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Friday December 3rd

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East Chapel Hill High presents 'The Music Man'

Tonight, East Chapel Hill High School is saving souls.

The school’s music theater program is performing Meredith Wilson’s classic musical “The Music Man.”

The remaining showtimes are are tonight and Saturday. Tickets are $8.50 in advance at or $12.00 at the door.

“The Music Man” is a classic American musical about Harold Hill, a con man who travels to River City, Iowa, to sell instruments while posing as a band director.

He soon meets Marian Paroo, the city librarian, and unlikely love blooms.

Paroo, who had ceased to enjoy life since the death of her father, begins to see the color in the world around her through art.

“Art can save your soul, hoorah,” said Hope Hynes Love, artistic director at East Chapel Hill High.

Each year, East Chapel Hill High School performs a spring musical, ranging from religious and cultural-based social dramas such as “Fiddler on the Roof” and satires such as “Chicago.”

The school was even performed the regional premiere of “Save the Robots,” a sci-fi robot pageant written by a UNC graduate.

To add both foundation and diversity, Love said she was urged to choose a classic American musical this year.

Love said she wants to provide her students with a foundation of influential musicals, and firmly believes that “The Music Man” is a must-see for anyone wishing to be well-versed in musical theater.

“It’s like saying you like R&B and rap, and someone asks you if you like LL Cool J’s old stuff and you ask, ‘LL who?’” she said.

“‘Music Man’ is still influencing the form because it’s that good.”

With a theatrical production program whose goals are rooted in diversity, development and community, the classic, Love said the family-friendly musical was an obvious choice for this year’s performance.

“A classic musical is like a great Chanel design,” Love said.

Lead actress Laura Bevington, an East Chapel Hill junior, said she vouches for this.

Bevington portrays librarian Marian Paroo and said “The Music Man” was the first musical movie she had ever seen.

Performing since age 5, Bevington said she was excited to become part of something she has known for so long.

“I’m holding myself to the standard of Shirley Jones,” Bevington said, hoping to meet her own expectations in the second lead role of her career — especially one so personal to her.

“It’s very uplifting and a lot of people’s lives aren’t necessarily uplifting,” she said.

“I hope that we can bring art and color into their lives, like Herald has done for River City,” she said.

The production company said they want the audience to leave affected by art, as the musical’s characters are.

For Love, art and imagination are what allow people to believe in their dreams.

“We need imagination,” Love said.

“It’s how we survive as mortal creatures.”

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