Photo by HANNAH GIBBS
Last Thursday, The Music Man debuted on the Alma College campus. The Music Man is a 1957 musical written by Meredith Wilson.
This was the first show of the year hosted by the Alma College theatrical department, under the direction of Dr. Scott Mackenzie, who is a life-long fan of the show.
“I’ve loved this show since I was a kid. I used to listen to the album all the time growing up so just hearing the music each night just makes me smile. I’m a hopeless romantic so I love some of the songs in the second act, like ‘Till There Was You.” said Dr. Scott Mackenzie, chair of the theater department.
For many, this production of The Music Man brought new opportunities to fill roles bigger than ever before in past productions hosted by Alma College.
“It’s absolutely crazy. Ever since high school, it’s been a dream for me to play the lead in a musical. I’ve been a lead in many plays, but always in a show with multiple leads. Musicals have always been my favorite type of production, and being the leading man in one of the biggest shows Alma has ever done is the craziest concept.” said Conner Garma (‘20), who played Harold Hill.
Even the director found himself feeling jealous of a few of the roles in this production of The Music Man.
“I’d be up there directing something and I’d think ‘Argh, I really wanna play this part!’ I never got to play Harold Hill, but Conner got to and he did a really good job.” said Mackenzie.
In addition to the musical bringing exciting new roles for actors, the musical was hosted in Presbyterian Hall, as opposed to the usual theatre department’s location in Strosacker. This brought new possibilities for the set designers to build bigger than ever before.
“One of the joys is the chance to be able to design here in Presbyterian Hall in a space that is much larger than what we do over in Strosacker. The ability for the students to get a chance to work on unit pieces that are much larger than what they usually get to work on I think has been one of the most exciting parts of it.” said Terry Jachimiak, professor of theater.
There is a lot of work put into a production that the audience never sees. The design and technical departments pour a lot of work into each production with little recognition.
“They see the actors and they appreciate the actors, as they should, but a lot of people don’t realize the amount of work we put in, because there’s not a lot of students who are willing to be behind the scenes, to put in the hours, to do the work, and really not get any credit for it.” said Jachimiak.
As with any production, the theater department faced many challenges in putting on The Music Man. The cast and crew worked under time constraints, forcing them to work long hours to ensure that The Music Man was ready for showtime.
“This is definitely the biggest show since I’ve been here, and was produced in the shortest amount of time.” said Mackenzie.
In addition to time-constraints, the cast and crew were also short-handed, which demanded that all members of the theater department have an all-hands-on-deck approach.
“The greatest challenge has been not having enough time. Any theater person will tell you that they always wish they had an extra week to finish a show, but this is one of those shows where it’s not just needing the extra week, it’s needing the extra people” said Jachimiak.
The theater department worked their hardest for weeks straight to ensure The Music Man was as entertaining as possible, but their hard work would be in vain with no audience to support the show.
“All of the students in the cast and crew put their hearts and souls into this show. Everyone has worked themselves to the bone to make this show happen, so thank you to those who came to support us!” said Garma.