Local teens make magic in Westland Lutheran’s ‘Music Man’

Photo by Sue Suchyta. Rebekah Preiss (left), 17, of Dearborn Heights as Marian Paroo, does her best to resist the charm of confidence man Professor Harold Hill, played by Brandon Kruger, 18, of Ann Arbor in “The Music Man,” which runs March 11 to 13 at Westland Lutheran High School, 33300 Cowan. For tickets or more information, call the school at 734-422-2090 or go to lhwl.lhsa.com.

Photo by Sue Suchyta. Rebekah Preiss (left), 17, of Dearborn Heights as Marian Paroo, does her best to resist the charm of confidence man Professor Harold Hill, played by Brandon Kruger, 18, of Ann Arbor in “The Music Man,” which runs March 11 to 13 at Westland Lutheran High School, 33300 Cowan. For tickets or more information, call the school at 734-422-2090 or go to lhwl.lhsa.com.

By Sue Suchyta

“The Music Man” showcases the talents of local teens in the upbeat musical, which runs 7 p.m. March 11 and 12, and 4 p.m. March 13 at Lutheran High School, 33300 Cowan in Westland.

Tickets are $5. To order, or for more information, call the school at 734-422-2090 or go to lhwl.lhsa.com.

Samantha York of Dearborn, an LHS alumna, and a recent Wayne State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in acting, directs and choreographs the show, with John Boonenberg of Dearborn as the musical director.

Dearborn Heights resident Rebekah Preiss, 17, plays the leading lady role of Marian Paroo, with Brandon Kruger, 18, of Ann Arbor as her leading man, Professor Harold Hill.

Dearborn residents in the show include Andrew Bunge, 16, as Tommy Djilas; Tatiana Bunge, 14, in the ensemble; Luis Mario, 10, as Winthrop Paroo; Mara McMahon, 18, as Ethel Toffelmier;  Joey Seta, 16, as Charlie Cowell; and Laura Sillanpaa, 18, as barbershop quartet member Jacey Squires.

Also in the cast are Makayla Wyly, 16, of Taylor as an ensemble member, and Ian Haas of Inkster, an actor at the Players Guild of Dearborn, as barbershop quartet member Ewart Dunlop.

York said she enjoys seeing the energy that her students employ to bring their characters to life.

“Quite a few of them are wanting to go into the performing arts as a career,” York said. “They want to take it seriously. They are at that age where they understand how to be ‘pushed.’
“With high schoolers, they want to learn and they want to grow, and I am seeing them grow every single week that we rehearse this.”

Boonenberg said “Music Man” is one of his favorite shows, and it is fitting that the school, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary at its current location, should reprise the first musical they performed here.

He said his students were unfamiliar and hesitant with the show at first.

“They were like ‘What is this? My parents like this,’” Boonenberg said, “but it’s such wonderful music, so vibrant, they have really fallen in love with it.”

He said the cast’s hard work and preparation has been a joy to follow and the show is a blast to watch.

“With everything we’ve been seeing in the news lately, it’s been so nice to come here and have this, where it harkens back to a simpler time,” Bonnenberg said. “There is some innocence that is really endearing, and I think really speaks to people in this day and age, too.”

Preiss, a senior, said she was very excited to be cast in her first leading role.

“I like that she is a lot like me,” Preiss said. “She is kind of quiet and reserved, but then during the show, Harold gets her to open up, and it just makes me really happy. I feel like I can connect with her a lot.”

She said she reminds people that “Music Man” is a classic that isn’t done as much any more.

“It’s got a good meaning to it,” Preiss said. “You can apply it to your life. It’s really pretty, and it’s a love story.”

Kruger, a senior and president of the thespian society, said “Music Man” is his 12th show at LHS.

“Drama’s been just such a large part of my life, and I just wanted to go out with a bang this year,” he said.

He said Harold Hill is a fun character, with a soft side and a playboy, business man side.
“He tries to get Marian a bunch of times,” Kruger said. “I just love the fun spirit that he brings with it.”

York said “Music Man” is a classic musical.

