DAMASCUS, Va. — Friendly, little Damascus is not exactly “River City.”
But it promises to be just that at Holston High School this weekend, when Damascus students stage “The Music Man” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Ticket prices are $5 adults and $4 for students, seniors and the military.
“The Music Man” tells the story of a lovable con artist who comes to small-town Iowa at the beginning of the last century, said Holston High chorus teacher Sue Spirup.
More than just the high school, other roles in this production have gone to students at Damascus Middle School and Rhea Valley Elementary School. “There are even some dads participating in one of the scenes,” Spirup said.
Jake Surber, an 18-year-old senior, plays the lead role of Harold Hill.
“I’m not a very charismatic person in real life,” Surber said with smile.
“But Harold, he has to be very charismatic to be such a good con man,” Surber said. “And he’s constantly squirming his way out of everything. And I really love that.”
In fact, Surber says he hopes some of Harold Hill’s charisma rubs off on him — “even though he is a con man and really screws people over,” he said with a laugh.
More chuckles came from his co-star, 17-year-old Jenna Greene, who plays the role of Marian, the librarian in River City, and 17-year-old Jason Boardwine, who portrays Marcellus Washburn.
“I don’t plan on conning anybody for a living,” Surber said. “But, yeah, I do want to be an actor. So I hope that this is kind of helping with my people skills a little bit. And I need a lot of that.”
Greene says she likes her role “because I can be kind of sassy, almost.”
Still, she laughs when asked if she’s sassy in real life.
“Not really,” Greene gushed with a grin. “Not to people I don’t know.”
Spirup says she chose “The Music Man” for Holston High School students because of “the talent that they have. It just seemed to fit them very well.”