Month O' Musicals: The Music Man

Vital Stats:
Year: 1962
Director: Morton DaCosta
Stars: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, and a very cute (lisping) Ron Howard
Writer: Meredith Wilson
Choreographer: Onna White

Traveling salesman Professor Harold Hill arrives in River City, Iowa and begins working his con: selling band instruments and uniforms and instruction books, organizing a boys' band with himself as the leader. He's got everything perfectly timed right down to the last train out of town -- until he gets his foot caught in the door by falling in love with the local librarian.

Memorable Moments:
The beautiful "Till There Was You", the rousing "Seventy-Six Trombones", and the cautionary "Ya Got Trouble" are the stand outs. But the "Shipoopi" dance, arrival of the Wells Fargo Wagon, barbershop quartet songs, and contrapuntal melodies are also pretty swell.

What I love about it:
Probably because he perfected the role on Broadway, Robert Preston is perfectly charming as the fast-talking con man. When I saw the show on Broadway myself several years ago, the lead actor did his best Robert Preston impression for the part, and I don't know that there's any other way to play it. (Well, Matthew Broderick tried in the 2003 TV version, but his lethargic performance left me cold.)

I also love the rapid-fire delivery and broken up syllables of the songs. "Rock Island" and "Trouble" are especially snappy, but the other songs have great lyrics, too. Take "Marian the Librarian" as an example: "It's a long lost cause I can never win/For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin/Any talking out loud with any librarian/Such as Marian..." The songs make for a mouthful of words quite fun to memorize and repeat. And shouldn't any good musical leave you singing?


Cesia said...

Yes! Love this one too! I remember my mother quoting it growing up, but didn't actually see it until I was a teenager. It was an instant hit. More like an instant obsession. Isn't it sad when both my mother and I agreed that we approved my brother's fiancee based on the fact that she knew as many words to The Music Man as we did?

Now either you're closing you're eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are unaware of the caliber of distaster, (!) indicated by the presence of a poooool table in your community. Welllll, you've got trouble, my friend. Right here, I say, trouble right here in River City! Why, certainly, I'm a billiard player, mighty proud, I'm always mighty proud to say it.

... ahem. Matthew Broderick STUNK. I couldn't believe how incredibly bad his performance was. I mean, seriously.

I couldn't help but giggle at your picture of Hill and Marian (Madam Libraaaarian) ... there seems to be something protruding from his head ...

- Cesia.

Cesia said...

I spelled disaster wrong. Lol.

Wendymoon said...

Ha, I love your level of obsession! And I didn't notice the head protrusion until you mentioned it. Fabulous!

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