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For my birthday this year, I wanted to do something special and unique, and Arena Stage’s First Rehearsal Presentation of The Music Man seemed like a good fit. From the moment Molly Smith, the Artistic Director of Arena Stage, started the presentation, I knew I had chosen my birthday event wisely. From the very beginning of the presentation, she highlighted the relevence of this show at a time when arts funding, in particular funding for arts education programs, is diminishing.

Molly Smith elaborated that Arena Stage’s production of The Music Man will showcase the beneficial impact the arts can have on a community. Many other creative team members spoke about their part in the production, also mentioning how the show would center around a theme of the positive effect arts programs can have on a community. Furthering this theme, the creative team decided not to set the show in a specific time period, but rather an undefined time in America’s past. Even though I performed the role of Amaryllis when I was younger and saw The Music Man on Broadway, I never thought of the show as relevant today until I attended the First Rehearsal Presentation at Arena Stage. When I saw Molly Smith’s inventive production of Oklahoma at Arena Stage, I knew she was an incredibly smart and talented artistic director, and her choices for The Music Man have confirmed this opinion. For example, she is planning to have marching bands from local schools perform at the curtain call of as many performances of The Music Man as possible.

As a student studying arts administration and learning about the significance of the arts industry, I was ecstatic to hear Molly Smith discuss the influence Arena Stage would like this show to have in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond. Given the increasing cuts in arts funding, this is an ideal time to present Meredith Willson’s beloved musical, and I hope this production can start a discussion about the need for arts funding in Washington, D.C. and the rest of the country. Arts funding, especially for arts education programs, is a cause I deeply support, and in reverence of Arena Stage’s production of The Music Man, starting next month, I already have tickets to see it five times. Since the first month of the run is sold-out, I highly recommend you get tickets to this show ASAP.

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