ON THE MARQUEE: PLEASE FOLKS, MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?!!! 2021 is going to be an unforgettable year for Broadway and Live Theater making its long awaited comeback. One of the most talked about things is the return of The RIVER CITY BOYS BAND led by "Professor Harold Hill"…. better known as The Music Man. Yup, we are talking of the upcoming Broadway revival of the legendary Meredith Wilson musical starring Tony winners Hugh Jackman as the title role, Sutton Foster as "Marian The Librarian", and a full all-star Broadway cast.
Special thanks to one of our wonderful friends who was in NYC today, he was so great enough to share with all of us the fully updated front of house billboards outside the production's soon-to-be home at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre. It features some unique artwork featuring the score and lyrics of some of the beloved songs from the show.
As previously announced, this new production from the creative team behind the Tony winning revival of Hello, Dolly (directed by Tony winner Jerry Zaks and Choreography by Tony winner Warren Carlyle) will now be officially marching on Broadway in 2021. Previews start April 7th, 2021 and the official Opening Night will now be May 20th, 2021.
THE MUSIC MAN was originally scheduled to begin Broadway previews on September 9th, 2020, and officially open on October 5th, 2020. However, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In case anyone may not know or remember, THE MUSIC MAN is a romantic musical comedy featuring a score and book by Meredith Wilson and Franklin Lacey. It tells the story of "Harold Hill", a traveling salesman con artist who arrives in the small town of River City, Iowa convincing and collecting money from the naïve residents in starting their own marching band. After all the money is collected (for Musical Instruments, Uniforms, Books, and Lessons), he then skips town before the town realizes they have been tricked. However, his world turns upside down when he meets the town's Librarian "Marian Paroo" and eventually falls in love. It features some of the most notable songs ever written for the stage including ROCK ISLAND, IOWA STUBBORN, YA GOT TROUBLE, GOODNIGHT MY SOMEONE, 76 TROMBONES, MARIAN THE LIBRARIAN, MY WHITE KNIGHT, THE WELLS FARGO WAGON, GARY INDIANA, SHIPOOPI, TILL THERE WAS YOU, & more.
THE MUSIC MAN was inspired by Meredith Wilson’s 1948 memoir entitled AND THERE I STOOD THERE WITH MY PICCOLO talking about his early life in Iowa and playing in a John Phillip Sousa band. The book did so well, he originally conceived his story as a Musical Television special. However, it did not work out. Wilson later teamed up with Franklin Lacey to edit the book of the show. In the original script, the character of " Harold Hill" had literally an 8 minute monologue which slowed down the show. They read through it and Wilson started seeing it more as a lyric. The long monologue was then changed into an entire musical named considered as an early version of rap. That song happened to be YA GOT TROUBLE. The inspiration of the leading lady role of "Marian The Librarian" was a woman named that Wilson met during World War II named Marian Seely who as a medical librarian in Utah.
After many years of rewrites, the show had its World Premiere in 1957 at Broadway's Majestic Theatre for 1,375 performances. The creative team featured direction by Morton DaCosta and choreographed by Onna White. The cast starred….
Tony winner Robert Preston in a breakout signature performance (later Eddie Albert and Bert Parks) as "Harold Hill"
the legendary and late Barbara Cook as "Marian”.
The original production was nominated for 9 Tony Awards that same year winning 5 including BEST MUSICAL, BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (for Robert Preston), and BEST LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL (for Barbara Cook).
The show went on to become a worldwide hit. It was later revived 3 times in New York City.
In 1965, New York City Center presented a limited run of 16 performances stint. The creative team featured direction by Gus Schirmer Jr. and choreography by Vernon Lusby. The cast featured…
Bert Parks as "Harold Hill",
Gaylea Byrne as “Marian”
The show was then brought back to New York City Center in 1980 for another short stint of 29 performances. This time, the creative team featured direction and choreography by Michael Kidd. The cast starred….
Dick Van Dyke as "Harold Hill",
Meg Bussert as “Marian”.
Both New York City Center engagements did not receive and Tony Award nominations or wins.
The most recent Broadway revival of THE MUSIC MAN happened in 2000 at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre running for a total of 721 performances. This production was directed and choreographed by Tony winner Susan Stroman. The cast starred…
Tony nominee Craig Berko (later Robert Sean Leonard and Eric McCormack) as "Harold Hill",
Tony nominee Rebecca Luker as "Marian".
The revival was nominated for 8 Tony Awards that year including BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL but lost all the categories.
In addition to THE MUSIC MAN being a successful stage musical. It also became a huge hit on the screen as well.
The original film adaptation was directed by Morton DaCosta (who directed the original stage production) and was released in 1962 from Warner Bros. Pictures. The cast featured…
Robert Preston reprising his Tony winning performance as "Harold Hill"
Shirley Jones as "Marian".
The original film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards that year winning only 1 for BEST SCORE.
In 2003, THE MUSIC MAN was captured on film again. This time it was made as a TV Movie for Disney and ABC. It was directed by Jeff Bleckner and featured choreography by Tony winner Kathleen Marshall. The cast starred Tony winning favorites…
Matthew Broderick as "Harold Hill"
Kristin Chenoweth as "Marian".
This TV movie remake would go on to be nominated for 5 technical Emmy Awards that same year.
THE MUSIC MAN today is also popular show still performed in schools, community, and regional theatres worldwide.
Who is excited to hear that RIVER CITY BAND marching and…. A COMIN' DOWN THE STREET once again?!!!