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Local Bowie Talent in The Music Man Make Bowie Proud

Feb 20, 2014 12:06PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Press Release: For Immediate Release by Rockbridge Academy, Millersville, MD

What: Local Bowie Talent in The Music Man at Bowie Center for the Performing Arts Make Bowie Shine
When: February 27-28 @ 7:30 pm & March 1 @ 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Where: Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, Bowie, MD

Submitted by Susi Hackman. Photos by Susi Hackman & Irma Cripe

Bowie - We've got Talent! Out of cast of 48, over 13 Bowie residents will be participating in the upcoming production of The Music Man at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts. The performance is being produced by Rockbridge Academy as part of their music/drama arts program and will run February 27th and 28th at 7:30 pm and on Saturday, March 1st with a 2 pm matinee and the final evening performance at 7:00 pm.

The Music Man centers around one character, Professor Harold Hill, a smooth-talking traveling conman who sells musical instruments and provides free lessons to seal the deal. The upshot is Harold doesn't know a thing about teaching music lessons. The unsuspecting folks who buy the instruments eventually catch on to him, and it's up to a judge and jury to try Mr. Hill for fraud. Along the way, there are many beloved songs to be played and sung, and a lot of dancing. The Music Man was originally a book coauthored by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey. It was adapted to a musical and became famous on Broadway in 1957, winning many awards, including five Tony Awards and a Grammy for Best Original Cast Album. Many further successes included a film version and a return to Broadway in 1980 and 2000. The Music Man is one of the most well-loved musicals in the world. This local production is under the talented leadership of Michael. J. McKenna, the school’s Headmaster. McKenna’s artistic staff includes head choreographer Mrs.Kellie DieKemper, and the orchestral conductor, Mrs. Mandy Ball.

Making The Music Man even more noteworthy for our local Bowie community is the Bowie talent that shines on stage as well as in the live orchestra. Three principal and three ensemble roles are played by young talented Bowie residents. Alexa Cripe, a senior at Rockbridge Academy, plays Marian Paroo, the sweet librarian who ends up falling for the traveling musical instrument salesman who comes to town to sell instruments, but ends up giving away his heart to Marian. Alexa dances and sings in 10 numbers, and shines even next to the charismatic salesman, Harold Hill, played by fellow classmate and senior, Schuyler Kitchin of Laurel. A gifted and talented actress and singer, Alexa is comfortable in lead roles and has lots of previous stage time with school productions and local community theatre. Abby Wallen, a 9th grader and Bowie resident, plays Marian's mother, who dutifully warns her daughter that Hill might just be Marian’s last chance for love, and encourages her to pursue his affections. Daniel Hollidge, also a senior and Bowie resident, plays Mayor Shinn, who does his best to convince the town that the trouble in River City IS the fast talking Hill.

For the Cripe family it's truly a family affair with mom, Irma Cripe, on cello and dad, Max Cripe, on french horn, and younger brother Ian Cripe, a 7th grader at Rockbridge, in the role of a salesman as well as part of the Barbershop Quartet. Several other Bowie musicians will contribute their talents to the orchestra as well, including violinist Bethany Haughey, a senior at Rockbridge, and adult musicians, Jerry Keehner, David Kucharski, Christin Vare, and Lloyd McKinney. William Swartz (4th grade) is the youngest Bowie resident and is cast as a member of the newly formed boys marching band created by enthusiastic Professor Hill.

Come on out, Bowie, and enjoy your talent! You will leave humming and whistling some great tunes and leave ever prouder of Bowie!

To purchase tickets for the show visit www.rockbridge.org.

Show times are as follows:

· Thursday, February 27th @ 7:30 p.m.
· Friday, February 28th @ 7:30 p.m.
· Saturday, March 1st @ 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Ticket prices are $16 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under.