Cast preps for 'The Music Man'

Published 11:21 pm Monday, April 23, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Atmore Rotary Club members got a sneak preview of the Greater Escambia Council for the Arts (GECA) musical, Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man," Tuesday afternoon during their weekly meeting.
Karl Robinson plays the main character of "The Music Man," Harold Hill. Robinson took time at the Rotary meeting to give a plot description before performing different scenes from the musical. In the musical, Hill promises town members from different towns band instruments and uniforms. After he takes the townspeople's money, he leaves town before the individual's get their merchandise, trying to con them out of all their money.
"We are taking bits and pieces of the play to perform," Robinson said. "I play Harold Hill, who goes from town to town selling band instruments although he doesn't have any idea about music."
Also, Robinson gave Rotary members the opportunity to be active during the performance, allowing them to act as members of the town Hill is attempting to con.
"You are going to be the townspeople of River City, Iowa," Robinson said.
Members got to sing along to "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean" and "76 Trombones."
Robinson has been in many GECA performances including roles in "Annie," "Oliver," "Titanic" and "A Christmas Story." Robinson is the branch manager at Atmore United Bank and has been a GECA member for seven years.
Mike McMorris is Mayor Shinn in "The Music Man." He believes "The Music Man" is better for individuals to watch rather than other things they could be watching at their homes.
"I believe in the vision of GECA," McMorris said. "A lot of the stuff that comes out of our TV sets is stuff we shouldn't really be watching. This is really like a story of redemption, how the conman is coming to town but he gets changed at the end."
McMorris joined GECA in 2005 when he was in the play "Titanic." He has also performed in "Miracle on 34th Street" and "Hello Dolly." McMorris is the preacher at Robinsonville Baptist Church in Atmore.
Emily Moore is playing Ethel Toffelmier. In the musical, Hill's friend from the past came to town and started dating Toffelmier. Moore has enjoyed practicing for this play, she said.
"Professor Hill's old sidekick came to town and is her (Toffelmier's) boyfriend," Moore said. "I get to do a lot of dances in this musical and it's a lot of fun."
Moore has been in "Little Women," Hello Dolly" and "Winnie the Pooh." She is in the 10th grade and is home schooled. She is the daughter of Harry and Joanne Moore.
Some of the other main characters in "The Music Man" include Marion Paroo, played by Sherrie Hursh; Mama Paroo, played by Sharon Poulsen; Winthrop Paroo, played by Dan Johnson; Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, played by Venia McMorris; Marcellus Washburn, played by Jeffrey Huber; Zaneeta Shinn, played by Ellen Johnson; Tommy Djilas, played by Joseph Billy and Amaryllis, played by Dana Hursh.
Sherrie Hursh starred in the first GECA performance, which was "The Sound of Music." She has also been in "Oklahoma" and "Miracle on 34th Street." She has directed radio dramas "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause" and "Miracle on 34th Street."
Sharon Poulsen is one of the leading ladies of GECA. She's performed in several musicals including "Oklahoma," "Titanic," "Little Women," "Hello Dolly" and "Godspell." She choreographed the GECA performances "Oklahoma" and "Titanic."
Dan Johnson is in the fifth grade at Brewton Middle School. Johnson has been a chorus member in several GECA musicals and he acted in "The Christmas Story."
Venia McMorris is the wife of Mike McMorris and she has performed in GECA's rendition of "Hello Dolly."
Jeffrey Huber has acted in "Fiddler on the Roof" and "You Can't Take It With You." He also has been behind the scenes, working backstage, in several productions. He won the Best Actor Award during GECA's Children's Theater Workshop last fall.
Ellen Johnson is in the 10th grade at T.R. Miller High School in Brewton and has acted in nearly every GECA performance since its beginning, including "The Sound of Music," "Annie," "Godspell" and "Winnie the Pooh." She has participated in the Alabama All-State SSA choir and the Alabama All-State Show Choir.
Joseph Billy, also a 10th grader at T.R. Miller High School, has performed in "Peter Pan," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "You Can't Take It With You." He took part in the Alabama All-State TTBB Choir at Samford University this past year.
Dana Hursh acted in "Miracle on 34th Street," "Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause" and "Little Women." She is in the 4th grade and is home schooled. Hursh's debut was when she was 18 months old in "Lil' Abner."
Kate Sherrill, GECA publicity officer, encouraged everyone at the Atmore Rotary Club meeting to attend the musical.
"We really hope you'll come because a lot of time and effort has been put in by the actors," Sherrill said. "It's going to be a great play."
The musical will be at Flomaton High School April 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at Annie's Community Cub, The Atmore Advance and "Atmore News." The tickets cost $5 for children under the age of 12 and $8 for adults.

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