Community theater is making a comeback to Kirkland. The Kirkland Performance Center (KPC) is partnering with Studio East to present the first Kirkland Community Musical in more than 10 years.
“The Music Man” will debut at KPC on March 9.
“The Music Man” follows Harold Hill, a fast-talking traveling salesman, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he promises to organize. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.
Auditions took place in early January. David Bander, KPC managing director and co-producer, said he was “ thrilled” to have nearly 100 people audition.
“It far exceeded our expectations, and we had to add additional time slots, including an extra day of auditions. In the end, we cast 39 talented performers, many from Kirkland including Noel Barbuto and Savannah Lynn,” Bander said. “We hope to make this an annual event and look forward to furthering our partnership with Studio East.”
Samuel J. Pettit is the director and choreographer for this production of “The Music Man.” Pettit has been involved with theater since he was 11 years old. He has been working with Studio East for the past 15 years.
One of Pettit’s favorite aspects about “The Music Man” is it reflects more of the current time than it does of the time it’s set in.
“The musical first came out in a very different social time,” Pettit said. “This show has strong female characters who lose their agency and it’s great to interpret those characters and give their agency back.”
Savannah Lynn plays the role of Marian. An alum of Studio East, she heard of the production through Pettit. She and the rest of the cast have been rehearsing for the show for almost five weeks.
“The cast is just phenomenal. They’re so kind, supportive and truly talented,” she said.
Pettit mirrored Lynn’s sentiment.
“This really is a great cast and everyone is having so much fun with this,” he said.
Another Studio East youth alum, Elena Donley plays the role of Zaneeta Shinn.
“It’s been really great to work with adults,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to see the show come together and be able to share it with the community.”
Above all, members of the show are looking forward to making the community musical an annual tradition in Kirkland again.
“This community wants theater and we’ve had so much community support during this,” Pettit said. “The community has a genuine desire for this to work.”
“The Music Man” will be at KPC from March 9, 10, 15, and 16, with multiple showtimes. Tickets are $39 for adults and $24 for youth. Tickets can be purchased online at kpcenter.org.