“The music just makes you want to get up and dance,” York said. “Come and enjoy a great night of theatre with us, and we’ll put on a great show for you.”

CABRINI PRESENTS ‘THE ADDAMS FAMILY’

“The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy” will be performed by Cabrini High School at 7:30 p.m. March 10 to 12 and 3 p.m. March 13 at Cabrini Parish Center, 9000 Laurence in Allen Park.

Tickets are $10, with a $4 discount for students and seniors.

The cast includes Allen Park residents Grace Szabo, and Jillian Fenton, 18, as ancestors; Dearborn residents Monica “Nic” Allen, 16, as an ancestor, Timothy Allen, 18, as Fester Addams, Graham Clark, 17, as Mal Beineke, and Joseph Lennon, 16, as Lucas Beineke; and Dearborn Heights residents John Adamkiewicz, 16, as Lurch, and Julia Crognale, 16, as an ancestor.

Also in the cast are Lincoln Park residents Mackenzie Lebioda, 13, as an ancestor and Lexi Zelenak, 16, as Wednesday Addams; Madison Beason, 16, of Riverview as Alice Beineke; Southgate residents Brendan Fix, 12, as Pugsley Addams and Madison Sukel, 15, as Grandmama Addams; Taylor residents Abigal Orr, 15, as Morticia Addams, Nathan Sandusky, 17, as Gomez Addams and Jonah Sobczak , 14, as and ancester; and Julian Campitelle, 16, of Inkster as an ancestor.

DYPAC ALUMNI PRESENT ‘CLARISSA’S CLOSET’

A group of alumni actors from the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center are introducing the magic of live theater to area schools in February and March with “Clarissa’s Closet,” a story about an imaginative girl with a loving family but a very messy room.

Holly Eggleston of Southgate plays Clarissa, with ensemble members Craigy Carrico of Detroit, Eric and Julienne Floetke of Brownstown Township and Molly Zaleski of Southgate.

A public performance will be held at 2 p.m. March 5 at the Trenton Village Theatre, 2447 W. Jefferson in Trenton.

Tickets to the 70-minute show are $7, and available online at dypac.com.

SCP ANNOUNCES ‘GUYS AND DOLLS’ CAST

Southgate Community Players announced the cast of the Frank Loesser musical “Guys and Dolls” last week.

The show will run at 8 p.m. May 6, 7, 13 and 14 at Davidson Middle School, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.

For tickets call 734-282-4727 or go to scponstage.com.

Directed by Phillip Rauch of Southgate, the show features the vocal direction of Jerry Wesselman of Trenton, orchestral direction of Rich Alder of Westland and choreography of Tina Brow of Brownstown Township.

The leads include Rob Douglas of Browntown Township as Sky Masterson, Chris Rollet of Southgate as Nathan Detroit, Tamara Marla of Southgate as Sarah Brown and Holly Knick of Allen Park as Adelaide.

Supporting players include David Buhr of Allen Park as Harry the Horse; Cindy Turgeon of Riverview as Agatha, and in the Mission Band; Southgate residents Alan Asher as Angie the Ox and Logan Laflin as Benny Southstreet; Adam Carey of Taylor as Nicely Nicely; Larry Rockensuess of Trenton as Arvide; and Lonnie Curri of Wyandotte as General Cartwright.

Also in supporting roles are Gage Shomsky of Brownstown Township as Rusty; Christopher Gawel of Detroit as Big Jule; Karlene Szekely of Ferndale as Martha, and in the Mission Band; and Rick Town of Flat Rock as Lt. Brannigan.

In the Mission Band are Pam Sych of Allen Park, Victoria Kesler of Trenton, Charlene Bauer of Woodhaven and Karen Conner of Wyandotte.

The Hot Box Girls include Bethany Wagner of Belleville; Kiera Woodman and Taylor Yaeger of Brownstown Township; Erika Repasky of Grosse Ile Township; and Lauren Crossman of Rockwood.

Others in character ensemble roles include Matt Vasquez of Lincoln Park; Bristyn Nadeau of Newport; Sarai Niebrzydowski of Rockwood; and James Williams of Southgate.