Stage & Dance

Nifty new sounds for "Man' at 50

Paragon Music Theatre artistic director Ryan Shirar didn't notice that his theater was presenting a 50th anniversary production of Meredith Wilson's The Music Man until after he had scheduled the show for this spring.

That, to him, seemed to require something special. But what?

”Because it's a 50th anniversary show, I wanted to give it a new energy and vitality,“ Shirar says.

He gave it a soundtrack.

Of course, the show is chock-full of music in the musical numbers. Shirar decided to take that, and extrapolate some of Wilson's tunes and ideas into music that underscores numerous non-musical scenes in the show.

”It's the type of thing that film composers do, but doing it for live theater is much harder,“ Shirar says.

He started working on the project before the show was in rehearsals, so his original work involved reading the script and guessing how scenes would be paced.

In rehearsal, he has been playing the incidental music on piano. This week, the final element comes into play when the 15-piece orchestra for the show joins rehearsals.

”I wrote it to be flexible, depending on how the scene plays,“ Shirar says.

Another musical element will be the Lexington Christian Academy Marching Band for a final extravaganza.

Shirar says choreographer Diana Evans is a big fan of Susan Stroman, the choreographer of the hit 2000 revival of The Music Man, and the dancing will have some of her influence.