Itching for some Broadway? Well, Ya Got Trouble coming, because St. Luke’s Theatre Company is presenting “The Music Man” this November at its Federal Way church.
This is the theatre company’s first large-scale, full-cast musical since the pandemic started. Ordinarily, the company puts on a large community musical every fall, but curtailed that show in 2020 due to safety concerns.
The following year, St. Luke’s put on a smaller cabaret-style show, which didn’t require having too many actors on stage at once. But with the state entering a new chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater company is confident that now is the time to bring back a full production like “The Music Man.”
“We knew we’d come back to it one day,” said director-chorographer Loretta Deranleau-Howard.
There won’t quite be seventy-six trombonists performing, but the production will involve a cast of about 45 and a production crew and band bringing the entire show up to around 100 volunteers.
This is Deranleau-Howard’s 12th show, and the second time St. Luke’s has performed “The Music Man.” That performance was the first show Deranleau-Howard had ever directed. (Previously she’d worked only as a choreographer or assistant director.)
Now, it’s back by popular demand: The theater regularly polls the public on what they want to see next, and “The Music Man” is always in the top 5, she said.
The performances are Nov. 4, 5, 11, 12 and 13 at St. Luke’s Church, located at 515 S. 312th St. in Federal Way. The Friday shows are scheduled for 7 p.m., and Saturdays will see two shows at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The final Sunday show is at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and can be reserved at https://bit.ly/3fDeKVS.
Amy Araucto will play Marian Paroo, the stern, shrewd librarian who plays foil to the charming, assertive huckster Professor Harold Hill. When Hill comes to the fictional River City, Iowa to find some marks for his latest get-rich-quick scheme, Marian is the only resident who sees through the act — but the two develop a burgeoning romance as they learn things about each other.
“I really see her as the antagonist of the show,” Araucto said. “She’s the one trying to stop the professor from getting what he wants. She’s constantly in his way. … But you don’t want her to come across as just bitter, or mean.”
This performance will be poetic for Aracuto, because she performed in a production of “The Music Man” at the age of 15. Now, 36 years later, she’s back and in one of the lead roles, and her own 10-year-old daughter is performing in the show this November too.
With time comes wisdom, and a richer perspective on “The Music Man,” which takes place in the summer of 1912.
“So much is different because I’m so different,” Araucto said. “I’ve gone from an idealistic kid to a wiser, more worldly adult. … I see the bigger picture. I see it for more than cute songs and dances. I see the tale, which is really about hope, and [how] being part of something can bring hope and joy to those around you.”
Though she’s an experienced actor with a BFA in musical theater, Araucto hasn’t been on the stage in 21 years — so it’s admittedly “terrifying” to be headlining such a huge production.
At the same time, it’s a gift to finally be able to participate in a big production again, she said.
“You don’t take it for granted anymore,” Araucto said. “And it kind of relates to the story, because you’re bringing something to the public that’s hopefully going to spread joy. … This is an incredibly talented cast and staff … who are donating their time and talent to bring this to the community.”
Carl Church, meanwhile, plays the confident, unflappable Harold Hill. He plans to swindle the people of River City, but it all starts to change when Hill meets Marian.
“He’s a no-good swindler, he comes in and tricks people, takes their money … but he falls in love, and that changes his life,” Church said.”
Church began acting after his time in the military, and has performed in roughly 20 plays with St. Luke’s. This is his third time performing the play, but the first time he’s played the lead.
Church jokingly admits he’s not like Hill at all: “I tried sales early on in my career. I wasn’t good at it.” So his process has involved a lot of research and watching other actors play the character.
“Theater has the capacity to bring people so much joy, and it was really missing from my life and a lot of people I know,” Church said. “So it’s a really huge relief to be able to put on a show and entertain people.”