(Editor's Note: Victoria Kisling is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern for TAPinto North Plainfield.)
NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The North Plainfield High School Drama Club’s spring production, The Music Man, was held March 23 through March 25.
The Music Man, a 1957 Broadway musical by Meredith Wilson, centers around Professor Harold Hill, a conman who comes to the town of River City to scam money from people by posing as a musician and band leader and convincing parents to buy instruments and uniforms for their children. While he tries to fit the part, Harold, in truth, does not know how to play or read music. It isn’t long before Marian Paroo, the town librarian and music teacher, sees right through his gimmick leaving Hill to choose between his scam and winning Marian’s heart.
NPHS’s 2017 production of The Music Man was directed by drama teacher Leeanne Chiaramonte and conducted by choral music teacher Amy Six.
“Every year, Mrs. Six and I sit down and bring a bunch of suggestions to the table. I then order perusals from the companies that hold the rights to the rights to the plays,” said Chiaramonte. “After I read the perusals and debate the viability of each production we narrow down our selections.”
The Music Man was selected last fall and auditions were held in December. Cast rehearsals started when students and staff returned from winter break and, over the weeks leading up to opening night, were held five, sometimes six days a week and lasted two to seven hours, depending on the day. The crew, also comprised of students in all grades, joined three weeks before the show was to take place.
The Music Man featured students in ninth through 12th grade as well as adults showcasing their musical talents on a variety of instruments. Additionally, the show featured a large cast with lead roles held by sophomore Christopher Monrroy as Harold and junior Jasmine Lattimore as Marian.
“This is only my second musical with North Plainfield High School and I’m really happy so many people had great things to say about it. It makes the late nights and Saturday rehearsals really worth it,” said Lattimore, adding, “And I’m so proud of the cast for working together so well...I’m sad it’s over, but I’m looking forward to next year’s show and hoping it’s just as good if not better.”
“There were so many memories created throughout these three months of hard work, and I’ll never forget being a part of something so fun and special,” added Monrroy.
This year, tickets to the NPHS spring production were $8 for students; $10 for adults with the drama club selling $5 tickets the week prior to the show. Proceeds from the show go to fund the drama club and their future events. Additionally, during intermission at the March 24 show, a raffle was held with four lucky audience members winning gift certificates raffled off to some of the businesses who advertised in the play’s program.
“Normally, program ads are purchased through cash or check; this year, two of our ‘sponsors’ paid in gift certificates, which we cannot deposit into the drama account,” said Chiaramonte. “Thus, we thought it would be fitting to give back to the community and give the audience a little bit of fun in the process.”
While the drama club’s spring show is an anticipated event for the school and North Plainfield community, it is also an emotional time for the drama club, especially the seniors as it signifies their last major performance as NPHS students.
This was especially true for senior cast members Emily McGrath and Aurelia Polly, who have both performed in the school’s spring musical every year since they were freshmen. “I’m so happy with how the show went and I’m so proud of the whole cast. I’m going to miss being part of the drama club family, but I’m so excited for them,” said Polly.
McGrath, who is also president of the drama club, said, “The people in drama club are all so closely knit and it will be hard to leave them, but I know they are all going to do great things and carry on the legacy of the club.” She continued, “The show wouldn’t be what it was without the dedication and talent of each cast and crew member, and I think I speak for everyone when I say our hard work paid off.”
Chiaramonte agrees. “The performances were wonderful, the cast and crew worked extremely hard, and their dedication, enthusiasm, and talent was evident each night. I could not be more proud of the wonderful students involved in this year’s production…” she said, adding, “To the seniors, I sincerely hope they continue to use their star power in some manner as they move on to their next chapter in life.”
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