Strike up the band! Summer musical is back

When the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater went dark last summer, it looked as if summer musicals were gone. But now the summer tradition will continue.

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When Walla Walla Community College canceled its outdoor summer musical at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater, many — including us — feared it was gone for good.

After all, when annual events are stopped for one year, even with the intention of bringing them back in the “future,” that doesn’t seem to happen. The momentum is lost and starting over again is seen as too much work.

But our fears were vanquished last week when it was announced the musical is back — and bigger than ever.

WWCC officials made a wise choice in bringing back “The Music Man” for a third time. It’s a show that’s been very popular with local audiences and has a large cast. The more people who are in the show, the bigger crowds it will draw because friends and relatives of the cast members will want to see them perform.

WWCC Foundation Director Doug Bayne said the production will have 21 speaking parts and many others doing everything from playing trombones in the big parade to marching as a drum majorette or riding a unicycle.

“We’re really excited about it. I think it’s truly going to be a community event,” Bayne said.

If possible, he said, he’d like to see 76 trombone players performing “Seventy-Six Trombones.”

It’s fantastic the WWCC Foundation is thinking big, and it’s got a solid plan in place to make it come to fruition.

The summer musical tradition started in 1981 with a presentation of “Oklahoma.” Profit from the show, which usually runs three weeks, fund WWCC scholarships.

“The Music Man” will be directed by WWCC Drama Department Chairman Kevin Loomer, who knows the show well. He played the lead role, Harold Hill, at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater. Loomer was enthusiastic and entertaining playing the role, his directing should be just as lively.

It was sad to see the Amphitheater dark last July, but if all goes according to plan, it will be replaced with plenty of joy this year. It’s great to hear summer musicals are back.

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