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Bus To Nature: Route 22

One afternoon on a leisurely walk in downtown Trumansburg Abel Bradshaw noticed a large wooden sandwich board announcing auditions for the musical “The Music Man” by Encore Players Community Theatre.  On a whim he decided to try out for the lead role of Harold Hill. He says it was a whim, but actually Bradshaw’s been preparing for the role since he was 11 when he saw the revival of the show on Broadway in New York City in 2000.

“My grandmother took me to see the play and it made such an impression on me I set out to memorize as much of the lines and songs as possible,” said Bradshaw. “I soon realized “The Music Man” was a favorite show of my family going back three generations and it turns out my father had also memorized the play.”

Bradshaw not only has the presence required for the role of the famed con artist Harold Hill, but the booming voice and singing ability to match. He studied voice at Berklee College of Music in Boston and plays the bass guitar in a band called the Newman Brothers.

“We knew the moment Abel started singing we’d found our Music Man and everything started to fall in place with casting the rest of the show,” said Encore Players Director Anne Bialke. “It was pretty obvious he has a passion for theatre and a strong background in music,” said Encore Players Music Director Alice Ploss.

The cast of 42 includes actors and singers of all ages, ranging from 9 to 80 years of age, and rehearses five days a week at the Trumansburg Conservatory. Such large musical numbers as Rock Island, Iowa Stubborn, Trouble and Wells Fargo Wagon involve clever staging and choreography.

“It’s a dream come true to be in “The Music Man” with such a talented group of people (directors, actors, costume and crew members) and I’m planning to dedicate my performances to my late grandmother,” said Bradshaw.

The Music Man is family entertainment at its best. Meredith Wilson’s six-time, TONY Award winning musical comedy has been entertaining audiences since 1957 and is a family-friendly story to be shared with every generation. 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, 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.

Tickets for Encore Players “The Music Man” are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors at the door or available online (processing fee) at the website Performances run July 30, 31, Aug. 1 all at 7 pm and Aug. 2 at 3 pm. and will be held at the Charles O. Dickerson High School Auditorium (an air-conditioned venue), 100 Whig St., Trumansburg, NY. Encore Players Community Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization. Charitable contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.