Archived news releases
FATHER, SON AMONG VETERAN MUSIC MAN PERFORMERS
Jonathan Luginbill and his father, Doug, are experiencing a role reversal.
Their switch didnt happen instantly or overnight, courtesy of some supernatural, made-for-the-movies phenomenon. This one was 32 years in the making.
In 1980, as a high school junior, Doug Luginbill sang in the barbershop quartet in "The Music Man" at Pandora-Gilboa. As a Bluffton University junior this year, Jonathan is following in his fathers footsteps as a quartet member in the Bluffton production of the Meredith Willson musical. In fact, the younger Luginbill says, "I think I have his part," as second tenor Ewart Dunlop.
At the same time, Doug, now of Bluffton, is among the community members in the cast as a townspersona role his son filled seven years ago in a Maize (Kan.) Community Theater production when the family lived in nearby Wichita.
The Luginbills are two of several cast members who are returning to River Citythe fictional Iowa setting of "The Music Man"when Bluffton presents the musical at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 3-5, in Founders Hall. Tickets are $13 for reserved seats and $5.50 for general-admission bleacher seats; they may be purchased on the web, at http://tickets.bluffton.edu, or by calling the university box office at 419-358-3239.
"That was the first big show I was in," recalls Doug Luginbill about his "Music Man" experience in high school. But it wouldnt be the last for the current Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio administrator, who was in two at Bluffton"Shenandoah" and "The Mikado"before graduating in 1985.
"I just remember how challenging some of the barbershop music was," adds Luginbill, who, in addition to a townsperson, will be a newspaper-holding traveling salesman in the opening train scene this time around.
His son knows about that barbershop music now, toohe and fellow quartet members Joe Wilson, Jared Hudson and Lucas Fullenkamp have been working on it a lot, he says, to sharpen their harmonies.
The community theater production following his eighth-grade year in Kansas was the first of about 10 shows in which Jonathan Luginbill has now acted. Its the first with his father, but also marks the continuation of a tradition they started when Jonathan was a Bluffton freshman two years ago. Before their joint appearance in "The Music Man," they sang together in annual university events the last two years, first in the 2009 performance of Handels "Messiah" and, last year, in the Bach Festival concert.
Jonathan Luginbill says he looks forward to seeing how the universitys production will differ from his previous experiencea sentiment echoed by Bluffton resident Dan Stanowick, another townsperson/traveling salesman in the show.
"Everyone knows the show," says Stanowick, who was in it both at Medina (Ohio) Highland High School and just last month at Columbus Grove High School, whose choir director is a friend and needed a tenor for the quartet. "The fun part of seeing The Music Man is seeing whats different about each production."
For university sophomore Eliot Nofziger, one difference is going from playing the pompous politician Mayor Shinn at Archbold High School in 2009 to the role of town troublemaker Tommy Djilaswho is secretly dating Shinns daughterat Bluffton.
Hes enjoying the change, he says, but also the musicals unchanged songs, which "I often find myself singing randomly throughout the day."
Everett Collier, also a Bluffton resident and a traveling salesman on stage, shares Nofzigers enthusiasm. What appeals to him most about "The Music Man"? "Music!" answers Collier, who sang in the quartet as a first-year Bluffton student in its 1972 production.
"We were together so much that we started hanging out together," he remembers, adding that then-music professor Earl Lehman "gave us more barbershop numbers to learn, and most of that group stayed together for three years calling ourselves The BCQ (Bluffton College Quartet)."
Most memorable to Stanowick are specific scenes in which he has acted, he says, noting that he has the same solo in the song "Wells Fargo Wagon" in 2012 that he did in high school in 1997.
"Its neat to get that chance to do it again," he says, "and Id do it again in a heartbeat."
Bluffton public relations, 4/25/12