Arena Fair to present ‘Music Man’


The cast of Arena Fair Theatre will bring River City, Iowa, to life later this month when its production of “The Music Man” debuts on June 21.

The show has been rehearsing since April and will be performed at Willis Theater at 7 p.m. on June 21 and 22 with 2 p.m. matinee performances on June 22 and 23. Tickets can be purchased at

The show is directed by Cat Hodge, who said she selected the show because of its status as a classic.

“I think ‘The Music Man’ is the great American show and my dad loves it,” Hodge said. “Every line of it is engraved in my memory.”

Hodge said she has enjoyed directing a show that is so personal to her.

“It’s a lot of fun to have an image in your head and see it realized up on stage,” Hodge said. “… It’s like taking a little piece of your memory and seeing it come to life on stage. Hearing Abby (Jenkins) sing this song I’ve heard all my life is enchanting.”

Abby Jenkins, one of the choir teachers at Dempsey Middle School and Hayes High School, said this is her second show with Arena Fair, and she did community theater when she was growing up. She’s looking forward to performing as the character Marian.

“It’s a great classic musical,” Jenkins said Wednesday. “The music is fun and well known. I enjoy how big the ensemble is and getting to highlight so many other people. I enjoy getting to meet other people in the community.”

Jenkins said she enjoys the narrative arc her character goes through during the show.

“I like the transformation that she goes through from Act 1 to Act 2,” Jenkins said. “(I enjoy) getting to display the emotional changes that she is going through. It’s been challenging to figure out exactly when she starts to change. Her character is fun. She’s pretty fiery and stubborn.”

The show is led by Greg Zunkiewicz, a financial advisor from Columbus, who played Harold Hill in a 2017 production of the show as well as another role in a 2019 production. Zunkiewicz said he loves the part and the show.

“I like that (‘The Music Man’ shows) first appearances can be deceiving,” Zunkiewicz said. “You should get to know somebody before you place judgement on them. We perceive Harold Hill as a slimeball salesman … until we see he is changing the hearts and minds of River City. We realize he’s actually a pretty good guy. We see a transformation happening throughout the show, and I think that’s representative of a lot of different parts of our lives.”

Even after so many shows and performances as the character, Zunkiewicz said Hodge has helped him bring something new to the performance.

“She’s really bringing the character out,” he said. “She has allowed me not only to take creative license with it but to discover who the character is so even though I’ve done the show a few times, I’ve really found the details and the small parts of who the character is and that’s what I’ve liked about it this time around.”

Zunkiewicz said he also enjoys how fun the show is and said he isn’t nervous as the performances near.

“It’s a very singable show,” Zunkiewicz said. “There’s so many great songs. You’ll leave the theater with a smile on your face. … Nervous would not be the word I would use. (I’m) frantic because it’s a lot to touch up. I’m excited to put this production back on stage. It tells a really important message that almost every audience member can take something important from.”

Zunkiewicz said he was invited to the show by his cousin, Doug Galuzny, who has done six Arena Fair shows with his wife and children.

“My whole family is in it,” Galuzny, a Delaware resident, said. “I know Greg loves this show, and I recruited him. I’ve made great friends through this organization, and it’s just fun putting on quality productions for the community here in Delaware.”

Galuzny said he and his family keep coming back show-after-show because of the “family atmosphere” at Arena Fair.

“It’s so much fun,” Galuzny said. “It creates such great memories. Every summer we are creating more memories for the kids to talk about for the rest of their lives. We just have fun with it. Sometimes you get worried you’re going to forget your line but entertaining people is what we love to do. I hope the community loves the show and continues to support Arena Fair. It’s a true treasure in this community, having this type of organization here.”

Hodge said Delaware “deserves great theater,” and the cast is excited to “bring a high quality show to our neighbors.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” Hodge said. “It’s different live. The movie is one thing but seeing it come to life on stage, especially with your neighbors and friends performing in it is pretty magical. We’re your friends and neighbors here on stage, really it’s Delaware here onstage, and that’s neat to see. When you’re here you might run into someone on stage who you meet in the grocery store or go to church with and that’s wonderful.”

More information can be found at

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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