DETROIT LAKES – It’s 1921 in River City, Iowa, and Harold Hill is about to take center stage.
It’s the familiar opener to “The Music Man,” one of America’s most iconic works of musical theatre. And while the “junior” version of the show won’t be as long as Meredith Willson’s original work, the core elements of the show, which runs at the Historic Holmes Theater July 21-23, will be the same.
“It’s a classic,” says Kendra Gilsdorf, who is directing her fourth summer musical for the Holmes Theater this year. “It’s been interpreted for generations, and it’s really cool to see how timeless (the story) is. It’s kind of like a warm hug.”
Ethan Hendrickson, who appears in his third summer musical at the Holmes, will play the aforementioned Harold Hill.
“Jenna (Deremer, who plays Marian Paroo, the female lead) told me I was going to do the summer musical this year,” he said with a laugh, but added that he didn’t. had no regrets. “It’s one of the best things I can do in my summer. I get to do all these fun things, with people who like to do the same things. It’s so awesome!”
Deremer, who is only appearing in her second summer musical at the Holmes, was equally enthusiastic about the experience. “I really like connecting with actors and directors.”
She added that she “really loves” her character, Marian, because “she stands up for herself and doesn’t let the locals get into her head or change her way of thinking.”
Although there is less than a week until the show opens, choreographer Hope Hansen is more excited than nervous about the idea.
“It’s (the show) really moving forward,” she said, adding that she thinks the cast will be ready to put on an impressive production.
“It’s set in 1912,” Hansen said, adding that it was “really fun to explore another era,” with all of its customs, speech patterns, clothing and attitudes.
And while, with 35 children in attendance, the show is their biggest undertaking yet, Gilsdorf and Hansen, along with musical director Nick Larson, feel up to the challenge.
“We really have a cast of dedicated kids,” Gilsdorf said, adding that even with a five-day break over the July 4 holiday weekend, they continued to show up to rehearsals flawlessly, Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. , since they began on June 20.
“This is our fourth year doing this together, and we’ve learned a lot,” Hansen added. “And we can feel the love…the support between the actors and the directors.”
“The pieces are starting to fall into place, and it’s exciting to see,” Gilsdorf said. “No one will want to miss this show.”
What: “The Music Man Jr.”
Where: Historic Holmes Theater, 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes
When: July 21 and 22, 7 p.m.; July 23, 2 p.m.
How: Tickets available online at
, by phone at 218-844-7469, or in person at the Holmes Box Office before the show. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students.