Jacob Land on Playing Harold Hill in ‘The Music Man Jr.’ at Bravo@KAT by Joel Markowitz

Here’s Part 2 of Meeting the cast of Bravo@KAT’s The Music Man, Jr., playing next weekend at Olney Theatre Center’s Historic Mainstage. Today, meet Jacob Land.

Jacob Land.

Why did you want to be in Bravo@KAT’s production of The Music Man? And why did you want to play this role?

I have worked with Laurie in 11 shows throughout the past 6 years, and Laurie has encouraged and guided me to become a more independent and trained actor.  When I heard about the new Bravo@KAT performing group, I was so excited for the opportunity to work with Laurie and after auditioning, I was called back for the role of Harold Hill. Having performed in this show before, and knowing the role of Professor Hill, I was thrilled at being able to have the potential of playing him. I also play Charlie Cowell who is the southern anvil salesman who is out to get Harold Hill, for misrepresenting salesman to be con men who want steal money.

I have appeared in Strange Interlude, as Young Gordon at Shakespeare Theatre; A Wrinkle in Time as Charles Wallace in Round House Theatre; A Christmas Carol, as Peter/School Boy at Ford’s Theatre; Turandot in Children’s Chorus at The Kennedy Center; A Christmas Carol as Tiny Tim/ Boy Scrooge at Ford’s Theater; The Music Man as Winthrop in Potomac Community Theater; Children of Eden as Abel; 13 as Archie; The Pajama Game as Max; The Wizard of Oz as Tough Munchkin; Honk as Duckling; Cats as Alonzo; High School Musical as Mascot/Jock; Peter Pan as Lost Boy – all at Musical Theater Center.

Introduce us to Harold Hill. How are you similar to this character? What do you admire most about the character you play? 

Harold Hill is a con-man who travels town-to-town making up fake situations that result in town citizens being scammed into giving him money, so he can steal and leave. He eventually gets caught in his most elaborate scheme yet, forming a boys band in River City Iowa, and getting his money didn’t turn out to be as easy as he had hoped. With stubborn citizens, a confusing, comical mayor, best friends, love interests, and an anvil salesman who wants him put away in jail, Harold’s scheme gets derailed.

Harold has a good heart that is buried deep beneath the con man image. By the end of the show, the audience gets to see his good heart unfold through his love for Marian.  I am happy to say that while I also think I have a good heart, I hope that is all I have in common with my character of Harold.

I also play Charlie Cowell, The southern anvil salesman who in this musical is “Out to protect the good name of the traveling fraternity” from Harold Hill. It is fun and challenging being able to play the title role, and his antagonist in the same production.

Where did you appear before in The Music Man before? 

I played Winthrop last year at the Potomac Theater Company.

Set up the songs you sing and tell us what is happening in the story of the show to your character – when you sing the songs.

Rock Island” – Charlie and other salesman are discussing Harold Hill and where they would find him, but little do they know he is much closer than they think actually listening in on their discussion.

Trouble” – Setting up one of his schemes, Harold turns a mountain into a molehill by exaggerating the potential negative effect of a pool table being placed in the town.

76 Trombones” – Harold riles up a crowd on July 4th, making them angry about the pool table “issue.”  He explains his solution – Forming a boys band.

Till There Was You” – Harold and Marian realize that that their lives have been nothing without one another

Jacob Land (Harold Hill), Josie Weinberg (Marian Paroo), and Cole Edelstein (Winthrop Paroo). Photo by Erica Land.
Jacob Land (Harold Hill), Josie Weinberg (Marian Paroo), and Cole Edelstein (Winthrop Paroo). Photo by Erica Land.

What advice and suggestions did Director Darnell Morris give you about playing your character that has helped you mold your performance?

Director Darnell Morris helped me to shape how I portray Harold Hill.  He told me and the other actor playing Harold Hill that we should say our characters lines the same way, but we should interpret them differently. This got me thinking on how how to create the same character, delivering lines the same way, but also make it personal. It has been very challenging. There are many things that I have come up with that help differentiate the two Harold’s, but stay true to Darnell’s vision. He has given me great blocking and choreography that I love, and I know when everyone gets to see it, they will too.

Why do you think The Music Man is still so popular 55 years after opening on Broadway?

It is a simple classic story of goodness and the songs are as appealing today as they were more than half a century ago.

What has been the most fun for you while rehearsing the show?

It has been fun being the lead and trying to be a role model. I enjoy new roles, and it has been especially fun to be double cast in a hero/villain relationship as both the hero and the villain.

Why do you think young theatregoers will enjoy coming to see The Music Man, Jr.

Some shows are classics and worth seeing over and over again and in my opinion, The Music Man is such a show that people will walk out after the show singing many of the great songs. Also, we have a terrific cast and amazing musical direction, choreography, and staging.

What’s next for you on the stage? 

In the Spring I will be performing in Ragtime at Wootton High School.

The Music Man Jr. plays at Olney Theatre Center’s Historic Stage – 2001 Olney Sandy Spring Road, in Olney, MD on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 1:00, 4:00, and 7:30 pm, and on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 1:00, 4:00, and 7:30 pm. Purchase tickets online for $18.00, or at the door for $20.00.


Bravo@KAT, Theatre for Young Artists Presents The Music Man Jr. by Laurie Levy Issembert.

Our Marians: Josie Weinberg & Tobi Baisburd of Bravo@KAT’s The Music Man Jr. by Joel Markowitz.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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