The Greater Lowell Music Theatre
“The Music Man in Concert”
By Christine R. Walsh
The Greater Lowell Music Theatre will be delighting fans of all ages with their upcoming inaugural performance, “The Music Man in Concert,” on August 3 and 4. Attendees will fall in love with incredible renditions of “Ya Got Trouble!,” “Marian, the Librarian,” and “Goodnight, My Someone,” to name a few. And we dare you to try to sit still and silent during the rousing number of “Seventy Six Trombones” or “Shipoopi!”
Jack Neary, Artistic Director of the Greater Lowell Music Theatre (GLMT), is excited to embark on the theatrical adventure with this beloved classic at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
“The show will be a concert version of ‘The Music Man,’” explains Neary. “Concert versions happen a lot these days. They are somewhere between staged readings and full performances, as actors will be able to use scripts and the score as references. This format allows amazing performers, who don’t have two months to put aside for rehearsals, to rehearse for a few weeks or so and put together a great show.”
The performance will feature renowned actors and singers such as Mara Bonde as Marian Paroo, John Budzyna as Harold Hill, and Dick Flavin as Mayor Shinn.
A quick trip down memory lane and through River City: in 1957, “The Music Man,” with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey, became a huge Broadway hit, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The cast album won the first Grammy Award for “Best Original Cast Album.” A very popular film was also created based “The Music Man” in 1962.
“We were really looking for a show that would attract general audiences and families,” Neary says.
The theatre company is new, but its staff and performers are no strangers to being on, or behind, the stage. Lee Grande (Musical Director) and Phyllis George (Choreographer) have worked together for fifteen years as Director, Musical Director and Choreographer of award-winning high school musicals in eastern Massachusetts. Neary himself is an established playwright (not to mention co-founder of New Century Theatre at Smith College in Northampton), with productions of his many works staged all over the world. He’s also has directed professionally for 30 years, acted on television (including in “Law and Order”) and in film, most recently as part of Ben Affleck’s The Town. If Jack’s name sounds familiar, there’s good reason ~ he was both an actor at the former Foothills Theatre in Worcester and frequent playwright/director for its Children’s Theatre productions.
Now these theatrical powerhouses will bring their talent and enthusiasm to a new level as co-founders of the GLMT, with a mission to convene established and emerging musical theatre artists together and bring to the stage shining examples of a beloved American art form.
“With ‘The Music Man In Concert,’ we really want to show the audience what we can bring to the table,” Neary says. “Our hope is to maintain a relationship with UMass. Paul Marion is the Co-Director for the Center for Arts and Ideas and he has been very helpful. Our hope is to come back, summer after summer, to do at least two full-scale musicals.”
For more information and for tickets, visit www.glmt.org.
Photo: Jack Neary, Artistic Director