The Triumvirate Theatre will put on a production of “The Music Man Jr.” this weekend and next, kicking off with a show for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s Dinner and a Show fundraiser on Friday.
Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo said the show is high-end, that it only runs about an hour long, and that attendees would be impressed by the musical talent of the young actors.
Rizzo said the “Jr.” distinction is a product of Music Theater International, which has taken classic musicals and created versions designed for performance by elementary to high school kids. These productions can be put on without an orchestra, among other shifts to make them more accessible.
The “Jr.” tag doesn’t mean it’s not still a difficult musical to put on, Rizzo said. This show was only possible because he had access to talented kids who could carry the complex music.
Though the show predates rap music, Rizzo said that would be the closest comparison, because it’s filled with so many syncopated rhythms and dense lyrics.
The lead role especially — Harold Hill — “is really demanding musically,” Rizzo said. But he said Nikiski Middle/High School sophomore Kyler Allen was up to it.
“I’d worked with Kyler last year, and he’s got that magnetic personality, and the musical chops to do it,” Rizzo said. “I love ‘Music Man’. It’s actually one of my favorite shows. If I get an opportunity to do ‘Music Man’, then I will do it. Kyler made that possible.”
The first performance of the “The Music Man Jr.” will be part of a fundraiser for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s Tyotkas Elder Center, called Dinner and a Show.
Brandi Bell, Elders & Transportation manager for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, said the Tyotkas Elder Center is raising funds to ensure they can help elders in different emergency situations immediately, even if they don’t qualify for other programs within the tribe.
“Our elders, they’re sometimes the most vulnerable in our community,” Bell said. “They just need a little extra help from time to time, and we’re really hoping that the community will pull together.”
Bell said the idea for the fundraiser was to provide dinner and entertainment, so she reached out to the Triumvirate because they’ve long been partners in the community.
There will be a sit-down dinner, with banquet tables set up facing the stage. Bell said there would be prime rib, salad, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages.
Rizzo said he was happy to help out with the event, saying the Kenaitze have long supported the Triumvirate. That the date lined up perfectly with the premiere of “Music Man Jr.” was icing on the cake.
Bell said this is the first event fully open to the public being held in the Kahtnuht’ana Duhdeldiht Campus. It will take advantage of the versatile Gathering Space. A stage will be set up, and the building’s Harvest Room will be used as a green room for the actors.
Bell said the goal was to entirely emulate the theater experience.
“The show will be fully immersive.”
“We’re hoping, definitely, that the curiosity of the building will bring more people over,” Bell said. “Like with the rest of the tribe’s programs, we work in partnership. The education campus was so gracious to open the doors for our elders program, as our space is just a little bit too small to accommodate the 200 people we anticipate coming.”
Premiering the show in a venue completely unfamiliar to the actors and largely untested for musical theater would be an unique challenge for the actors, Rizzo said. The kids won’t be as familiar with the spacing of the stage, the technology and the layout as they’re used to.
“’The Music Man’ is an impressive musical, always has been. For a lot of people, it’s one of their favorite shows. We’re gonna see a lot of people come out to the show just because they recognize the name,” Rizzo said. “I don’t think they’re going to be disappointed.”
Tickets for Dinner and a Show on Friday can be purchased by contacting Jessica Crump at either 907-335-7204 of email@example.com. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:15 and the show at 6:30.
After that opening, “The Music Man Jr.” will be playing at Nikiski Middle/High School on Saturday, then again next week on Friday and Saturday. All of these shows will be at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at triumviratetheatre.org.