‘The Music Man’ has redemptive theme

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Nowhere else can you see the theme of redemption more clearly than in a musical.

In the first act of “The Music Man,” written by Meredith Willson, Professor Harold Hill tricks the people of River City into shelling out money for a fake boys’ band. But in the second act, the redemptive theme that a trio of Catholic homeschoolers saw in the story of Professor Hill becomes clear.

Join director Barbara Schwartz, choreographer Diane Spinelli, and leading actor Lewis Bliss as they take you through the story of Professor Hill in the musical, “The Music Man,” presented by Metropolitan Homeschool Productions (MHP) from June 21-24 in Alexandria.

Schwartz, a member of St. Leo the Great Parish in Fairfax, is a theater professional who has directed homeschool theater for 19 years. What she saw in “The Music Man” was the redemptive story of Professor Hill, who, although trying to “soak the townspeople for nothing but his own profit, inadvertently loosens people up. They find joy together while Hill falls in love for the first time in his life.”

Schwartz’s goal in choosing this play was to bring something unique to these homeschooled students and to expose young people to the dignity of great storytelling. In the end, she believes that in this musical, “everyone is changed for the better. There’s hope for even the most immovable, even the most broken of us.”

Spinelli, a member of St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Springfield, agrees with Schwartz and thinks that, "Good art encourages awe, which ultimately leads to the adoration of God." A professional ballet dancer with the Houston Ballet for eight years, she connected with Schwartz when MHP first started in 2014. Spinelli choreographs “The Music Man” to reflect the changes that happen in River City, with “a few rousing dance numbers as the townsfolk become more personable and vulnerable with each other.” She thinks that in this musical, “Human weakness and poignancy are intertwined.”

Hill is played by Lewis Bliss, who also attends St. Raymond of Penafort Church. Homeschooled his entire life, this is Bliss’ second musical with MHP. Bliss considers it a dream role. “I get to show what he has inside of him, because ultimately that’s what’s going to drive his decisions,” he said.

Bliss thinks the most important decision Hill makes is to find his peace “in truth — admitting that he’s broken, and that he’s playing a role.”

Bliss hopes to show the audience a good lesson about redemption and the peace that’s found in truth.

“Catholicism is instilled in everything that I do,” said Schwartz. “The plays always have a really positive message, which means that they’ll always revolve around love, and love is God.” Professor Hill in “The Music Man” shows the audience that there’s hope for all, even a con man.

Auclair is a homeschooled student from St. Michael Church in Annandale.

 

If you go

 

Buy tickets in advance at metropolitanhomeschool.org.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018