Hollywood Wrap

Shirley Jones helps Panorama high school with 'Music Man' production

Thursday, November 15, 2012

After "Oklahoma" and before "The Partridge Family," Shirley Jones left another indelible mark in show business as the leading lady of "The Music Man." Now, 50 years later, she's helping St. Genevieve High School in Panorama City with its production of the classic musical.

Jones has been singing since she was 6 years old. And now, the 78-year-old will open each performance of "The Music Man" at St. Genevieve with a song.

For Jones, being a part of this experience is an important way of giving back to her art.

"I have four sons and 12 grandchildren now. So I love working with kids (and) for kids," said Jones. "They're so excited about what they do and that excites me a lot."

Juanne Aquino has the role Jones played in the movie, Marian Paroo.

"No matter how much work we have -- school work, academics and extra-curricular -- we still pull it off," said Juanne.

The students in the arts program at St. Genevieve are committed, and they're building their self-esteem one scene at a time.

"Performing has been a huge part of my high school career," said student Kristian Decastro. "It's definitely one of the milestones of my life because it really built up the way, how I am in my life."

"Once you get out on stage and you start performing and you hear everybody's cheering and clapping, it's really a thrill that you can't get anywhere else except in performing arts," said student Ian Kytlica.

Music director Nain Doporto and Jones are proud of the students' enthusiasm, courage and talent.

"It's got all sorts of types of dances that help them, hopefully, come out of their shell," said Doporto. "And they end up lighting, not just the stage, but lighting other peoples' lives as well."

"When I see them standing up there on the stage and performing so beautifully, and they do, you know, and you see the new raw talent that's coming out now and what's going to happen in the next few years," said Jones.

"The Music Man" at St. Genevieve High School runs through Saturday. You can buy tickets on the school's website, http://www.valiantspirit.com.

Jones' also busy this week shooting an episode of "Cougar Town."

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