Turlock Youth Performing Arts (TYPA) is making its grand return to the stage this weekend with three showings of Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” TYPA will be performing the iconic play at the Turlock Community Theater on 1574 E. Canal Dr. and it will be the first show the group has performed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday’s show will take place at 7 pm while Sunday’s will be at 2 pm
Tom Oakley is the director of the production. This is his third production with TYPA. He explained that the play takes place in River City, Iowa in 1912. A salesman named Harold Hill comes to the city attempting to con the city by promising to teach the kids in the town to play musical instruments to form a boys band. He gets the town to buy instruments and uniforms, but in reality, he doesn’t know anything about music as he is planning to get the people’s money and skip town. But during his time in River City, he ends up falling in love with a woman named Marian Paroo.
“Although everybody ends up realizing he was conning them, by introducing music to the town, he ends up changing the town for the better,” Oakley explained. “It’s a feel-good musical. You can bring the whole family.”
TYPA is made up of a group of volunteers and local students. Oakley explained that there have been around 35 students involved in the production, which began in late May. Of the 35 students, there are a handful who have already graduated high school but were given a chance to return because of the time missed due to the pandemic.
Seth Boice and Hanna Mangrum are some of the returning students, and it just so happens that the two have lead roles in the production.
Boice has been a member of TYPA for nearly 10 years and is playing the role of Harold Hill. He spoke about returning to Turlock to bring performances back to the big stage.
“Meeting new people and getting reunited with old friends is fun, but it’s equal parts exciting and nerve-racking,” he said “It’s really fun and there’s a lot to look forward to, but at the same time, there’s the nervousness building as we get closer to that first curtain opening.”
Mangrum has been a member of TYPA since she was eight and has returned to play the role of Marian Paroo. She shared similar sentiments as the group prepares to put on their first show for the first time in two years.
“Doing a show again and seeing everybody here happy is just so amazing. We’re anxious, but we’re excited. We’ve put in a lot of work and we’re just ready to show Turlock what we’ve put together,” Mangrum said.
Boice explained that the most challenging part of this particular production was the choreography.
“I’ve had experience doing a lot of different things, but choreography isn’t my strongest suit,” he joked. “We’ve put in a lot of work, lots of hours.”
Christina Rhoads is the choreographer of the show. She has been a dance teacher for nearly 30 years, but this is her first time working with TYPA. She explained that she reached out to executive producer Amber Traini during the COVID shutdowns and was immediately welcomed to the team.
“Amber responded right away and it’s been so exciting to work with this group,” Rhoads said. “They are so excited. It finally came together as a show, so they are just stoked to be performing this weekend.”
Traini believes that the long layoff and the choreography-heavy production has made the public showing so much more anticipated. made the group ramp up the practice time, which makes the public showings this weekend so much more anticipated.
“Considering this will be the first time the kids get to perform since 2020 and the hours and hours they put into this, it’s so special,” said Traini.
Oakley agreed, adding that the group has had to drastically ramp up practice time.
“At first, we only met two days a week for two hours, but with this show, there are so many lines to memorize so many dances to memorize. Usually shows take five months to get our stuff perfected, but these kids have done it all within hours,” he said. “We have a great team, great people working on costumes, great people working on the sets. It’s a true team effort. It takes a village to put something like this together. It’s going to be great to see it all pay off.”
Tickets for “The Music Man” will be sold at the door of the Turlock Community Theater, costing $12 per person. Advance purchases can also be made by calling (209) 380-5507.