Continuing to foster the talents of Bartow’s youngest thespians, The Grand Youth Theatre is gearing up to present “The Music Man Jr.” The production will be performed two nights — Friday and Saturday at 7 — at The Grand Theatre, 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville.
“‘The Music Man Jr.’ tells the story of con artist Harold Hill and his attempts to convince the small town of River City, Iowa, that they desperately need a boys’ band,” said Kristy Montgomery, The Grand’s program director. “While this con has worked in many previous towns before, allowing Harold to make off like a bandit with all of the money before the townspeople realize they’ve been had, something catches Harold by surprise in River City and makes it so his foot gets caught in the door. This classic show has a variety of parts available, which makes it a good choice for a large cast.”
Comprised of 40 members, ranging in age from 7 to 18, the cast of “The Music Man Jr.” is led by Kevin Barnhart as Harold Hill and Jordan Shaffer as Marian Paroo.
“This time around, we have more students involved than ever before,” Montgomery said. “… Some of our performers have been onstage since they were very young, while others are celebrating their very first show.
“We hope the cast enjoys the experience and wants to participate in future activities, like our summer theater camps or acting classes. We also hope they take away a new set of friends and found family.”
For 17-year-old Barnhart, portraying Hill in “The Music Man Jr.” is an “enjoyable” challenge. A junior at Cartersville High School, he is no stranger to the local arts scene.
“I’ve been involved in theater since I was 4 years old,” Barnhart said. “Both of my older brothers participated in a variety of programs, including ACT I and the drama program at Cartersville High. I’ve also been involved with camps at The Grand for many, many years.
“Harold is interesting to play because he’s not really a great guy, but he has to be really likable and charming to pull off his scams. That makes him really unique to play because he’s kind of the villain of the story while also being the protagonist of it. It’s been really enjoyable to tackle such a classic but different kind of character.”
Tickets for “The Music Man Jr.” cost $10 and are available at the door or in advance by calling 770-386-7343 or visiting The Grand’s Ticket Office through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.
“The Grand Youth Theatre was built to provide more opportunities for young people to get involved in theater,” Montgomery said. “Cartersville has a wonderful collection of programs, and we believe that students should have as many different opportunities as possible to engage in what it’s like to be onstage.
“Our overall purpose is education. The awesome show that comes out of the process is just icing on the cake.”