Wilton Children's Theater presents 'The Music Man, Jr.'

Thanks to Wilton Children’s Theater (WCT), the story of con man and traveling salesman Harold Hill is coming to Wilton the weekend of March 14.

The Music Man Jr. — an adaptation of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man — is the second of WCT’s two 10-week productions put on during the school year.

Music Man Jr. is the first classic musical that Wilton Children’s Theater has done in over two years,” said Sheila DeFelice, who is producing the production with Cara Calabrese.

For four years, Ms. DeFelice has been a member of the WCT Theater Board, which is composed of 22 volunteers.

Ms. DeFelice was chair of the theater group’s costumes committee for two years and has been producing shows for the past two years.

In order to be in a production, children must be residents of Wilton and in grades four to eight.

“Our cast is picked on a lottery system because there is a maximum number of kids we can have in each show,” said Ms. DeFelice. “We always have more registrants than spots.”

Fifty-three children were chosen to be in The Music Man Jr.

“The entire cast was asked to sing, dance and recite dialogue at the initial audition,” explained Ms. DeFelice. “Then several children were asked to attend a callback so our professional could evaluate them more closely for some of the named roles in the show.”

The Music Man Jr. is directed by Ginny Ruggeri and choreographed by Sandy Ross, with music directed by Al Galletly.

Nine children landed leading roles in the production:

• Liam DeFelice as Harold Hill.

• Ainsley Kohler as Marian Paroo.

• Riley Sexton as Marcellus Washburn.

• Thomas Solecki as Winthrop.

• Allison Farago as Mrs. Paroo.

• Alexander Stroup as Mayor Shinn.

• Jocelyn Dahl as Eulalie Shinn.

• Callie Drake as Amaryllis.

• Brian Calabrese as Charlie Cowell.

For 10 weeks, the cast rehearsed three times a week from 4:30 to 6:30 in the Middlebrook auditorium, with four days of rehearsal the week of the show.

“It’s been amazing to watch the kids singing and dancing in a show their parents and grandparents grew up with,” said Ms. DeFelice. “They all seem to love being part of it.”

Ms. DeFelice said working around the weather was a big challenge.

“All the snow has caused school closings and forced us to either cancel or try to reschedule rehearsal time,” she said.

Parents, WCT board members and high school WCT alumni have volunteered to help with the production, said Ms. DeFelice, adding that WCT President Sally Healy and Vice President Christina Colbert have provided constant support.

Ms. DeFelice said WCT’s mission is to give children the opportunity to not only experience and participate in theater but also enjoy the camaraderie of working with children of varying ages in a nurturing, enriching and creative environment.

“I believe all the cast members experienced what we set out to provide for them,” she said. “The kids are so talented and we are very proud of them.”

Show dates and times for WCT’s The Music Man Jr. are:

• Friday, March 14, at 7:30.

• Saturday, March 15, at 4.

• Sunday, March 16, at 2.

Tickets may be purchased at Middlebrook auditorium today, March 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. for $12, or for $12.60 online at wiltonchildrenstheater.org/tickets. Tickets will also be on sale at the Village Market through March 14 from noon to 2, and March 15 from 10 to noon.

Information: wiltonchildrenstheater.org/the-winter-show-2.