Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Little Bit of Broadway

The Music Man

What better musical to listen to on the 4th of July than that quintessential American musical that begins on July 4th. I’m talking about The Music Man, Meredith Willson’s love letter to his home town of Mason City, Iowa. In fact, many of the characters in this musical are lovingly recreated from people in Willson’s home town.

The story about the con man who finds himself falling with love with town’s prissy librarian is one that has charmed audiences since its 1957 debut, and is frequently performed by both professional and community groups.

We are listening to the original cast recording, on vinyl!
Music Meredith Willson
Lyrics Meredith Willson
Book Meredith Willson

Awards –
· Tony award for best musical
· Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical – Robert Preston
· Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical – Barbara Cook
· Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical – David Burns
· Tony Award for Best Conductor and Musical Director – Herbert Greene

Grammy for Best Original Cast Recording, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998

Original Cast
Professor Harold Hill — a con man and traveling salesman who tries Iowa after saturating Illinois; falls for Marian -- Robert Preston
Marian Paroo — the town librarian and part-time piano teacher; eventually falls for Harold Hill – Barbara Cook
Marcellus Washburn — Harold's old friend, no longer a con man, who now lives in River City – Iggy Wolkington
Mayor George Shinn — a pompous local politician; never falls for Hill's con –David Burns
Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn — the mayor's wife – Helen Raymond
Mrs. Paroo — Marian's Irish mother –Pert Kelton
Winthrop Paroo — Marian's shy, lisping brother; rarely speaks before Hill arrives in town – Eddie Hodges

Since The Music Man is all about bands, let's listen to one of the best. Here is the Air Force Band of Flight, under the baton of Lt Col Richard Shelton.
  • Strike up the band (Gershwin)
  • American Pageant (Knox)
  • A Gershwin Fantasy (arr. Scott)
  • Sousa! (arr. Barker)

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