Strike up the band

‘The Music Man’ brings Foothills Community Players new challenges

The Foothills Community Players cast rehearses the song “Ya Got Trouble” for the “Music Man.”

The Foothills Community Players cast rehearses the song “Ya Got Trouble” for the “Music Man.”

John Cherry portrays Harold Hill, a conman who arrives in River City, Iowa, in the Foothills Community Players production of “The Music Man.”

John Cherry portrays Harold Hill, a conman who arrives in River City, Iowa, in the Foothills Community Players production of “The Music Man.”

The Foothills Community Players production of “The Music Man” is set to open Friday night at the Clayton Center for the Arts. It is about a small town that comes together through a wide variety of experiences.

The same could be said for the cast who is putting on the show, director Terry Silver-Alford said.

“It’s a romantic story and a family story. It turns out that that is also a reflection of putting on this production. It is a diverse group who have come together to create this big, wonderful show,” the director said. “Everyone has worked incredibly hard. There were hundreds of costumes and lots of sets, and they’ve created a nice community in and of themselves. Everyone has been gung ho and enthusiastic about every part of this.”

John Cherry, vice president of the board of Foothills Community Players, plays the lead character, a con artist by the name of Harold Hill. Hill arrives in River City, Iowa, on July 4, 1912. He convinces the town to organize a boys’ band, and in the process, lives and hearts are changed.

The group started rehearsing in mid-May and has a cast of 50, a crew of more than 20 and an orchestra of about 20. Some are from the Maryville College Community Orchestra. “Conductor Bill Robinson has helped us find musicians, but they are also from other places around East Tennessee,” Cherry said.

Cherry said this is the climax to the group’s second season. “It is our first big musical. We’re a group of Blount Countians who decided we wanted to restart community theater in Blount County,” he said. “We started out with core group of eight and now we are well over 200 people who have been involved in our productions, either as performers or backstage help.”

Cherry said thriving communities have a strong arts program that includes all the arts. “That’s why Fine Arts Blount, Maryville Arts Coalition, Foothills Community Theater and Appalachian Ballet are all important elements of our arts community. With the Clayton Center for the Arts, we want to make sure there is good community theater to give kids and adults an outlet not only as performers, but as patrons,” Cherry said. “I think it helps in business development for potential businesses moving to the area to know there is a strong arts group in our community.”

Tickets are on sale now for Foothills Community Players summer musical “The Music Man.” “The Music Man,” by Meredith Willson, is the fourth production in the second season by the FCP and will run July 2 through 4 and 8 through 11 at the Clayton Center for the Arts in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre.

Reserved seat tickets are available at the Clayton Center for the Arts Box Office. The box office is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tickets are $16 for a reserved seat, $14 for students and seniors (65 and over). The evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. on July 2, 3, and 8. The Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. on July 4 and 11.

Music director is Melony Maness, choreographer is Amy Moore Morton, and executive producer is Lisa Blair.

Information about this production and the FCP may be found at www.FoothillsCommunityPlayers.com.

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