Harold Hill....….…..Kendall Harmon
Marian Paroo..........Sheryl Fleming
Mrs. Paroo..............Diane Gauthier
Winthrop Paroo......Cody Westphal
Mayor Shinn......…....…Don Wright
Eulalie Shinn........Kathy Breedlove
Zaneeta Shinn......Cassie Cushman
Gracie Shinn……...Chelsea McLean
Tommy Djilas...........…Malcom Gray
Charlie Cowell........Thomas Albright
Constable Locke......Sean Patterson
Eli Grubb.....................…Greg Lang
(click to enlarge)
July 29 – August 7, 2004
The Music Man…the story
The product of meticulous work and countless revisions, The Music Man is Meredith Willson's masterpiece. The original production opened in 1957 and ran for 1,375 performances on Broadway. Its 1962 movie version has become a classic. A recent Broadway revival earned a raft of awards and nominations. Before achieving success as a Broadway writer, Willson was a popular radio personality and bandleader who occasionally worked with Frank Loesser (who wrote Guys and Dolls). Loesser so believed in this show that he backed it for years of development and produced the original production. The Music Man is unquestionably one of the most beloved shows of all time. This isn't just a slice of Americana; it's a whole pie!
The play is set in the little town of River City, Iowa, in 1912, but the opening scene is on a moving train in which the dialogue of traveling salesmen and the musical background beautifully simulate the bouncy rhythm of the jogging train. Aboard this train the salesmen are discussing the selling powers of one Harold Hill, without realizing that he is also one of the passengers. Harold Hill gets off at River City and comes to the center of the town. There an old friend, Marcellus Washburn, tells him he will never be able to work his racket in this town: Harold Hill's racket is to go from town to town and convince its citizens to start a boys' band; then to abscond with the money the townspeople give him for the purchase of instruments and uniforms. Marcellus further informs Harold that the main obstacle in River City is the town librarian/music teacher, Marian Paroo, a "intellectual" sort of girl, who can be counted upon to see right through Harold's chicanery. Undaunted, Harold Hill proceeds to arouse the town's enthusiasm for starting a boys' band by pointing out the corrupt influence on their children of the local pool parlor ("Trouble"). When Marion Paroo appears, Harold tries to win her over with his charm, but she brushes him off rudely. At heart Marian is a soft and sentimental girl, as she reveals by singing to the stars ("Goodnight, My Someone").
Inside the gymnasium of Madison High School a patriotic tableau is being given; Mayor Shinn follows with an address. Harold Hill demands the attention of the audience and starts once again to expound his ideas about a boys' band until the kids become infected with his enthusiasm ("Seventy-Six Trombones"). Later the same evening, Harold Hill goes to the library to win Marian over to his cause. He tries to impress her by telling her he is a "professor" of music, a graduate of the Gary, Indiana University, in the gold medal class of 1905. But Marian tells him in no uncertain terms that he cannot mesmerize or hoodwink her the way he had done the rest of the townspeople. Thus brushed off unceremoniously, Harold consoles himself with the idea that, after all, he has no possible interest in a girl as prim and conventional as Marian. ("The Sadder but Wiser Girl"). Nevertheless, he makes another effort to win over Marian, by sneaking up to her desk at the library and trying to convince her that he is infatuated with her ("Marian the Librarian").
But all the while, Harold keeps alive the enthusiasm for his band project, and goes about town signing applicants. Cuttingly, Marian asks him why he does not use his gift to greater advantage at a carnival. She knows he is a fraud, and thus will have no traffic with him, even though she is not the kind of girl who waits for a knight in shining armor ("My White Knight"). She is about to bring discrediting information about Hill to the leading citizens of the town when Wells Fargo arrives with the musical instruments and uniforms, creating so much enthusiasm and excitement among her neighbors that she simply does not have the heart to disillusion them about Harold Hill. Indeed, now that Harold has delivered the instruments and the uniforms without absconding with the money she is much more sympathetic to him; and there is no question in her mind that he is a man of considerable charm. Her resistance to him is finally broken: She comes to tell Harold she is in love with him ("Till There Was You"). Harold, however, does not intend on staying in the town and the ending is full of several surprises! “The Music Man” is an entertaining, heartwarming evening of theater that will seduce audiences of all ages and sensibilities just as handily as Harold Hill seduces the denizens of River City!