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“Music Man Jr.” at Christian Life School

A Meredith Willson Broadway classic is on stage this week for two more performances at Christian Life School.

“The Music Man Jr.” is the school edition of the musical, telling the story of con man Harold Hill, who poses as a band organizer to sell band instruments and uniforms to townsfolk. Performances are 4 p.m. Thursday (April 25) and 6:30 p.m. Friday (April 26) in the Journey Church Auditorium, 10700 75th St. Doors open 30 minutes before the show, and there is also a visual art walk displayed in the lobby.

Jeanne Olsen, the school’s drama teacher/director, said the show — which had two performances last week — is the second production at the school to use a new LED wall to create backdrops on the stage. “It’s an incredible option to have,” Olsen said.

The LED backdrops were first used in November for the school’s production of “Pride and Prejudice.”

For that show — and now “Music Man Jr.” — Olsen worked with art teacher Janine Strickland.

“I can’t express enough thanks to Janine Strickland for the beautiful backdrops,” Olsen said. “When I first came to her in desperation during rehearsals for ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ she jumped in to figure out this new technology. “For that show, we used black-and-white drawings on the center LED wall only. For this show, she added watercolor and stretched the design across the columns as well, increasing the difficulty. But it’s so impressive.”

For this show, “we also added a moving element — the scrolling landscape behind the ‘train,’” Olsen said.

Also assisting in the production are Lighting Designer Elliott Kness and Christian Life art student Kate McGuinness, who assisted with the detailed Main Street image seen on stage, Olsen said.

The show debuted on Broadway in 1957, transporting audiences to River City, Iowa, in 1912 when Hill arrives in the town with lots of promises.

Since that first hit production, the stage show has toured the U.S. and was revived on Broadway and adapted into a 1962 film and, later, a 2003 TV film. The show remains a popular choice for high school, college and community theater productions.

Olsen said she “respects this story about the power of belief, the power of forgiveness and the power of the arts. The whole town gets behind Harold (Hill) because he inspires them to believe in themselves and in their children.”.