Potomac: ‘The Music Man’ Struts onto Har Shalom Stage

Potomac: ‘The Music Man’ Struts onto Har Shalom Stage

Performances set for Feb. 20-21.

In rehearsal are (foreground) Mark Chen, Joelle Spector, Kandy Hutman, Ed Hutman, Sydney Ashin, Toby Holtzman, and (back) Ginger Ager.

In rehearsal are (foreground) Mark Chen, Joelle Spector, Kandy Hutman, Ed Hutman, Sydney Ashin, Toby Holtzman, and (back) Ginger Ager. Photo by Brad Balfour


From left: Stephen Cairns (Professor Harold Hill), Blake Strauch (Winthrop Paroo), and Megan Evans (Marian Paroo) are the lead actors in the Har Shalom Players' production of “The Music Man.”


Blake Strauch as Winthrop Paroo


Megan Evans as Marian Paroo

There may be “Trouble in River City” according to Professor Harold Hill, but there will also be toe- tapping and singing along to the well-known tunes of “The Music Man” presented by the Har Shalom Players.

The six-time Tony Award-winning musical will march onto the stage on Saturday, Feb. 20 and Sunday, Feb. 21, to bring the story of con-artist Harold Hill, Marian the Librarian, the children’s band and the Wells Fargo Wagons to Potomac families and their friends.

“The Music Man” is the 11th musical performed by the Har Shalom Players; many of the cast members have performed in all 11 plays. The show is co-produced by Kenneth Lechter and Stewart Remer and directed by Rochelle (Shelly) Horn. The production team of 13 includes Music Director Marci Shegogue, Vocal Director Keith Tittermary, Assistant to the Director Deb Schapiro, and Choreographers Karen Creel and Laurie Newton. A cast and production team of 55 includes children and teens from 15 area schools.

Co-producers Stew Remer and Ken Lechter agree that “This group is an amazing cast.” Lechter said, “Some of the kids started performing when they were only 7 years old and they have returned every year. We have also seen many start here and move on to high school and community theatre.”

Remer noted that when Steve Cairns auditioned, they both knew immediately that he was their Harold Hill. This is Cairns’ first time performing with the Har Shalom Players. “My favorite part is playing the lovable, redeemable scoundrel,” said Cairns.

Remer said, “My role as the co-producer is to serve as the ‘master facilitator’ and problem solver so that the production process (i.e. rehearsals, costuming, director/cast support, etc.) runs as smoothly as possible. One of my favorite parts of “The Music Man” is the "Marian the Librarian" choreography — both the interplay between Harold and Marian and the clever choreography with the teens are fun to watch.

“As one of the producers of the annual Har Shalom productions since their inception,” said co-producer Ken Lechter, “it's extraordinarily rewarding that these shows have become institutionalized into the fabric of the synagogue. Our members — and the surrounding community — look forward to the HSP shows every year.”

Megan Evans, who will play Marian Paroo in the show, said, “There are so many familiar songs in this show that will make you feel nostalgic for the ‘good old days’ and leave you with a smile on your face.” She is enjoying the challenge of portraying the vulnerability of Marian to the audience. “The role of Marian is a challenge because I have several high soprano notes in my songs. I usually take on roles that tend to have belty or jazzy numbers so I am exercising parts of my voice that don’t often get used. This is my second production with Har Shalom, and while I am not a member of the congregation, I am always made welcome. The people involved in this production are some of the most wonderful people you’ll ever meet and it feels like home every time I step foot in the building.”

General Admission tickets to “The Music Man” are $20 for adults and $15 for children under age 13. Tickets can be purchased at www.harshalom.org/play or at http://tinyurl.com/musicmanHS. For information on group sales, email: play@harshalom.org or call 301-299-7087. Ticket pick up and check-in begins one hour prior to the show.

Three video trailers are available on youtube.com - Behind the Magic: Casting of The Music Man: https://youtu.be/bVWzr9iN9SM ; Veterans - Meet the Cast of The Music Man: https://youtu.be/_r9BbSJk57Y ; First Timers - Meet the Cast of The Music Man: https://youtu.be/f-zkz1pKwlk.