NEWTON, NJ—The Halsted Players, which are comprised of 72 fifth through eighth grade students at Halsted Middle School, will be presenting The Music Man Jr. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The story follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band he vows to organize. The catch? He doesn't know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian Paroo, the town librarian, whose belief in Harold’s power just might help him succeed in the end in spite of himself.

The leading characters, Hill and Paroo are played by Ryan Penny and Naya Pereira. Other main characters include the Pick-a-little-ladies Alma, played by Madison Chymiy, Ethel, played by Ilira-Marsena Mecaj, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, played by Ella Molkenthin, Maud, played by Jenna Martinez, and Mrs. Squires, played by Christina Spinelli.

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There were 10 students as stage crew doing jobs from costumes, curtains, props, lighting board, and spot lights. Along 36 students who helped create the set design; 11 fifth graders, six sixth graders, 10 seventh graders, and eight eighth graders.

The play is directed by Meg Penny and Jocelyn Keppler. The musical Director is Kara Hartzell and set design and construction was done by Kate DelVecchio and Kyle Grymko, with lighting done by Thom Penny.

The Halsted Players would like to “thank the entire Board of Education, Dr. Kennedy Greene, Business Administrator Donna Snyder, Principal Kristi Greene, and Assistant Principal Angela Dunbar for their continuous support of the arts.”

In addition, for contributing to the production, the Players recognize:

Newton High School- for their generous loan of wireless microphones and costumes

Cornerstone Playhouse- for their generous loan of costumes and props

Newton Theater- for providing consultation and assistance with the sound system

Directors Penny, Keppler, and Hartzell added a few words bidding their eighth graders a farewell in their last production at Halsted.

“We hope each of you knows how very proud we are of you! Your hard work and dedication to the Halsted Players is what has made this show a success. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us. As you move onto high school, you will leave a void here in our Halsted Family, but we are so fortunate to have gotten the chance to share this experience with you. We wish you every success in your future endeavors, both on and off stage.”

The show will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 6 and Friday, April 7 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Admission is $5.