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Tag: Musical

Poster promoting the Music Man at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod

The Music Man is sure to delight at the Empress Theatre

There’s trouble in River City — find out why at Empress Theatre’s spring production, The Music Man, running  June 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 at the historic Fort Macleod venue.

The musical follows travelling huckster Harold Hill, who arrives in sleepy River City, Iowa, to convince the locals to purchase uniforms and instruments for a boys’ band that Harold vows to organize — though 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 the librarian. 

“Choosing the play was the hardest part of this whole process,” says Maren Coates, the play’s director and a local drama teacher.

“I spent six months exploring shows I knew and shows I didn’t. I looked at small casts and large casts. Shows with children and without. I changed my mind several times,” she says.

“All the while The Music Man sat in the back of my brain. I kept telling myself why it might not work, but finally I thought, ‘It’s a show that’s just right for Fort Macleod.’ And it is.” 

The show became a hit on Broadway in 1957, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and running for 1,375 performances.

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Maren says the cast of 45 is huge, but “luckily for me, they are absolute geniuses to work with.”

“From the beginning they’ve been tenaciously happy and optimistic. Their excitement is contagious,” she says.

“Most of our cast and crew are from Fort Macleod, or Macleod alumni, with a few borrowed talents from Lethbridge, one from Claresholm and one from Crowsnest Pass.

“It makes me so proud to say that. Our town has been fighting hard in recent years to create a healthy theatre community and we’re well on our way! We’ve got a mix of kids, teens and adults, theatre veterans and newbies alike.” 

The cast and crew of The Music Man have dedicated an immense number of hours to the play. 

“Our scheduled rehearsal hours are around 150, but that doesn’t include the hours each cast member spends memorizing lines, running over their choreography or solidifying their harmonies,” Maren explains.

“It also doesn’t include the many hours spent by our choreographers, musical director, lighting designer, wardrobe crew or our stage carpenter, nor the months I spent researching and deciding on a show, plus my other director’s duties.

“I’d be hard pressed to come up with an accurate number of hours we’ve all invested in this show, but it’s not unreasonable to say we’ve definitely gone over a thousand.” 

The annual musical production is a fundraiser for the Empress. Performances of this year’s family-friendly show begin at 7 p.m., with a matinée performance on Saturday, June 15, at 1:30 p.m. 

Tickets cost $20 for adults or $10 for children and seniors, and are available online at or by calling 1-800-540-9229.

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