(L to R) River City Townspeople Nicholas Yenson and Scott Shedenhelm, with Will Burton as Tommy Djilas, in Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater’s production of The Music Man May 11-July 22, 2012. Photo by Joan Marcus.

By Sheila Wickouski

With The Music Man now playing at Arena Stage, residents of The View Apartments on Sixth Street SW can see their temporary neighbors Will Burton and Juliane Godfrey  sing and dance the roles of the mayor’s daughter, Zanetta Shinn, and her forbidden boyfriend, Tommy Dijilas.

Having been selected in tryouts in New York,  the recent  drama school graduates — Will from the University of Michigan and Juliane from  UCLA — are making their Arena Stage debut in this production.

So what is it like as newcomers to Washington?  How are  they enjoying living in Southwest? What is it like to be in a musical production at Arena — especially after the great  success that Oklahoma had last year?

Both Will and Juliane gave enthusiastic answers: “Wonderful!”

They have been enjoying their first extended stay in Washington by bicycling and sightseeing.

The experience at Arena with Molly Smith directing is a dream come true.

When asked about this production, Will said that it was not your everyday version of  Music Man.  There will be  some surprises!

Will and Juliane are also looking forward to being in D.C. for July Fourth. Although there will be no performance of Music Man on that day, the musical is set on Independence Day 1912,  making the celebration this year a very special event for these rising stars.

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