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January 15th, 2009
Hays CISD to put on 'The Music Man'


The Hays CISD performing arts department has chosen a much-decorated musical for an experienced senior class.

The district’s musical this year is The Music Man, which has won more Tonys, Emmys and Grammys than any other musical and is the second most popular rented musical in the country, after The Sound of Music.

The Music Man, which will show Feb. 5-7, is a send off for 12 seniors who started off in Oklahoma! four years ago and have all somehow participated in each district musical since then.

Don Riecss, Hays CISD Performing Arts Center (PAC) Director, said Music Man is the perfect culmination.

“It’s just a good, wholesome, hometown musical,” Riecss said. “It is absolute fun, a story of the simple times and the simple life. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has never heard of Music Man or many of the lines and songs in the play.”

This year’s production includes about 125 students from schools throughout the district – elementary school to high school – who have acting and singing roles. Hays High School band students who will sit in the “pit” underneath the stage. In keeping with the district tradition over the past four years, there will be a big surprise ending.

“Everyone will leave clapping and cheering and having a good time,” Riecss promised.

About a dozen middle school students and a handful of elementary school students join the cast this year. As in years past, teachers and staff are participating in singing, dancing and set building capacities. Even Hays CISD graduates, who participated in past musicals, are helping out, Riecss said.

The story, written by Meredith Willson, is set in River City, Iowa, involving Harold Hill, who poses as boys’ band leader, selling band instruments and uniforms to local citizens before leaving town with their cash. Marian, the town’s librarian, falls in love with Harold as he helps her younger brother. Hill, who tries to bring a boys marching band to the town, risks getting caught in his con to win Marian’s heart.

The story took Willson eight years to write and arrived on Broadway in 1957, Riecss said. The show ran on Broadway for 1,375 performances, which, he added, “was unheard of back then.” Today, the production is no less complicated.

“Every scene is a full-stage scene which presents challenges with our fly system,” Riecss said. “We are limited as to how much can go on and off the stage in a short period of time … (The students) have really stepped up. They have built terrific props. I am amazed at what they’ve done.”

The show will run for each of its three nights, Feb. 5-7, at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 7. All seats are reserved. Tickets are $10 each.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call (512) 268-8443. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at the Performing Arts Center office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. All performances will be at the PAC’s Gerald Babbitt Auditorium.

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