Fort Hays State University theater starts its season with "The Music Man"

Kate Rockey
Special to the Hays Daily News
Harold Hill, played by Braydon Boyer (center), leads the cast of "The Music Man" during rehearsal on Sept. 30 for Fort Hays State University.

With the school year in full swing, the theatre department at Fort Hays State University is preparing to present their first show of the season. On October 7-10, they are kicking off with their fall musical, "The Music Man." This iconic show by Meredith Willson won six Tony awards upon its Broadway premiere in 1957, including Best Musical.

The department puts on four major productions each year, with two during the fall semester and two in the spring. Following "The Music Man,"  Tomme Williams, Fort Hays' director of theatre, and Carl Sage, the school's technical director, are working together to produce Beth Henley’s dark comedy "Crimes of the Heart," which shows three sisters reunited in their Mississippi home under macabre circumstances.

The play will be performed from November 11-14. In the spring, Neil Simon’s farce "Rumors" will be put on stage from March 3-6. The play involves an anniversary party, a missing wife, a failed suicide attempt and a heaping helping of shenanigans. After this will be the opera, which has not yet been announced.

The schedule for these shows is quite tight. Even now, with performances for "The Music Man" still a week away, Williams has already cast the following play. The musical will ordinarily take six weeks for rehearsal before the performances, while the dramas only take five weeks.

“With the musical, there’s an extra week we spend choreographing and rehearsing the dance numbers,” said Williams. “I would like it if we had seven weeks or more, but there’s only fifteen weeks in the semester, so there you go.”

"The Music Man" will have three evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, with a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. The opera, performed in the spring, only has two shows, one on Friday and another on Sunday.

“It’s for [the performers] to rest their voices. Because they’re students and not at the Met in New York,” said Williams. “They’re not trained to have to strain their voices night after night. So they get a night off.”

Ticket prices for every show are $15 per adult and $10 for students and seniors. Season tickets are also available up to Oct. 7, the first performance of "The Music Man." Season tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for students and $30 for seniors, and they grant access to all four FHSU productions.