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St. Maria Goretti to perform 'The Music Man' at The Maryland Theatre

St. Maria Goretti to perform 'The Music Man' at The Maryland Theatre

The students of St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School will bring a musical theater classic to life on the stage of The Maryland Theatre when they present “The Music Man.”

The show opens on Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and has a second run on Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.

“The Music Man is a classic musical with wonderful music and many fantastic roles that allow young actors to shine,” said Director Laura Martin.

Music Director Gillian Austin said they knew the students can perform classical musicals well after experiencing their last production, which was “Oklahoma.”

“The Music Man is such a beloved piece so we knew we would have a lot of interest. Also, we wanted to include younger students in the area so they could experience what a high school production is like,” Austin said.

Martin said more than 20 students will come together on stage and behind the scenes to present Meredith Willson’s six-time, Tony Award-winning musical comedy.

“Supporting educational theater, and all the fine arts in education, is crucial for our young people’s development. Even though these students may never go on to perform professionally, the skills they learn in high school theater will serve them throughout their entire lives. They have not only learned to sing, dance, act, and all of the behind-the-scenes skills, but they have also learned to work together as a team, to listen, to make choices, to take risks, to take direction, to adapt to and overcome challenges, and to meet a deadline. These are all skills that will serve them no matter what path they choose in adulthood,” Martin said.

The story follows a fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize, despite having no musical knowledge himself. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian.

“‘The Music Man’ has all of the elements of a wonderful story — comedy, love, conflict, charm, forgiveness, and characters who grow and change,” Martin said.

Senior Luke Szukalski, of Frederick, will take on the role of Professor Harold Hill.

“Luke is a fantastic student who works hard and pushes through any challenge presented to him. He’s been acting since he was a child, and he brings a charisma and charm to Harold,” Martin said.

Szukalski described his character as a con artist who goes from town to town taking advantage of people.

“Although when he goes to River City, Iowa, he experiences some heart and soul he’s never felt before,” Szukalski said.

He said the most challenging part of playing Hill is how easily he can diffuse a situation with his smooth, suave attitude.

“He’s very well liked and respected and this gives him a bit of a cocky, bold behavior. However, later in the story when he starts to realize how great these families in Iowa are, he starts developing emotions towards them. The transition from being so selfish to selfless,” Szukalski said.

Junior MacKenzie Kotch, of Boonsboro, plays librarian Marian Paroo.

“Mackenzie has a beautiful soprano voice. She works hard and makes strong acting choices,” Martin said.

Austin said Marian is a classic musical character with a strong head voice.

“MacKenzie has a wonderful, mature voice. Her stage presence is impressive for a junior in high school. She is a very responsible student and we knew that would carry over,” Austin said.

Kotch said Marian is a kind person once she opens up.

“But she is very closed off and almost mean. She is a loving sister and daughter and is very protective of her family,” Kotch said. “For me, it’s a little fun to be mean and act annoyed. I also love her outfits.”

Playing the big sister to Marian’s brother Winthrop was a role new to Kotch.

“I myself am the youngest child in my family, so it was quite a change from what I’m used to,” the young actress said.

Kotch loves how the whole town changes their attitude once Harold Hill arrives.

“He just brings so much magic to the town of River City,” Kotch said.

Szukalski said what he likes best about the show is its upbeat music and positive vibe.

“I love doing a fun show with a good message and this show has great feeling with comedic characters and complex music,” he said.

Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased by visiting The Maryland Theatre website at www.mdtheatre.org.

Top photo: MacKenzie Kotch, left, (Marian Paroo) and Luke Szukalski (Harold Hill) perform during rehearsal in St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School's upcoming production of "The Music Man." (By Colleen McGrath/Herald-Mail Media)

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