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Walnut valley Unified School District

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'Music Man' opens at Walnut High Performing Arts Center

Diamond Bar/Walnut Highlander
March 17-23, 2013
By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

'Music Man' opens at Walnut High Performing Arts Center

Music is a big deal on the Walnut High campus. Just check out the new $3 million music building that opened this year.

So its appropriate that the performing arts department is performing "The Music Man" as its spring musical. The popular play brings a con man to town with his scam to equip and train a marching band.

Unfortunately, the scamp plans to skip town with the money because they find out he doesn't know anything about music. Fortunately, the con man falls for the librarian, who's intend on exposing his fraud.

"This has become our biggest production, with 59 members in the cast," said director Joanne Karr. "Many will be on stage at the same time in some large numbers."

Also unusual is the barbershop quartet that steals the show in several scenes. The four young men are very good and help set the scene of small town Iowa in the 20th century.

Of course none of this works without strong performances by Jared Hill who plays con man Harold Hill and Toni Gallardo as Marian Paroo, the librarian and part-time piano teacher.

"It's a lot of singing and dancing for me," Gallardo admitted. "I have three solos as well as many other numbers."

But the 18-year-old is confident she'll have everything under control when the curtain rises tonight at 7 p.m. The Walnut senior has performed in nine plays, including one stint as a director.

"I'd love to study theater at NYU," Gallardo said, when asked about her plans for the future.

Hill has some big shoes to fill as the "traveling salesman." His is a pivotal role in many of the big scenes.

"I've been in six other plays, so I'm comfortable in the lead role," said the 16-year-old junior. "I think it's a wonderful story."

When asked about their on stage chemistry, the two pointed out that the play is a "romance." They're obviously at ease with each other, a partnership that adds to the drama.

Another little treat comes from 10-year-old Micah Rickard of Chino who plays the librarian's shy little brother.

"The play has been a lot of fun; I get to sing a solo and other songs," the youngster said.

And you'll learn what the term "shipoopi" means. The term was invented by Meredith Willson for a song about finding love. It took the playwright eight years to finish his famous musical for which he wrote more than 40 songs.

"Music Man" became a Broadway hit, winning a Tony Award for Best Musical. The cast recording won the first Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album.

The student production opens at the Performing Arts Center tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m. It continues next weekend at 7 p.m. on March 22, 23 and a matinee performance that Saturday at 2 p.m.

Advance purchase tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for students and seniors.

Go to Tickets at the door cost $15 adults, $13 students and seniors.