Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Tickets now on sale for "The Music Man"

September 19, 2019 --

The September 15 New York Times included a four page fold-out ad for a revival of the 1957 Broadway hit, "The Music Man." The Times ad includes lots of fake ads, deriving from the musical's plot, as if they appeared in the newspaper of the fictional town of "River City, Iowa," in 1912. The revival will start previews next September 9, and will open on October 15, 2020, just in time to provide some balm for what will, alas, likely be a vituperous presidential election campaign with the Democrats repackaging their shrill attacks on President Trump of the past three years, focussing less issues and a lot more on the need to oust the president.

This revival, directed by Jerry Zaks, stars Hugh Jackman as the traveling salesman Harold Hill, and Sutton Foster as librarian Marian Paroo. The cast includes Shuler Hensley, who previously has appeared with Mr. Jackman in "Oklahoma," among other productions, and with Ms. Foster in an off-Broadway revival of "Sweet Charity." The story has Hill selling musical instruments for a boys' band, assuring parents he can teach them to play -- although he is musically ignorant. Hill falls in love with Marian, the librarian.

The Meredith Willson musical was set in a period some 45 years earlier than its opening. And next year will mark even more years -- 63 -- separating the new production and its original opening -- and a total of 108 years from its setting.

LPR has a hunch that the 2020 revival of this homage to Americana will provide welcome relief to a nation likely in the midst of another sharply divisive election.

By the Way

A revival of "West Side Story" opens on Broadway next February. This revival, along with "The Music Man," encourage LPR to imagine that the time for a Broadway musical repertory comparable to the Metropolitan Opera is inevitable, how far off in the future it will happen.

Meantime, LPR recommends that the Met itself provide a revival of Frank Loesser's "The Most Happy Fella," a musical calling for an operatic voice in the lead role of Tony.