'The Music Man' comes to life in summer production at the Civic Center

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − There is a tradition in musical theater productions called "hide the bone" in which at least one actor intentionally is kept out of sight during large numbers to the greatest degree possible to obscure his or her lack of competence as a singer, dancer or both.

Randy West, the director of the Sandstone Productions and Four Corners Musical Theatre Company production of "The Music Man" running this weekend and next weekend in Farmington, says that tradition was deemed unnecessary for this show.

"There is no bone to hide in this case," he said. "There's nobody I'm not delighted to have the audience see at any given moment."

That development is all the more impressive, given the fact that "The Music Man" features a cast of 42 actors and is the largest show the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company has mounted since it was launched in the fall of 2019.

Shannon Cochran and Matthew Aaron are featured in the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company production of "The Music Man" at the Farmington Civic Center.

The company's development has been somewhat slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But with this show – and the two other productions scheduled for this summer – West said he believes the company is hitting its full stride.

"It's the most expensive total musical theater package we've ever done," West said, describing that the elaborate costumes and lighting that will complement the actors. "I'm just really thrilled to get to share this show with Farmington."

The cast includes company veterans Matt Aaron and Margaret Clair, as well as other professional actors from around the country who have become regulars in Farmington over the past few years, including Shannon Cochran. It also features a number of experienced local actors such as Paul Stewart III, Melissa Stewart and Gareth West.

The show itself features some of the better-known tunes in the Broadway canon, and West noted it's a challenging production because it includes four "ballets" – that is, stories that are told through dance, as he described it.

Virtually every actor in the show is included in those numbers, meaning the entire cast had to be multitalented as actors, vocalists and movers.

"It's a big, physical, fun, dance show," West said.

Paul Stewart III, left, J.D. Warren, Tanner Berry and Kevin Rains perform a scene from "The Music Man," which opened this week at the Farmington Civic Center.

While the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company presents shows year round, the summer season is special because it takes place outside and features an intense schedule – three productions over a two-month period. And it provides the local actors who fill out the large casts with the chance to work side by side with highly accomplished actors with national profiles – a dynamic that West hopes will help cement the bond between the company and the city.

West said he wants to see Farmington embrace the Four Corners Musical Theatre Company the same way it has the Connie Mack World Series – as a core element of its identity.

"This is the kind of program that can define you culturally in the summer," he said. "We hope it's going to grow into that."

"The Music Man" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18 and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 19 at the Farmington Civic Center, 200 W Arrington St., in Farmington. Performances continue June 23-26. Visit fmtn.org or call 505-599-1148 to purchase tickets, which are $18 for adults and $14 for students, seniors or members of the military.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect the correct venue.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com.

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