PHOTO SUBMITTED / MATT COLEMAN / Professor Harold Hill, played by Stuart Neal (right), tries to woo Marian the librarian, played by Phoenix McKissack, during rehearsals for Brookhaven Little Theatre's production of "The Music Man" earlier this week at the Haven Theater. The play opens Friday night.
PHOTO SUBMITTED / MATT COLEMAN / Professor Harold Hill, played by Stuart Neal (right), tries to woo Marian the librarian, played by Phoenix McKissack, during rehearsals for Brookhaven Little Theatre's production of "The Music Man" earlier this week at the Haven Theater. The play opens Friday night.

‘Music Man’ opens Friday at The Haven’; Art Walk planned, too

Published 2:00pm Thursday, May 8, 2014

Brookhaven Little Theatre’s “The Music Man” opens this weekend, and director Sarah Underwood said it is likely the largest cast BLT has ever had.

“There are 48 cast members,” Underwood said, “and that’s not including the Loyd Star High School Band.” She said Loyd Star’s band leader Stuart Neal is the leading man, Harold Hill, a music man/con man who falls for a small town librarian.

The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday and again Saturday, May 10. On Sunday, May 11, there is matinee at 2 p.m. There will also be show nights Friday and Saturday, May 16 an 17. Underwood said if people have reserved seats for any of the shows they probably need to be there by 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Reserved seats can be purchased at the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce on Whitworth Street.

Underwood said the play will run slightly over two hours, but there will be an intermission. Concessions and T-shirts will be available. Underwood said that opening night is in conjunction with Brookhaven Regional Arts Guild.

“What’s really interesting about this is we will be having our opening night in conjunction with the BRAG’s Art Walk,” she said. “There will be a reception in the lobby from 5 to 7 p.m. and there will be cast members there dressed in character, and BRAG will have artwork on display that will be part of a silent auction.”

“Music Man” Hill, is a conman who plans to filch money from town folks by posing as a music teacher who sells them instruments and lessons and then skips town before anyone is the wiser. But, Hill falls for the town librarian, Marian Paroo, played by Phoenix McKissack. Miss Paroo is wise to the conman but he wins her heart when he helps her little brother overcome a speech impediment and social awkwardness.

Underwood said the cast and crew are a mix of old timers to BLT and first-time performers.

“The cast consists of veterans and newcomers,” she said. “Every person is well suited for their part, without a doubt. This is my third time to direct, but it’s the first time I’ve really picked my own show and assembled my own team, and it has been wonderful. I have a great crew.

Underwood said the cast has been hard at it, rehearsing almost four times a week since the middle of March. “And that’s just the core group, that’s not including all of the small groups such as a barber shop quartet.”

Underwood said there are amateur musicians and professionals. Two locally known musical directors are part of the cast and crew – Southwest Mississippi Community College band director Joe Elliot and Copiah-Lincoln Community College band director Shaw Furlow.

Underwood said her goal in this production is to create a state of wonder.

“I just want the entire audience to be mesmerized,” she said. She said to help her do that she had James Minter design and construct the set.

“The set is very intricate,” she said. “We’ve never done anything like this before, there are a lot of moving parts. And, the scenery is fabulous. There are three retired ladies who’ve spent hours painting the set for weeks.” She said the artwork on the set was drawn by Jessica Laurin Redd, a student at Co-lin, and she was assisted by Emily Waterloo.

Underwood said her assistant director Sarah Lloyd has been a big part of making everything fall into place.

“My director’s assistant is Sarah Lloyd and together we are Sarah Squared,” Underwood joked. Producing any size play can be a daunting task and Underwood said Lloyd has been her choice as assistant each time she has directed. This will be their third play to direct.

“Sarah is a jewel,” Underwood said. “She gets it done before you know it needs done, she is very detail oriented.”

For more information about the Brookhaven Little Theatre, visit their website, www.haventheatre.org, or visit them on Facebook.

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