Theater to present 'The Music Man' Jan. 30 to Feb. 8

Sometimes it takes a liar to help people find their true selves.Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Below: The Corbett Childrens Theater cast is ready to present The Music Man for a series of performances beginning Friday, Jan. 30.

That’s the message behind “The Music Man,” which tells the story of fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band he vows to organize, despite the fact he doesn't know a trombone from a treble clef.

Corbett Children’s Theater stages “The Music Man” at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30 and Feb. 6; 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 7; and 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 1 and 8.

The 48-member cast and five-member crew will present its production in The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale. Admission is $10, $7 for students and senior citizens. For more information, vist the Corbett Children's Theater page on

CCT members range in age from 7 to 18 and note they are excited to perform the classic 1957 Broadway musical, which was turned into a 1962 film starring Robert Preston as Hill and Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo, the librarian who wins his heart.

“I personally like watching the town grow during the course of the story,” says Ashley Isaac, 18, a Corbett resident who is part of the Pick-a-little Ladies chorus. Folks in River City were “just kind of living but they’re not happy while they’re doing it,” until Hill rolls into town.

Having worked as a stagehand and sound mixer on a number of CCT productions, Isaac says she enjoys being in front of the audience this time.

“I’m not a very loud person so I’m not the best actor,” she says. “I like being part of the background more and doing that stuff, it’s easier for me.”

Stage debut

Alex Johansen, 16, a Corbett High School junior, plays Jacey Squires, who owns the town livery stable and belongs to a quartet. A member of his school’s choir, Johansen says this is his first time in a play, and he enjoys using his talent in a different setting.

“It’s pretty easy, but it’s a little challenging to learn all the music at first.”

He also says audiences will most enjoy “the subtle comedy” of “The Music Man.”

“The people in the town don’t think that they are funny, but they really are funny and weird," he says.Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Left: Sunny Isaac, left foreground, and Alex Johansen sing in the Corbett Childrens Theater The Music Man.

Ashley McGown, 14, an eighth-grade student at Advanced Christian Academy in Gresham, plays Beatrice Eaton, a “silly goofy party girl” who’s “always looking for something fun to do.” She says being in theater “gives you character onstage and off.

“It gives you confidence to speak out for yourself.”

She adds that “The Music Man” is a lesson in how people can fulfill their potential.

“It’s a small town, and the people are quiet and reserved all to themselves,” she says. “It’s interesting how one con man can change that.”

That’s a point echoed by Angel Williams, who co-directs the musical with Don Norlen.

“I tend to be a rule follower,” Williams says. “This show helps people like me realize we can keep our homes safe and we can keep our lives safe but not follow the rules so closely.”

Graduate returns

The show also is a chance for one CCT alumna to reconnect with her past. Choreographer McKenna Peterson, 23, a stage manager and dancer, was in CCT until she graduated from Corbett High in 2009. She says she enjoys being an adult overseeing a wide range of young actors.

“It’s kind of inspiring watching those kids forming those bonds,” she says, adding it’s also teaching her how to manage young people.

“There’s a variety of them. They all have different needs, and they all communicate a little differently," she says.

On that note, McGown says the camaraderie of the cast and crew is one of her favorite aspects of Corbett Children’s Theater.

“It’s a chance to make new friends and experience new things,” she says.

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