorr, Nancy Mead, Reggie Bisanz, and Sarah Hainstock; Costume Designer Mary Ann Crawford; Costumers: Christine Elowsky, Viriginia Hulsey, Jackie Herbert, Marilyn Kettler, Sandie Badour, Karen Brindley, and Addison Wesaw; Lighting Designer Jay Kettler; Lighting Crew: Scott Edgar; Properties Master Judy Beyer; Sound Designer Andrew MacNeill; Lighting and Sound Operator Jackie Herbert; Producer Carol Rundell; Publicity/Photos: Bronwyn Woolman, Julie O’Bryan, Bill Powell, Traci Boyle; and Box Office: Fran Hamp.

Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 per adult, $8 per student. Call the box office at 989-354-3624. ACT is located at 401 River St., Alpena.


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