Brothers portray Harold Hill in Epiphany Lutheran Church’s ‘Music Man’



A pair of brothers share the plum role of iconic salesman Professor Harold Hill in Epiphany Lutheran Church’s production of Meredith Willson’s classic 1957 musical comedy “The Music Man,” slated July 14-24.

Bobby Morgan, 25, and John Morgan, 22, are eager to offer their own spin on Hill, the smooth-talking con artist who unexpectedly decides to visit the small town of River City, Iowa circa 1912. Selling band instruments is his primary goal but the sketchy plan evolves into a tricky game as lies told to the community and love developing for librarian Marian Paroo humorously and endearingly intertwine.



“At heart, I believe Harold is a good person,” Bobby said. “There was something in his past that caught his attention and gave him a passion for music but perhaps his dreams clashed with reality, and he had to become a salesman. He’s a con man but there is a genuineness underneath.”

“Harold Hill is a dream role for me,” John echoed. “I grew up with the show and I’ve always felt drawn to Harold. There are so many elements to his personality, but over the course of the show he becomes an upright citizen.”

Presented by the Epiphany Players Drama Ministry, “The Music Man” is the troupe’s 31st annual summer production. The drama ministry previously staged the show in 2006 under the direction of longtime leader Kay Frances Wean, who passed away in 2011. Bobby has fond memories of the production having made his musical theatre debut as Winthrop Paroo, Marian’s shy brother forever changed one day by the arrival of the Wells Fargo Wagon.

“‘The Music Man’ was the first musical I ever did,” Bobby said. “It’s a full circle experience to now play Harold Hill. Kay was a loving, nurturing influence who also demanded the best and brought out the best in all of us. She was an amazing teacher, an amazing friend, who inspired everyone, including our director Jackie Randall, who is similarly inspiring.”



Randall, who studied musical theatre performance at the University of Wyoming and was involved in the Epiphany drama ministry as a child, says “The Music Man” has endured due to the strength of the material. A fan of the original Broadway cast recording featuring Robert Preston and Barbara Cook, she is ensuring the colorful characters do not become frivolous caricatures.

“This show and its characters are well-written,” Randall said. “The characters are very true of themselves. It’s easy to do a disservice to the show by making them caricatures and not delving deeper into who they are and why they are the way they are. It’s easy to brush this show off as just a love story with a band, but it’s a lot more than that because it’s about various relationships.”

Willson’s luminous score includes “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Goodnight, My Someone,” “My White Knight,” “Trouble,” and “Till There Was You.”

Randall directs a large, 50-member cast. The principal roster, including double-casting per Epiphany tradition, features Megan Rehberg and Bridget Miley as Marian, Alex Fry as Marcellus Washburn, Sandy Schwartzwalder as Mrs. Paroo, Arlo Larson and Noah Mullen as Winthrop, Leah Kay Russ and Sadie Hornick as Amaryllis, Brady Kress as Mayor Shinn, Margie Stoller as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, Sophia Harvey as Zanetta Shinn, Olivia Crinion and Adlee Albright as Gracie Shinn, Patrick Comunale as Tommy Djilas, Leighanna Hornick as Alma Hix, Courtney Collinsworth as Maud Dunlop, Gabby Casto as Ethel Toffelmier, Cathy Long as Mrs. Squires, Bob Gray as Constable Locke, Todd Campo as Oliver Hix, Grayson Reynolds as Jacey Squires, Eric Strange as Olin Britt, Larry Klueber as Ewart Dunlop, and Philip Smyth as Charlie Cowell.



The Morgan brothers have appeared together in numerous Epiphany productions including last year’s outstanding “Bright Star,” directed and choreographed by Wean’s daughter, Megan Wean Sears. They insist there is no sibling rivalry, and the rehearsal process has been meaningful and productive.

“We are different people, we have our different interpretations, but at the end of the day, we’re still brothers and we love to come together and have fun,” John said.

“We’ve been able to really help each other out and build our roles.” “We’ve been supportive of each other because we both wanted the role,” Bobby added. “We’ve been in shows together before but this time there has been a shift in how we are working together. ‘The Music Man’ is such a joyful musical. (Considering) the pandemic and political turmoil, I think there is real value to doing a show that can remind everybody about the value of community and the good things that (arise) when a community comes together.”


What: “The Music Man”

Where: Epiphany Lutheran Church, 6430 Far Hills Ave., Centerville

When: July 14-24; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays

Cost: $15-$20


FYI: John Morgan will portray Harold Hill on July 14, 16, 22 and 24. Bobby Morgan will portray Harold Hill on July 15, 17, 21 and 23.

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