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posted: 10/30/2012 2:32 PM

Central High students shine in 'The Music Man'

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There may be trouble in River City, but in Burlington this weekend, there will be laughter and music.

A cast and crew of about 70 Central High School students are getting ready for their fall play, "The Music Man," which features such classic hits as "Ya Got Trouble," "Till There Was You" and the rousing "Seventy-six Trombones."

The show opens Thursday, Nov. 1, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 4, with performances at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.

We asked director Jeff Nesseth to answer a few questions about the production and what audiences can expect. Here's what he had to say.

Q. Why did you choose "The Music Man" for your fall play?

Jeff Nesseth. We here at CHS are very fortunate to have so many talented students. When discussions arose around the selection of plays for the 2012/2013 school year, "Music Man" rose to the top of the list. We knew that we had quite a few senior guys who could fit into all the specific roles, a stellar soprano, and some fine actors waiting for their one big chance onstage. Finally, we were looking for a contrast to last year's production of "Beauty and the Beast."

Q. What is "The Music Man" about?

Nesseth. Confidence man Harold Hill arrives at staid River City intending to cheat the community with his standard scam of offering to equip and train a boy's marching band, then skip town with the money since he has no music skill anyway. Things go awry when he falls for a librarian he tries to divert from exposing him while he inadvertently enriches the town with a love of music.

Q. What have been the most challenging aspects of putting this show together?

Nesseth. Selling the concept of a 1912, Americana style musical -- how does it relate to the teen of 2012? Relaying significant events in history and having an emotional attachment to these characters. Discovering the characterization process, making these caricatures into real beings.

Q. What has been most rewarding?

Nesseth. Adam Moxness, our "Music Man," and Rachel Rodewald, "Marian the Librarian," make the production simply spectacular. Both are truly gifted. Also, helping kids begin their journey in the theater program at CHS. I am fortunate to have had dedicated students in the immediate past lay the framework for what we are able to enjoy each and everyday at CHS.

Q. What makes this show special?

Nesseth. There is something to be said about going back to the classics. "Music Man" truly hearkens back to a much simpler time, taking the time to relax and smell the roses. What sets our production apart from others, our choreography is pretty terrific. CHS alum Taylor Slager has once again laid the framework for truly remarkable dancing. Adam Moxness is not only a remarkable actor/musician, he is a true visionary in the realm of dance. Technical director Jim Struyk has once again stretched our imaginations with a spellbinding set. The set is an equal partner with all the great scene work the actors are producing.

Q. What do you think audiences will like the best about this show?

Nesseth. I think the audience will be pleasantly reminded of how intimate the story becomes as it is evolving on the CHS stage. The glorious, renditions of "Goodnight My Someone" and "Till There Was You" as interpreted by Rachel Rodewald will leave the audiences sitting on the edge of their seats. Finally, "Seventy-six Trombones," the theme song of "Music Man" will leave the audience wanting more. This would be a great way to introduce young families to the realm of live theater.

For more information, call (847) 464-6030.

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