Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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‘The Music Man’ to march across stage

Talent, costumes, props enhance famous musical production

Students and adults alike will perform, with costumes and props setting the scene, when the “The Music Man” comes to town this weekend.

Gothenburg High School’s choral department will present “The Music Man” this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“The props and costumes authenticate the musical,” said director and music teacher Ernie Blecha. “They create the scene, an atmosphere so you feel you’re there. It’s much more real.”


Dudley Elementary students will wear band uniforms GHS bought in 1948. Plumes, which will be inserted in current band hats, were rented from Wesleyan University’s theatre department as were many of the costumes the audience will see on stage.


Boys, in the band uniforms, will hand out programs while an on-stage boys band will don uniforms from Peru State College.

Some of the props and costumes are from days gone by in Gothenburg.

A wedding dress, worn by Romaine Aden’s mother (Alvina Aden), will grace the stage. Although the musical takes place in 1912, Blecha said Aden was married in the gown in 1932.

And from the local Dala Horse Antiques store, Blecha discovered a hall tree, a “Home Sweet Home” picture and a love seat that owner Judy Stubbs is loaning the department.

Blecha said a pump organ, students used in last year’s musical “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” has been flipped around to resemble a piece of furniture.

A player piano, used in the production, is one he bought last fall in Lincoln and refinished this past year. Two rolls came with the piano, one that includes “Columbia the Gem of the Ocean,” that plays during a Fourth of July scene in the River City school auditorium.

Because of royalties the school must pay to use the material from the Broadway classic, plus costume, backdrop and sound expenses, Blecha said the production is more expensive than some in the past.

Beefed-up sound, from the rental of 24 additional microphones, and the expertise of Bob Westbrook from Arnold who will operate them, will amplify student voices, he said. The school is also renting sound equipment from Yanda’s Music & Pro Audio in Kearney.

Blecha said audience members will recognize popular songs, such as “76 Trombones” and “Gary, Indiana,” and fun dances that sophomore Shaylee Scott (Ethel Toffelmeier) helped choreograph.

Another highlight is a barbershop quartet, made up of adult singers Noel Jacobsen, Dennis Clark, Rodney Brooks and Matt Groenke, who are part of the play.

The men also portray members of the school board.

Blecha said he hopes the community will come and support the students, who are elementary to high school aged.

“These kids are tremendously talented,” he said. “Most schools our size don’t even do musicals.

“People who come won’t be disappointed.”

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