Clive LePage, a sophomore at Hanford High, is livin' the dream, baby.
Well, sort of.
The sophomore nabbed the role of Mayor Shinn in the school's production of The Music Man, which opens Feb. 3 in the high school auditorium, and he couldn't be happier.
He says playing the bumbling mayor of River City in the popular musical has been great fun.
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"Mayor Shinn is a character you love to hate," he said. "And I love giving the audience someone to despise."
LePage doesn't have a violent nature -- he just likes the challenge of pretending to be an obnoxious person.
"It isn't very often you get the opportunity to raise your voice and let loose all the anger in public," he said. "But with The Music Man, I get to do just that. Technically, I'm really the good guy in the musical, but Professor Harold Hill is the one who wins over the audience's hearts."
The plot centers around con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys band organizer and leader selling band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town with the cash.
But when he makes a stop in River City, Iowa, to once again scam the unsuspecting townsfolk, the town's prissy librarian and piano teacher Marian Paroo sees through him.
Then the unexpected happens and Harold falls for Marian, but to win her heart means he will expose his shady dealings. So he decides to help her younger brother overcome his fear of social interactions due to his lisp, and that's when Marian begins to fall in love.
Hill is played by senior Garrett Lander, a veteran of more than 10 Hanford High plays.
"I love the songs I get to sing as Harold," he said. Especially, when that slimy shyster-turned-decent-dude character sings, 'That's trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool.' "
Brenna Feeney, a senior, plays Marian the librarian, who she describes as "proud, kind and intelligent and a little shy."
This is not Feeney's first lead character since joining the drama department at Hanford as a sophomore.
"My first Hanford show was in the third grade when I was little Cossette in Les Misérables," Feeney said. "I'm from Pasco, but after that show, I made sure I came to Hanford to be in its theater department.
"I adore The Music Man's infectious and original music. It's one of the few shows that combines memorable melodies and interesting rhythms."
Matt Leggett directs the drama portion of the musical by Meredith Willson. The show's vocal director is Kelly Brown with Kelsey Wehner as choreographer and Kevin Swisher as orchestra director. Deb Donahoe is the costumer.
Leggett says The Music Man is much more than a story about a town in trouble.
"It's also a love story against its will," he said. "Both members of the romantic couple resist falling in love in their own way."
But it's a community coming together in a joyous chorus of musical self-expression that ends up winning the day.
Performances for The Music Man are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3-4 and 10-11 with a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 11. Tickets are from $10 to $12 and are available at the high school, 450 Hanford Ave., or Adventures Underground in the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org