NORTH KINGSTOWN—North Kingstown High School’s latest production, “The Music Man,” is more than just a musical, but a collaboration of talent and hard work from many members of the school district community. The show, which was first produced by Tony Award-winning playwright Meredith Wilson, will run from Friday, March 7 to 9.
“We wanted to do a show that incorporated the entire community and I believe we’ve been successful,” said Norma Caiazza, chair of the Fine Arts Department at NKHS. “This is a huge spectacle show and will surely be enjoyable for all ages. The parents, students, community members, and fellow music and art teachers have made this show possible.”
Boasting the largest cast of acting and musical talent the school district has assembled, 40 Wickford and Davisville Middle School band students will orchestrate the musical based on the travels and trials of Harold Hill, a con-man rumbling through Iowa. They will be accompanied by more than 100 student actors, singers, and stage production hands.
“The students have really stepped up even though snow has severely impacted our show,” said Caiazza. “I am so grateful to be working in such a school with such a supportive community and such wonderful and talented students.”
Mike Iadevaia, director of the orchestra for the production and music coordinator for the North Kingstown School Department, has witnessed first-hand all the hard work to which students have dedicated themselves, even while they still perform academically.
“The pit orchestra has been preparing for the show since January, holding rehearsals after school, on weekends, and during the vacation week,” said Iadevaia. “This winter has been challenging because we had to contend with the weather, but we are ready!”
“We take great pride in this in North Kingstown and is a testament to the high level of K-12 musical instruction and administrative support North Kingstown students receive,” he continued. “Many schools hire a professional orchestra to support the cast. We do hire a few pros to play some of the more demanding parts, but it is mostly student centered.”
“The Music Man” is marked by its variety of characters, all of whom express life in different and comedic ways. Natalie Toland plays Eualalie MacKecknie Shinn, the mayor’s eccentric wife, while junior Emily Auger leads the rumor round-up in the production’s fictional municipality, River City.
“This is the perfect show to produce in conjunction with the younger students because the entire plot is centered around them,” said Iadevaia. “Members of the Wickford Middle School band will make a comedic guest appearance in the second act. The cast also features some elementary students in supporting roles.”
Students singers also take a prime role in “The Music Man,” including a barbershop quartet, sung by seniors Dan Alexander and Ben Smith, as well as underclassmen Dan Fine and Nick Hammond. Julia Gershkoff will sing soprano while portraying Marion Paroo. Many of the students in the play will go on to college and musical programs throughout the country.
Iadevaia also gave praise to the many volunteers, teachers and parents who have worked on the production behind the scenes.
“It is always a great experience to collaborate with my colleagues, Norma, Toni, and Brenda to bring each show to life,” said Iadevaia. “It also wouldn’t be possible without the help of Linda Taggart’s fantastic choreography, Mike Hyde’s audio and lighting expertise, and Maria Hyde’s theatrical coaching experience. The parent volunteers are incredibly helpful with whatever we need and are an integral piece of the puzzle.”
Ultimately, everyone involved with ‘The Music Man’ is sure the production will be a huge success with the local community.
“What amazes me the most, is how much progress is made in such a short amount of time,” said Iadevaia. “It will all come together this weekend and is sure not to disappoint! I know I can speak for the students as well as my colleagues when we say that we are incredibly excited to put on four fantastic shows that the North Kingstown and Jamestown community will enjoy and be proud of!”
Four shows will be presented this weekend on Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m., March 8 at 2 and 7 p.m., and March 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are being sold at the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, NKHS and Baker’s Pharmacy in Jamestown for $12, and will be available for purchase at the door for $16. For more information, call Susan Bosworth at 401-529-7982.