Heights residents to perform in Cain Park production

Cleveland Heights resident Nicole Sumlin will play the lead role of Marian the librarian in Cain Park's production of "The Music Man in Concert." [photo courtesy Cain Park]

On Aug. 5 and 6, Cain Park’s Evans Amphitheater will be filled with the music of Meredith Willson’s "The Music Man," in a concert version of the musical featuring the Cleveland-based Contemporary Youth Orchestra (CYO). The production is directed by Joanna May Hunkins, with music direction by Jordan Cooper.

More than a dozen Cleveland Heights residents are set to showcase their talents on the Evans Amphitheater stage for "The Music Man in Concert," including leading female star Nicole Sumlin, who will portray Marian Paroo. The list of local preformers includes Sumlin siblings, August and Easton; Jeffrey Bendix and Joan Bendix; Maple Buescher; Courtney Foerg; Gabriel Mallamad;  Luca Mokotoff and Sienna Mokotoff; Julie Sabroff; Will Sanborn; Rosie Tilk; Cecilia Willets and Cordelia Willets; Grace Willmott; and Hannah Woodside.

Performances will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6. Also on Aug. 6, Bill Rudman of The Musical Theater Project will provide a pre-show talk for ticket holders, at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for Gold Circle seats, and $30 for other seats, reserved in advance. Ticket prices are $53 and $32, respectively, on the day of the show. Advance tickets for those 13 and younger are $25 (Gold Circle) and $15 (reserved); and $27 and $17 day of show. Children sitting on laps are eligible for free admission. No lawn seating is available for these concerts. Tickets are on sale at Cain Park (216-371-3000) and Ticketmaster.

"The Music Man" follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band he vows to organize—despite the fact he doesn't know a trombone from a treble clef. 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 the end of the night.

Meredith Willson's six-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy has been entertaining audiences since 1957, and is a family-friendly story to be shared with every generation.

Cain Park's production features CYO and Liza Grossman, CYO's music director, performing the music on the stage of the Evans Amphitheater while the actors stand in front of the orchestra singing the musical's timeless classics, including “Good Night My Someone,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “My White Knight” and “Till There Was You.”

The production's director Joanna May Hunkins has worked at Cain Park in various capacities over the past 20 years, most recently directing the critically acclaimed 2017 production of "Rock of Ages" and the 2015 production of "Godspell." She is also associate director of The Musical Theater Project. As a freelance director/performer based in Northeast Ohio, Hunkins has worked with Great Lakes Theater, The Cleveland Play House, Mercury Theatre Company, Ensemble Theatre and Beck Center, among others. She graduated from Baldwin-Wallace University with a B.A. in theater and completed the graduate studies program in arts management at The University of Akron. She also attended The National Cabaret Conference at Yale University, where she worked with multiple Broadway legends and Tony Award nominees.

Jordan Cooper, the production's music director, is the artistic director for Shining Star CLE 2017 and has worked at Dobama Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, Playhouse Square, Lakeland Civic Theatre, Cain Park, The Florida Repertory Theatre Company, Near West Theatre and the Cassidy Theatre. His favorite Cleveland theater credits include: "Next To Normal," "The Light In the Piazza," "Violet," "Into the Woods" (Lakeland); "The Toxic Avenger," "Godspell," "The Frogs" (Cain Park); "The Little Foxes" (The Cleveland Play House); "A Civil War Christmas," "Peter and the Starcatcher" (Dobama).

Sponsors for Cain Park's 2017 season include the Ohio Arts Council, Friends of Cain Park, Motorcars Honda/Toyota, Hyatt Place Legacy Village, and the Westin Cleveland Downtown. WCLV 104.9 is the media supporter for "The Music Man in Concert."

Cain Park, one of the nation’s oldest landmark outdoor theaters, entered its 79th season in 2017.

Jessica Rosenblatt

Jessica Rosenblatt is currently in her third season as public relations/marketing coordinator at Cain Park. A resident of Lakewood, she calls Cleveland Heights her "second-favorite home" in the summer.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 11:42 AM, 07.31.2017