"The Music Man" Takes the Stage at Schmeckfest

Last Updated by Michael Zimny on
Dick Carlson/Freeman Courier

This year’s Schmeckfest musical production of The Music Man debuted last weekend to packed houses and standing ovations. Since 1959, the annual Schmeckfest has celebrated the food and cultures of the Mennonite groups — Swiss, Low Germans and Hutters — that settled in the Freeman area. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Schmeckfest musical. 

Tim Waltner, Contributing Editor and longtime publisher of the Freeman Courier directs this year’s production. This will be Waltner’s ninth Schmeckfest production as director, and the 41st he’s been involved in. 

“I think [The Music Man] is a great choice,” says Waltner. “It’s been staged twice before, and it was very popular, so it’s kind of a throwback to a show that’s been well-received in the past.” 

The musical, written and scored by Mason City, Iowa native Meredith Willson, was a Broadway hit in the 1950s and 60s. The story, set in the fictional town of River City, Iowa in 1912, centers around a grifter named Harry Hill, who sells himself as a band organizer and music teacher in a scheme to hock some instruments and skip town. You’ll have to watch to see if Hill’s selfishness or the townspeople’s “Iowa nice” win the day. 

“[The Music Man] resonates very well with small towns,” says Waltner. "In this particular production, we have a lot of families involved. We have several where everybody in the entire family is on stage together. It really is family-friendly, both in terms of the performance, but also as far as the company, which I’m thrilled to see. We have a kid who turned six during our production, then we’ve got senior citizens on stage. We’ve got the full gamut. It really does tell a community story in the context of a community experience.”

“In addition to a company of close to 60 actors, we’ve got almost that many people working behind the scenes with costumes, sets, make-up, sound, lights and props. And it’s just a remarkable collaborative experience where people with many different skills and different talents are able to come together and do that. And that includes a 12-piece pit orchestra that’s just outstanding. It’s a great opportunity for people who have an interest in the arts, whether it’s dancing or sewing costumes or building sets, to come together and rally around a project, and that collaborative spirit is one of the most heartwarming things about the experience.” 

The first weekend was very well-received, with standing ovations both nights. Reserved seats for this Friday and Saturday night’s performances are sold out, but general admission tickets will be available at the door starting at 5pm. 

You can enjoy the play after a big German supper Friday or Saturday night. Both days offer historic presentations, demonstrations in traditional crafts and culinary arts and more.You can check out the schedule of events at www.schmeckfest.com.

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

2018 Sculpture Walk Installation

In The Moment ... May 2, 2018 Show 328 Hour 2 Visitors to Sioux Falls will soon be able to stand beneath a giant...

Kay Adkins Brown Discusses "Shapes & Shadows" Exhibition

In The Moment ... March 22, 2018 Show 302 Hour 1 Galen A. Brown's service in Vietnam informed 50 years of his art...

Students Make Art Real Through Poetry Out Loud

Shakespeare isn’t boring to Kassondra Gooley. The West Central High School senior talks about poetry the way some...

Photographer Paul Horsted

In the Moment ... March 12, 2018 Show 294 Hour 1 Photographer Paul Horstead discusses Custer's expedition, the...

Books

Read, Baby, Read: What's America's Best-Loved Novel?

In The Moment ... May 22, 2018 Show 342 Hour 1 What's America's best-loved novel? You get to decide. PBS launches...

Author Kirk Wallace Johnson's "The Feather Thief"

In the Moment ... May 1, 2018 Show 327 Hour 1 The centuries-old art of salmon fishing fly-tying has a dark side. It...

Jane Yolen Celebrates #Yolen365 And Counting

In The Moment ... April 26, 2018 Show 324 Hour 1 In March, author Jane Yolen released her 365th book. That means you...

Christine Stewart: 41st Great Plains Writers Conference

In The Moment ... March 21, 2018 Show 301 Hour 2 The 41st Great Plains Writers Conference kicks off on March 23 at...

Music

The Claudette's: Making Music In The Midst Of Crisis

In The Moment ... May 24, 2018 Show 344 Hour 1 The Claudettes play Total Drag Records in Sioux Falls, Saturday, May...

Corb Lund, Country Music, And Finding What's Real On The Road

In The Moment ... May 18, 2018 Show 340 Hour 1 Country musician Corb Lund visits South Dakota on the "Western...

Mr. Evans Leaves The Podium

In The Moment ... May 15, 2018 Show 337 Hour 2 After 40 years of teaching orchestra in Rapid City, Mr. William Evans...

Dr. Frank VanNuys

In The Moment ... May 2, 2018 Show 328 Hour 1 Who are you? Where do you come from? A new exhibit at the Journey...

Theater

Broadway Choreographer Chet Walker

In the Moment ... April 9, 2018 Show 311 Hour 1 The University of South Dakota Theater Department presents "Cabaret"...

Images of the Past: Stage To Screen

In The Moment ... November 27, 2017 Show 227 Hour 2 A new exhibit at the Old Courthouse Museum tells the story of...

Personalities: From Huron High to Broadway

Singer, actor, and teacher Joseph Mahowald graduated from Huron High School in 1977. He went on to study music and...

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...