"Professor" Harold Hill travels from town to town, taking pre-paid orders for musical instruments and uniforms, claiming that he will teach youngsters to play and form a town band. After arriving in River City, Iowa, Hill's scam is complicated when he becomes attracted to Marian Paroo, the local librarian, who recognizes him as the fraud he is. Although she recognizes his scheme, Marian falls in love with Harold Hill. Thanks to the determination of a rival salesman, Hill is exposed and apprehended, but he stays to face the consequences. The band performs, and the parents are so proud and excited to hear their children play that they believe in Hill again, and he settles down with Marian.Synopsis complet
Meredith Willson was inspired by his boyhood in Mason City, Iowa, to write and compose his first musical, The Music Man. Willson began developing this theme in his 1948 memoir, And There I Stood With My Piccolo. He first approached producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin for a television special, and then MGM producer Jesse L. Lasky. After these and other unsuccessful attempts, Willson invited Franklin Lacey to help him edit and simplify the libretto. At this time, Willson considered eliminating a long piece of dialogue about the serious trouble facing River City parents. Willson realized it sounded like a lyric, and transformed it into the song "Ya Got Trouble". Willson wrote about his trials and tribulations in getting the show to Broadway in his book But He Doesn't Know The Territory.
The character, Marian Paroo, was inspired by Marian Seeley of Provo, Utah, who met Willson during World War II, when Seeley was a medical records librarian. In the original production (and the film), the School Board was played by the 1950 International Quartet Champions of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA), the Buffalo Bills. Robert Preston claimed that he got the role of Harold Hill despite his limited singing range because, when he went to audition, they were having the men sing "Trouble". The producers felt it would be the most difficult song to sing, but with his acting background, it was the easiest for Preston.
After years of development, a change of producers, almost forty songs (twenty-two were cut), and more than forty drafts, the original Broadway production was produced by Kermit Bloomgarden, directed by Morton DaCosta and choreographed by Onna White. It opened on December 19, 1957 at the Majestic Theatre. It remained at the Majestic for nearly three years before transferring to The Broadway Theatre to complete its 1,375-performance run on April 15, 1961. The original cast included Robert Preston (who went on to reprise his role in the 1962 screen adaptation) as Harold Hill, Barbara Cook as Marian, Eddie Hodges as Winthrop, Pert Kelton as Mrs. Paroo, Iggie Wolfington as Marcellus Washburn and David Burns as Mayor Shinn. Eddie Albert and Bert Parks each replaced Preston later in the run. Howard Bay designed the sets. The musical won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, winning in the same year that West Side Story was nominated for the award. Preston, Cook and Burns also won.
The first UK production opened at Bristol Hippodrome, followed by London's West End at the Adelphi Theatre on March 16, 1961, starring Van Johnson, Patricia Lambert, C. Denier Warren, Ruth Kettlewell and Dennis Waterman.
After eight previews, the first Broadway revival, directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd, opened on June 5, 1980, at the New York City Center, where it ran for 21 performances. The cast included Dick Van Dyke as Hill, Meg Bussert as Marian, Christian Slater as Winthrop, Carol Arthur as Mrs. Paroo, and Iggie Wolfington (who played Marcellus in the 1957 production) as Mayor Shinn. In 1987, a Chinese translation of the musical was staged at Beijing's Central Opera Theater.
The second Broadway revival, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, opened on April 27, 2000 at the Neil Simon Theatre, where it ran for 699 performances and 22 previews. The cast included Craig Bierko (making his Broadway debut) as Hill and Rebecca Luker as Marian. Robert Sean Leonard and Eric McCormack portrayed Hill later in the run. In 2008, there was a revival of the show at the Chichester Festival Theatre, England. This starred Brian Conley as Harold Hill and Scarlett Strallen as Marian Paroo. This opened to critical acclaim and was nominated for the Whatsonstage.com award for Best Regional Production.
A production of the musical opened at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2012. Directed by Molly Smith, the cast stars Kate Baldwin as Marian and Burke Moses as Harold Hill.
Rock Island, Illinois - Vendeurs itinérants, Charlie, Harold
Iowa Stubborn - Habitants de River City, Fermier, Femme du fermier
Trouble (ou Ya Got Trouble, ou Trouble in River City) - Harold, Habitants
Piano Lesson - Marian, Mrs. Paroo, Amaryllis
Goodnight, My Someone - Marian, Amaryllis
Seventy-six Trombones - Harold, les garçons et les filles
Sincere - Quartet (Olin Britt, Oliver Hix, Ewart Dunlop, Jacey Squires)
The Sadder-But-Wiser Girl - Harold, Marcellus
Pick a Little, Talk a Little - Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn et les femmes
Goodnight Ladies - Quartet
Marian The Librarian - Harold
Gary, Indiana -Harold, les garçons
My White Knight - Marian
The Wells Fargo Wagon - Winthrop, les habitants
It's You - Quartet, Eulalie and Ladies
Shipoopi - Marcellus Washburn, Harold, Marian, Tommy Djilas, Zaneeta Shinn, et les adolescents
Pick a Little, Talk a Little (Reprise)- Eulalie, Ladies
Lida Rose - Quartet
Will I Ever Tell You? - Marian
Gary, Indiana (reprise) - Winthrop, Marian, Mrs. Paroo
Lida Rose (Reprise)- Quartet
Till There Was You - Marian, Harold
Seventy-six Trombones / Goodnight, My Someone (Reprise)- Marian, Harold
Till There Was You (Reprise)- Harold
Finale - Ensemble
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Though West Side Story had opened nearly three months earlier, The Music Man captured audiences, critics and five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The New York Times theatre critic Brooks Atkinson wrote in his review "If Mark Twain could have collaborated with Vachel Lindsay, they might have devised a rhythmic lark like The Music Man, which is as American as apple pie and a Fourth of July oration…. The Music Man is a marvelous show, rooted in wholesome and comic tradition."
Walter Kerr of the Herald Tribune glowingly described the opening scene of the musical: "It's the beat that does it. The overture of The Music Man drives off with a couple of good, shrill whistles and a heave-ho blast from half the brass in the pit, with the heartier trombonists lurching to their feet in a blare of enthusiasm. The curtain sails up to disclose the most energetic engine on the Rock Island Railroad (circa 1912) hurtling across the proscenium with real smoke pouring out of its smokestack and real steam rolling along the rails". Kerr called Preston "indefatigable: he's got zest and gusto and a great big grin for another slam-bang march tune". Robert Coleman of the New York Daily Mirror wrote that the producer "made a 10-strike in landing Robert Preston for the title role", stating that Preston "paces the piece dynamically, acts ingratiatingly, sings as if he'd been doing it all his life, and offers steps that would score on the cards of dance judges".
Frank Aston of the New York World-Telegram and Sun declared "It deserves to run at least a decade", especially praising Barbara Cook's performance as Marian: "If all our stack-tenders looked, sang, danced, and acted like Miss Barbara, this nation's book learning would be overwhelming". John Chapman of the Daily News pronounced The Music Man "one of the few great musical comedies of the last 26 years", stating that Of Thee I Sing (1931) "set a standard for fun and invention which has seldom been reached. Its equal arrived in 1950 – Guys and Dolls – and I would say that The Music Man ranks with these two". In the Journal-American, John McClain deemed the show "a whopping hit. This salute by Meredith Willson to his native Iowa will make even Oklahoma! Look to its laurels".
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