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December 07th, 2021

music man rehearsalNikki Frydendall prepares to work on choreography with the student cast of the upcoming Liberal High School Drama Department production of “The Music Man.” The show will have performances Nov. 12, 13 and 14, all in Maskus Auditorium at LHS. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Live theatrical performances are slowly beginning to come back, including with the Liberal High School Drama Department. 

The LHS Drama Department will be presenting “The Music Man”  Nov. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 14 at 2 p.m., with all performances to take place in LHS’ James Maskus Auditorium. Tickets for audience members 18 and under are $5, and adult tickets are $8. The show follows con man Harold Hill, who poses as a musician and hatches a plot to sell musical instruments and uniforms to gullible townsfolk in River City, Iowa, with the promise to train them and turn them into a credible band. His intentions, however, are to skip town before he gives a single music lesson. Marian, a local librarian and piano teacher, sees right through him and threatens to out him, and comedy and romance ensue. 

Overall, director Miriam Climenhaga said, putting the show together has been a very fun experience with her cast and crew. 

“I have enjoyed how many more students have wanted to become involved working with the backstage side of things. The students seem to really enjoy this show and we have had a lot of fun with the time period and the language of the show and the way people talked in 1912 Iowa.” Climenhaga said. “It’s fun to see all the pieces fall into place. We have community members in the orchestra pit, which is exciting for the students. We have had some more challenging choreography to learn and Nikki Frydendall has really been coming up with some great stuff for the choreography. I think everyone is just a bit more excited this year to be doing a show! Even though we had one last year, it was still difficult with the schedule having a slow start due to COVID-19 and everything else. This year it’s all been a little more ‘normal’ and has garnered extra help. And everyone’s very excited, it seems to be really sinking in how we are only three weeks away from showtime!”

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Climenhaga added there were several factors to keep in mind when choosing the show for this year. 

“Mr. Yeremin and I really wrestled with which show to do, because you have to take into consideration a lot of factors when choosing,” Climenhaga said. “We chose this one because we wanted to do something light and fun, because we felt the kids and the community needed something light and fun after a very long previous year. I expect the show will happen, the kids will do their very best, and that they will have fun doing it. A lot of work goes into those three performances, but the kids always manage to rise to the challenge and pull it off in the end! I encourage everyone to come out for ‘The Music Man’ because it’s such a feel-good show with several recognizable songs, and is the perfect show to lift our spirits and embrace the ability to have live theatre again.”

Climenhaga talked about other ways to support the show and the drama department as a whole.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to stream the show this year because ‘The Music Man’ happens to be a show that doesn’t grant video/streaming rights. We would love to have everyone that wants to be there, there!” Climenhaga said. “But, if you can’t make it and you still want to support the musical, donations are always welcome and can be directed to the musical specifically. We are also always looking for possible props and costumes, and we welcome donations throughout the year of things like that, that a community member might want to find a new home for. I’m always the most excited to see the show come together and the kids having fun doing something that they doubted they could do at the start of the rehearsal process!”

Climenhaga also praised the work of the students in the cast and crew for their hard work for the show and offered encouragement for people in the community to come and see “The Music Man” that weekend. 

“Everyone's getting excited but nervous at the same time, everyone's doubling down to make sure they have their parts fully memorized and ready to go,” Climenhaga said. “The reality's setting in that opening night is actually rather close now, so they're really working themselves hard to get everything ready, and they're really excited to see all of the different parts come together into one cohesive project. So at this point we're fine tuning quite a few things and smoothing them out. The students have worked really hard on this show, we have a lot of people in the cast and crew who have put a lot of time and effort into this, and we can't have a show without an audience, so I hope a lot of people come out and see it. The students put in so much work for only three performances, and I hope the community will come out and support the kids involved. The best way to show your support is to be an audience member!”

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