Don’t miss seeing the final performances of “The Music Man” at Liberty Theatre this Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 30, at 2:30 p.m. Once again, the cast and crew have created an amazing performance of a much-loved classic. (JR Chaney photo)


Liberty Theatre’s “The Music Man” includes familiar stars, such as Erica Taylor, left, and Mikaela Sons, right, but also many new up and comers, such as Isaac Dougherty, middle. (JR Chaney photo)


Clint Dougherty takes the stage as Prof. Harold Hill, co-starring with Mikaela Sons (above) as Marian Paroo. Pictured (at top) with Clint is Josh Osborne, portraying Marcellus Washburn. (Megan McAdams photos)


Some of the spectacular music heard during Liberty Theatre’s “The Music Man” comes from this harmonious quartet of Bill Victor, Cameron Victor, Bradley Sheeley, and Kyle Fitzgerald. (Megan McAdams photo)


Eliciting many laughs throughout the play are Kristi Spellman as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn and Ryan Harms as Mayor Shinn. (Megan McAdams photo)


It doesn’t take much imagination for theatre goers to view Deputy Rick Sons as Constable Locke. He’s always on duty. (Megan McAdams photo)


Around 200 people packed the seats at Liberty Theatre this weekend to watch an amazing cast perform “The Music Man” at the Atchison County Memorial Building in Rock Port, Missouri. Singers, dancers, actresses, and actors of all ages brought the Tony Award-winning musical to life.

“The Music Man” follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill (played by Clint Dougherty), as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a band that he vows to organize – this, despite the fact that 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 Paroo, the librarian (portrayed by Mikaela Sons) who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.

From the first note and harmonious chord, the audience was spellbound. Although it’s definitely not a secret, it’s worth continually mentioning that Liberty Theatre truly has some of the best performers and singers the Midwest has to offer. It may not be a “Broadway” stage, but any of our stars could wow those crowds as well.

In a twist this year, one of the orchestra members, Payton Beucher, did double duty, playing an instrument and then leaping up onto the stage to portray Charlie Cowell, a ticked-off member of society hoping to out Harold Hill as a scammer. His angry rages were superb and it’s clear he is a multi-talented performer, even though this was his first acting gig.

Clint Dougherty is no stranger to the stage, having acted, sang, and danced his way across the Liberty Theatre stage in 10 previous productions. No matter what character he’s playing, it’s easy for the audience to forget it’s Clint on stage and not Harold Hill, or Shrek, or Gomez, or Sebastian, or Lumiere. He fully takes on the role and his singing voice is one to get lost in, as we all did in his performance of “Seventy-Six Trombones” and his duet in “Till There Was You” with Mikaela Sons.

Although he’s not one who seeks the limelight, it never fails to shine on Ryan Harms in whatever role he takes on. His performance as Mayor Shinn was hilarious and had the audience rolling. Mayor Shinn’s cohorts, Jacey Squires (Bill Victor), Ewart Dunlop (Cameron Victor), Oliver Hix (Bradley Sheeley), and Olin Britt (Kyle Fitzgerald) were easily tricked by Harold Hill to always start singing and harmonizing like a barbershop quartet, and the audience didn’t mind it one iota. Their harmony was sweet to the ears and their antics provided lots of belly laughs.

Equally, Kristi Spellman’s performance as Mayor Shinn’s wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, had the audience cracking up. She clearly embodied her character and her own humor poured through. The laughs were added to as her own “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little” and “Goodnight Ladies” Mrs. Squires (Tyne Chaney), Ethel Toffelmier (Halee Jeffries),  Alma Hix (Kaci Jones), and Maud Dunlop (Kendra Johnson) sang and “danced” their way across the stage with her.

The Paroo family included well-known stars of the local stage and some newcomers. Marian Paroo is played by Mikaela Sons and her mother, Mrs. Paroo, is portrayed by Erica Taylor. Both women have been stars on the Liberty Theatre stage for 16 years and never fail to bring their characters to life through words and absolutely amazing singing. If there is a high note, they can hit it time and time again and there is never any question that they can play whatever character is assigned to them. Erica even added an Irish lilt to her performance as Mrs. Paroo. It’s truly a pleasure to watch and listen to these ladies year after year. The new star of the family was Isaac Dougherty, playing Winthrop Paroo. Although he has been in two children’s productions at Liberty Theatre, this was his first time taking a starring role with the adults. It’s very clear he earned his spot. Portraying a kid with a lisp, Isaac also performed most of the song “Gary, Indiana” by himself and nailed it.

And of course we must mention that it’s so perfect to have an officer of the law – Rick Sons – playing an officer of the law – Constable Locke. He easily takes on the role and convinces the audience he’s “still on duty.”

Other performers of note were: Kinsley Nuckolls as Amaryllis, who had several great lines and laughs; Austin Helfers’ performance as Tommy Djilas and Claire Spiegel’s portrayal as Zaneeta Shinn were also a hoot and  both have continually shown that the kids can hold their own on the Liberty Theatre stage; Isabella Kroeger is another youngster holding her own and growing up on the Liberty Theatre stage, this time playing Gracie Shinn; although Josh Osborne’s performance as Marcellus Washburn was his first on a Liberty Theatre stage, he’s no stranger to acting, having performed in several productions in the Peru Theatre Company; and adding to the musical as the River City Kids ensemble with their beautiful singing were Audrey Dougherty, Lucy Hayes, Elaina Kroeger, Frank Kroeger, Claire Miller, Kennedi Seiter, Arianna Shimmel, and Sophia Storm.

The crew consists of Amy Sweets, choreographer; Leah Skorupa-Mezger, costumes; Jan Carpenter, stage/prop manager; Scott Deatz, set builder/sound engineer; Abbie Harms, set design/painting; and Molly Carpenter, lighting designer. Those sharing their musical talents in the orchestra include: Devon Sons, conductor; Jordan Andrews, piano; Amanda Sheeley, Payton Beucher, Maddie Fenimore, and Julie Hurst, reeds; Abby Palmer and Paige Rodewald, trumpet; John Salehi and Kristen Lucas, trombone; and Andy Wiederholt, bass.

The Liberty Theatre will present “The Music Man” again Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29, at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, June 30, at 2:30 p.m. The Liberty Theatre is located inside the Atchison County Memorial Building, 417 S. Main, Rock Port. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. For more information, call 660-744-5599.