‘Seventy-six trombones’ storm the Civic

Published 5:07 pm Sunday, January 31, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Director David Case is no stranger to South Bend Civic Theatre, and his latest artistic contribution arrives with a parade in Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.”

This six-time Tony Award ­winning show has been a family favorite for more than 55 years and it will be performed from Jan. 29 through Feb. 21 in the Wilson Theatre. Tickets are available at sbct.org or by calling (574) 234-­1112.



“The Music Man” follows fast ­talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize — this despite the fact he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.

Case said he has always had a special place in his heart for “The Music Man.”

“It was in 1976, the bicentennial year, that I met my wife,” he said. “I was playing Mayor Shinn, and she was a ‘Pick A Little’ lady. Everyone was doing ‘Music Man’ that year. ‘Till There Was You’ was sung at our wedding, and it has always been our song.”

But the connection to the classic family musical does not end there.

“It was also the first show I did with my children. It was [the Civic’s] first time doing it at the Morris,” Cas said. “I played Marcellus and my kids were in the children’s ensemble. It’s funny and perhaps a little sad, but my children really hate the musical. I guess my wife and I liked the musical so much they got tired of it.”

Even so, Case is ecstatic to be leading the “Music Man” parade through SBCT, and he shares a fun fact with us that his oldest daughter wore her mother’s dress from the 1976 “Music Man” production they were in while in a production of “Oklahoma!” he directed for the Civic in 2002, almost perfectly commemorating the 25th anniversary of meeting his wife.

Artistic Director Mark Abram­ Copenhaver echoes the remarks shared by the director.

“The joy of offering a classic musical like The Music Man is that it allows one generation to rediscover a wonderful experience that they have had before, as well as sharing that theatrical journey and story with a new generation, whether children or grandchildren, who may not know the story and music,” he said.

The cast of volunteer actors is excited to be a part of David Case’s first time in the director’s chair for this musical that has played a major part in his own life.

“[The Music Man] has always been one of my favorite musicals. After seeing it many times and being in it three times, I still get goose bumps during ‘76 Trombones.’”