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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 1 week ago

Horizon West Theater Company presents inaugural show

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The budding theater company opens the curtain on its first production, “The Music Man,” running Oct. 10 to 12.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

For lifelong thespian Samantha Robichaud, the Horizon West Theater Company’s inaugural production, “The Music Man,” will be unlike any other show in which she has performed in her career.

Although it will be her third time being in a production of “The Music Man” and her second time playing Marian, this time, Robichaud will share the stage with her family for the first time. 

“The Music Man” premieres Oct. 10 and runs through Oct. 12 at the Cypress Center for the Arts at Windermere Preparatory School.

A Broadway classic, “The Music Man” tells the story of con-man Harold Hill, who poses as a traveling salesman bartering band instruments and uniforms for boys. He finds himself in River City, Iowa, where he meets his match in Marian Paroo, a librarian who also is a music teacher. She has her suspicions about Hill, but eventually, a romance sparks between the two, said Ron Baumanis, director of “The Music Man” and board president of the Horizon West Theater Company.

“This show is about the coming together of a community to welcome newcomers and build something — eventually — together,” Baumanis said. “It’s a show that allows us to cast adults, young adults and kids and to do a show that has all three of those is really hard. Most shows are written for adults with very few kids in them. It has really given us an opportunity to grow all three of those areas with our first show — a young adult cast, a kids’ cast and an adult cast. (It will) help (us) develop that for future productions.” 

Samantha Robichaud stars as Marian Paroo and Ben Crane stars as Harold Hill in Horizon West Theater Company’s inaugural production, “The Music Man.

The production features 41 performers in addition to a 14-member orchestra and about 20 people doing backstage and support work. One of the unique elements of the show is that entire families are in the cast, including the Robichaud family. Samantha, her husband, David, and her daughter, Anibel, each have a role in the show. David is cast for the role of Charlie Cowell, and Anibel will play Amaryllis. 

“As soon as I saw this musical, I was like, ‘We’re auditioning,’” Samantha said. “I never expected my husband to audition in a million years. I’m super glad he did, because now we’re all in it.”

Ten-year-old Anibel is no stranger to the stage. She has been involved in theater for much of her life, but it’s a different story for David. Although he has worked in the entertainment industry for many years — he currently works in entertainment at Walt Disney World — this production is the first time he will perform in a musical.

“The fact that I knew that my daughter and my wife would probably both be performing in this show was the motivation for me to get into the show, as well,” David said. “I just thought it would be great to (have) all three of us be in a show together. … This was a great opportunity for me to spend time with both of them doing what both of them love. I also love it — I’ve just been loving it from the outside perspective watching them do their thing.”

“I like the joy of (acting) — like expressing (yourself) in a new character,” Anibel said. “It’s fun, because you can be anybody you want to be (with) acting. There are different characters in every musical.”

What’s more, Samantha and Anibel will perform a song together for the first time.

“When I had Anibel, my dream was to be on stage with her eventually at some point,” Samantha said. “This (show) was the perfect opportunity. … I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m super excited to get to sing with her onstage. And then also, I do a whole scene with my husband, (and it’s) funny, because we have to kiss.”

“It’s really fun,” Anibel said of performing with her parents. “You get to see everybody acting up there, because sometimes my dad is on the stage, and sometimes my mom is on the stage. It’s cool to see what they’re doing. My favorite thing about it is … it’s interesting to watch them do their parts.”

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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