After two-year pandemic hiatus, Pueblo D60 Summer Musical returns with 'The Music Man'

James Bartolo
The Pueblo Chieftain
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Nicolas Roberts and Jonathan Dehn are directors of this years Pueblo School District 60 Summer Musical, "The Music Man."

While the Broadway show starring Hugh Jackman draws visitors across the globe, Pueblo School District 60 will be performing their own rendition of "The Music Man" for their summer musical July 16-21 at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center.

"The Music Man" is a musical comedy written by Meredith Wilson. It tells the story of Harold Hill, a traveling con artist visiting the town of River City, Iowa, in 1912. Hill collects money from small-town residents by pretending to be a children's bandleader.

Nicolas Roberts and Jonathan Dehn, two Pueblo South High School alumni turned Pueblo D60 administrators, are directing this year's Pueblo D60 Summer Musical. Both have experience as performers and directors in previous summer musicals.

"This is our 62nd year," Roberts said. "We are open to students in District 60 and 70. We get kids from Canon City. We also have students who are returning home for the summer from college."

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Mark Gomez plays Harold Hill in the 2022 Summer Musical.

Pueblo County High School junior Mark Gomez plays Hill in the summer musical production. As someone who is patient and reserved, Gomez said it was a challenge to play a pushy and conniving con artist. During rehearsal, he often found himself acting and behaving in a way that is the "exact opposite" of his true self.

"(Hill) tries to go around and make people terrified of their kids being corrupted by something and making it seem like they need a band in their town," Gomez said.

The greatest danger corrupting youth in River City that Hill can find is a pool table. Marian Paroo, a local librarian played by Pueblo South High School junior Taylor Filler, is initially skeptical of Hill's scheming but eventually finds herself falling for him.

"She is upset at herself for falling in love with him but she eventually accepts it and realizes that even though he has flaws, he is not as bad of a person as he initially looks," Filler said.

While Gomez and Filler have previous experience in the performing arts, they both are new to the Pueblo D60 Summer Musical. Summer Musicals in 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Performances of "The Music Man" will take place at 2 p.m. on July 16 and 17 and at 8 p.m. July 18-21. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased by visiting sdc-arts.org/performances or by calling 719-295-7200.

"I think it's super important for people not only to get involved in the arts but for people to attend and just support local arts," Filler said. "Honestly, none of us would have survived COVID with some form of entertainment and the arts industry is to thank for that."

Pueblo Chieftain reporter James Bartolo can be reached by email at JBartolo@gannett.com

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