October 04, 2023

Clarke drama to present ‘The Music Man’ Nov. 11 & 12

Clarke high school music and drama departments will put on the ‘The Music Man’ Nov. 11 and 12 at the Clarke High School. There will be a 7 p.m. performance on Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. show Saturday afternoon.

This will be the second time ‘The Music Man’ has been performed as the fall musical, the first time in 2012.

“You have to be able to see who you have who can fill roles,” said director Don May, noting that he had several seniors who he thought would be good fits for some of the bigger roles this show has to offer.

The musical

‘The Music Man’ is based on a story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, with music and lyrics by Willson. Wilson’s inspiration for the musical came from his childhood in Mason City, Iowa, with the fictitious town of River City, Iowa, serving as the setting for the musical. It first premiered on Broadway in December of 1957, and features two acts with eleven scenes in the first act, and seven in the second.

The musical tells the story of con man Harold Hill, who poses as the leader and organizer of a boys’ band. Hill plans to sell instruments and uniforms to the townsfolk of River City along with teaching music lessons, only to leave town with the money and the town without. While Hill might have most of the town none the wiser to his antics, local piano teacher and librarian, Marian Paroo, is not so easily fooled. Both Paroo and Hill find themselves falling for one another, which will foil the plans of the latter.


There are 39 students and four adults who make up the cast this year. The student cast members and their roles are:

Janie Antoine (Rose), Elli Blackford (Ardell), Easton Brokaw (Salesman #5, Farmer - Sat. night), Alicia Castillo (Lillian), Adi Cline (Amaryllis), Aiden Coates (Charlie Cowell), Marquaize Coughran (Mrs. Rose Paroo - Sat. afternoon), Jenna Crawford (Ethel Toffelmier), Micah Domina (Newspaper man, Tommy), Caitlyn Elias (Marie), Ray Elsbury (Marian Paroo - Sat. afternoon), Gabby Fry (Ruth), Jonathan Galvez (Salesman #1, William, Farmer - Fri. night, Sat. afternoon), Savannah Henderson (Mrs. Squires), Emma Hendrickson (Eulalie Shinn), Aryanna Hewlett (Farmer’s wife), Macayla Hicks (Elisabeth), Moyra Hicks (Mrs. Britt), Claire Jacobsen (Mildred), Bryce Johnson (Marcellus Washburn), Calhoun Lundquist (Harold Hill), Danika McCloney (Helen, Maud Dunlop), Keira McLain (Marian Paroo - Fri. and Sat. night), Angela Mendez-Rivera (Mary), Amy Morales (Gracie Shinn), Alli Nash (Dorothy), Audrey Pontier (Margaret), Jake Pontier (Salesman #2, Charles), Cooper Reece (Conductor, John), Melanie Sandoval (Anna), Blaze Schiltz (Salesman #4, Davey), Abbie Schlichte (Alma Hix), Peyton Shields (Salesman #3, Constable Locke), Sawyer Shields (Eddie), Emma Short (Zaneeta), Molly Sickels (Mrs. Rose Paroo - Fri. and Sat. night), Joey Turpin (Winthrop), Skye Williams (Newspaper man, Mayor Shinn), and Cael Wisniewski (Barney).

The four adults and their roles are: Marty Duffus (Oliver Hix), Brad Lampe (Jacey Squires), Shawn Pavlik (Ewart Dunlop), and Jordan Pohlmann (Olin Britt).

Senior Molly Sickels and junior Keira McLain play the roles of mother and daughter duo Mrs. Paroo and Marian Paroo in the Friday and Saturday evening shows, with sophomore Marquaize Coughran and senior Ray Elsbury taking on the parts for the Saturday afternoon production.

“We usually have so many female leads, it’s important to give upperclassmen a chance, and underclassmen a chance to come in,” said Sickels of having two people play the roles.

Favorite scenes of the quartet include the library scene (act one, scene 7) featuring Marian and Harold and different elements of choreography; the piano lesson (act one, scene 4), where the audience learns more about the relationship between Mrs. Paroo and Marian; and the one in which features the song, “My White Knight” (act one, scene 10).

“It’s going to be really fun. The cast is really good, and everyone is having fun working on it,” the four young women said about people coming to see the musical.

Clarke vocal director Mary Pohlmann worked with the cast over the summer on the lyrics for the variety of songs that are performed, and band director Karina Kelso directs ten students in the pit, who provide the live music to the songs: DeVante Caldwell (trombone), Gracee Courtney (clarinet), Lucas Danley (trombone), Morgan Fisher (alto sax), Emily Glenn (trumpet), Ashlin Hardy (bass), Abbi Nash (drumset), Dejah Rowe (flute), Jonathan Vega-Argueta (trombone), and Cole White (trumpet).

A plethora of students also work on a variety of crews, including makeup, props, costumes, stage, publicity, sound, lights, set construction, and community engagement. Choreography was handled byTori White and Hannah Wisniweski, and Veronica Banuelos is the musical’s assistant director.

Ticket info, adjudication

The cost for tickets is $7 reserved (front half of the auditorium), $5 general admission adults, and $4 general admission for students and younger audience members. Tickets are first come, first serve, and May reported that it’s usually always a full house.

Clarke’s production of ‘The Music Man’ is adjudicated as part of the 2022-2023 Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards (IHSMTA), which is presented by EMC Insurance Companies of Des Moines. The IHSMTA celebrates the achievements of Iowa students who participate in high school musical theater.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.