A few months ago, a theater friend of mine from the Draper Arts Council sent me an audition notice for “The Music Man.” Since I had recently played George Banks in “Mary Poppins,” I was planning on taking a long break from theater. But this part called to me. I have wanted to play Professor Harold Hill since I first saw “The Music Man” back in 1988 when I watched my older brother perform in the ensemble of this show at Hillcrest High School. While watching the library scene in which Harold serenades Marian the librarian, I decided that I’d really love to play this part someday. I’m so grateful I finally got the chance to do it 27 years later.
I got the part in December and immediately began studying the lines and music, even though rehearsal didn’t begin until early January 2016. I knew it would be an intense amount of memorization — and it was. It was the most physically and mentally demanding part I’ve ever done. We rehearsed for eight weeks and opened the show on February 26, 2016 at Corner Canyon High School in Draper. While it was a short run (only five shows), I had a good number of family members and friends who came to see it. We had a very talented cast and a great production team. I was very proud to be a part of such a fun show.
Here are some pictures from the production.
On Monday, February 29, we had a local news station come and do a live broadcast with interviews with me and Marian (the talented Alexie Baugh). We had technical difficulties during “Trouble”(director hit the wrong music track — twice) and I forgot a few of my lines during “Marian” it went well considering the enormous pressure of doing live theater on live TV. The reporter from Fox 13 news is a local well-liked celebrity and he was great to work with. Here are our clips from the live TV spots.
My daughter Lily captured a few clips during our closing night performance. The video quality isn’t great, but it’s all I’ve got. These are my two favorite numbers: “Ya Got Trouble” and “Marian.”
Shortly after the show closed, I wrote the following on my Facebook page:
Harold Hill will always be a part of me. I love his charm, wit and enthusiasm for life. His positivity is infectious and it transforms the town of River City, Iowa. In an October 2008 general conference talk, President Thomas S. Monson said: “I thoroughly enjoy… many musicals, and one of my favorites was written by the American composer Meredith Willson and is entitled “The Music Man.” Professor Harold Hill, one of the principal characters in the show, voices a caution that I share with you. Says he, ‘You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays; I want to make today worth remembering.’ There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today.”
President Monson continues: “This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone… I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by… Instead, find joy in the journey now.”
I couldn’t agree with President Monson more. My world was rocked 11 years ago when my father died at age 57. His early death reminded me that life is fleeting and that I need to seize each day.
In the words of the character John Keating (played by Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society”) “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary!”
Performing as the “music man” was truly an extraordinary experience for me!