The Play’s the Thing: Bloomfield Players Music Man runs January 23-31
Professor Harold Hill hits the stage, along with many talented locals, in theBloomfield Players’ The Music Man. | Suzanne Chessler | Contributing Writer
Cameron Klein, a fourth grader at Farmington Hills’ Hillel Day School, has been working on his lisp.
Not to lose one, but to gain one.
It’s part of taking on the role of Winthrop in the Bloomfield Players Community Theatre production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, being performed Jan. 23-31 at Bloomfield Hills High School. For details on performance times and ticket sales, go to http://www.bloomfieldplayers.org or call Call 248-433-0885, M-F, 8am-4pm.
“The stage is my favorite place to be,” says Cameron, who has been watching the film version of the musical to study the way young Ron Howard spoke the part. “I love sing ing, dancing, acting and making new friends with people in the show.”
Cameron, a redhead like his current role model, hopes to be on Broadway one day. His theater interest started before he started school — mom Lisa Klein heard his spontaneous singing and asked if he’d like to perform with others.
She signed him up at the Franklin Athletic Club’s Pint Sized Playhouse, and from there he went on to the Farmington Hills Youth Theatre and Sky’s the Limit Productions.
While Cameron feels singing and acting come naturally, he has taken dance lessons, participated in Roeper Summer Stock Theatre and will be going to a theater camp in New York next summer.
“I feel very free when I’m on stage,” says Cameron, who also has performed in Hebrew. “I like to be creative.”
Cameron is one of many creative members of the Jewish community who lend their talents to Bloomfield Players and The Music Man — each joins for a different reason, but all find a sense of extended family through theater participation.
Toby Gittleman, a sixth-grader at West Hills Middle School in
Bloomfield Hills, shares the role of Winthrop. He is joined in
the production by mom Stacy Gittleman, one of four gossipy
Pick-a-Little Ladies, who listen as con man Professor Harold Hill
(Udi Kapen) sells the townspeople of River City, Iowa, on a youth
The Gittlemans became involved with the company after
seeing an audition poster for last year’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. Toby auditioned and joined the cast. Now Gittleman feels so strong a bond to the company that she is now a board member at large and works on publicity for the productions.
“There’s a great bond being with people who love music,”
says Stacy, a contributing writer for the Jewish News and is a private bar/
bat mitzvah coach. “The theater group also is great for newcomers to the area looking to meet others.”
The Gittlemans, who moved to Michigan almost two years ago, share the satisfaction of meeting others with Alicia Harris, who returned to the state a year ago, after living on the East Coast for 22 years.
Harris works as a counselor and sings with the choir at Congregation B’nai Moshe in West Bloomfield.
“Although the music sounds simple in this play, the harmonies are complex,” says Harris, another
Pick-a-Little Lady, who was trained in theater at the University of Michigan.
“I love the singing, performing and the collaborating that is part of the staging.”
Leigh Moss, also a Pick-a-Little Lady and the romantic interest of Marcellus, a friend of Harold Hill’s, dropped out of theater at Berkley High School but is having fun with it now.
Even more fun for Moss, is being joined on stage by daughter Estee, a student at Bloomfield Hills Middle
School, who plays one of the townspeople. When she was 7, Estee, now 11, auditioned for a role in Annie,
and encouraged her mother to try out, too. The next year, the pair returned to the stage together in Oliver.
Estee, who has performed with Sky’s the Limit and Roeper’s summer program, sings in the Congregation
Shaarey Zedek Youth Choir.
Although Leigh, an attorney, has become used to making public presentations,\ this is a different ball
“My daughter gave me the courage to go on stage,” she says.
Debra and Mark Luria have been with Bloomfield Players since the start, for more than 25 years. First encouraging their two children, they are now on their own as Debra morphs into a Pick-a-Little Lady and Mark takes his turn as a salesman, the same part he was given for the company’s first production.
“I’m musical and love to dance,” says Debra, a psychologist and nurse practitioner whose husband is a
dentist. “This has been our family activity.”
Debra, who has sung with the Zamir Chorale and with presenters at the Birmingham Temple, likes
dropping into the different worlds depicted in plays. “They take you out of your own issues,” she says.
Udi Kapen, who sings about 76 trombones as the professor, describes being especially proud of a
The pediatrician, who has been appearing with the theater company for some 20 years, is in his sixth show with daughter Kayla, a Groves High School senior and cellist in her school’s orchestra. She portrays Zaneeta Shinn, the mayor’s daughter caught up in young romance.
“I bring some theatrical skills to my practice,” says Kapen, active with B’nai Israel Synagogue. “They’re icebreakers.”