SH community theatre Marian and Harold

Joel Oberkrom, a seventh grader at Spring Hill Middle School, poses as Harold Hill while Laura Fotovich, an eighth grader at Pioneer Ridge Middle School poses as Marian Paroo. The pair star in Madison Avenue Performing Arts production of “The Music Man.” Submitted photo

SH community theatre painting

Maddison Novak, Spring Hill, paints part of the set for “The Music Man Jr.” Novak also appears in the musical as Mrs. Paroo, a spirited, Irish widow who encourages her children to find happiness and fulfillment. Cast members and their families created all the costumes and sets for the show. Submitted photo

The curtain will open on “The Music Man Jr.” in Spring Hill on Jan. 25, 2013 at 7 p.m. The performance marks the largest cast to date since the community youth theatre program, Madison Avenue Performing Arts, began in 2008. A cast of 56 performers plus an additional youth stage crew will perform the classic musical written by Meredith Willson.
The story of “The Music Man Jr.” revolves around the traveling salesman Harold Hill. Hill arrives in River City, IA, a town filled with stubborn, Irishdecent immigrants, in an effort to hoodwink the residents into buying into his boys’ band scheme. What Hill doesn’t anticipate is the enormous spirit and heart that makes up the community of River City along with a plucky librarian who catches Hill’s eye. MAPA’s version is set in a steam-punk setting of River City, IA instead of the traditional late Victorian era. “I love the look of steam-punk…everything from ‘Wild Wild West’ to ‘The
Golden Compass.’ We have lots of performers who are big readers and movie-buffs; they really got into researching steam-punk and having fun coming up with their costumes,” said director Sarah Ackerman-Hale.
“This show is filled with amazing talent,” she said. “The performers have come a long way and worked hard to put together an emotionally authentic, visually steam-punk version of River City.”
Ackerman-Hale said all the performances were strong and she encouraged audiences to look for star-making performances from Harold Hill, Mayor Shinn, Winthrop, Mrs. Paroo, Eulalie McKecknie Shinn, Amaryllis, Zaneeta and Gracie Shinn.
“We have some surprises lined up for the audiences. They go quick – so audiences will have to be on their toes,” Ackerman-Hale said.
Tickets for the performance will be $7 at the door. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 at Spring Hill Middle School with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. with doors opening at 1:30 p.m.
“I hope we have a lot of people come out for the performances. This group has worked really hard to put on a quality show. I believe we can compete every bit with the programs up in the ‘big city’ thanks to the talent in this cast. This is great local entertainment and fun for the whole family,” Ackerman-Hale said.
Madison Avenue Performing Arts is a non-profit theatre organization serving the greater Spring Hill community. The program began in 2008 through the Spring Hill Recreation Commission under the name “Broadway Review.” In March 2012, volunteers from the group signed the articles of incorporation for Madison Avenue Performing Arts. The group has produced 10 theatrical performances  including: “Thank You for the Music,” “Peter Pan Rocks,” “Welcome to the Sixties,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.,” “Pinocchio,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.” “Hobbits, Wizards and Jedi,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and now “The Music Man Jr.” Members from the group have performed at local school, The Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce events, Daffodil Days and the Spring Hill Fall Festival.
The show is directed by Sarah Ackerman-Hale, a Spring Hill resident. Ackerman-Hale has directed nine shows previously with Broadway Review, MAPA and Gardner Community Theatre. Music director Emma Cook is an accomplished performer; she resides in Overland Park. Choreographer Michelle Baum Bellamy, Olathe, has over 10 years dance experience. Assistant director Regina Fotovich has been involved with community theatre for over 7 years and teaches second grade at Madison Elementary in Gardner.  Other show staff includes Sonya Hubbard, Lauren Baxter, Scott Oberkrom, Stevie Morris and Jenny Daniels.
“The Music Man Jr.” is possible in thanks to the sponsors of MAPA: The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce, The City of Spring Hill, USD 230, Re-Use Concrete, Kim Thompson Insurance, Antioch Community Baptist Church, Accounting Partners Inc., Bitner Legal and Whitesell Optometry.
MAPA’s 2013 season includes plans for “Hobbits, Wizards and Jedi in the Temple of Doom,” a show filled with parodies and tributes to “Star Wars,” the Tolkien universe, the Harry Potter series and the Indiana Jones franchise. In late summer, MAPA will hold auditions for a Shakespeare short play to be performed at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival and locally.
For more information about Madison Avenue Performing Arts, please visit LINK or find us on Facebook.