GERMANTOWN - Germantown High School's presentation of "The Music Man," may be bittersweet for students, but it's a necessity for the school's drama program.

The show, the last before the new performing arts center is built, will be at 7:30 p.m. April 7-8 and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9.

“I’m really excited about the new space," Director Heidi Salter said. "It’s long overdue that we have a better performance space for these students to learn about the business of theater and how theater works in a more state-of-the-art facility. I know for some of the students who are juniors and seniors that have been performing in the gym for the last few years that it’s bittersweet for them. Some of them wish they had had a better performance space to have spent their high school years, but they’re also sad because they have a lot of memories in that gym auditorium that they’ve accrued over the last few years."

Salter said next year's performances will be a little tricky, but a fall and spring performance will definitely happen.

"I don’t know yet when the auditorium is supposed to be completed, but we still plan on doing a fall and spring performance next year; it just may be in another part of the school," Salter said. "As soon as that auditorium is ready, we plan on a spectacular musical where we utilize everything we can in that new space.”

Salter and Music and Tech Director Jonathan Brooks selected the production last summer, long before they found out the $84 million facilities referendum — which includes the construction of the new center — had passed. The duo wanted students to perform a more well-known musical that would dazzle the audience.

"I’ve done "The Music Man" a few times in the past; actually Imagination Theatre did it probably eight years ago," Salter said. "Based upon the students that have been involved in the drama program at Germantown, the fact that it’s just a good classical musical that is known by a lot of people in the community, and that it has a lot of great musical numbers, catchy tunes and great dancing, we just thought it would be a perfect fit. We wanted to do a spectacular show that was more well known than the last couple that we’ve done at the high school. It’s always good to expose the students to classical musicals.”

"The Music Man" takes place in 1912 in River City, Iowa, when con man Professor Harold Hill, played by senior Emanuel Lopez, pretends to be a band leader and swindles the townspeople, who think they're forming a band, out of their money. The love story between Hill and town librarian Marian Paroo (played by sophomore Madison Van Allen) and the ultimate redeeming qualities of Hill bring the musical to life.

The show's high energy is one of the main reasons Salter said everyone should come out to see the show.

"People are going to have just a really fun experience," Salter said. "The show has so many wonderful, energetic musical numbers, and I think the students are really doing a superb acting job. It’s just a good way to support the theater community in Germantown, see what our young people have been up to and how important it really is to those students to be able to have a program like this at their school.”

The musical exemplifies why the performing arts is so rewarding for students, Salter said.

"My favorite part has been watching the students grow into their roles and growing more confident in their abilities as performers, singers, dancers and actors," Salter said. "That’s always the most rewarding part of working with high school students because they all have varying levels of experience with even something as little as public speaking. You always have a couple of students that are very shy and aren’t even comfortable with public speaking and they decide to get involved in a production at the school and it’s just wonderful to see them grow into more confident individuals. That's the best part about theater; it’s that individual way of helping to build confidence.”

More than 60 Germantown High School students make up the cast, crew and orchestra, and have been rehearsing Monday through Friday since they came back from winter break in January.

Oliver Kelley, 9, of St. Boniface School and Kennedy Middle School student Emily Molloy will join the high school cast and play the roles of Winthrop and Amaryllis, respectively.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. Purchase them at the door the day of the performance or online at www.ticketracker.com.

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