Great American Musicals: The Music Man

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The great American musical, “The Music Man”, is set in small town Iowa in 1912. Meredith Willson, whose boyhood home is still preserved in Mason City, Iowa, used that setting for the story of shyster salesman “Professor” Harold Hill, who, in mocking the ways of the town’s citizens and carrying out a contemptuous scheme to defraud them, ends up joining them. Starring Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, and a great cast, with a full brass band, the 1962 production features great music, including “Seventy-Six Trombones”, “Till There Was You”, “Gary, Indiana”, “Marian, the Librarian”, “Pick a Little Talk a Little”, and “Good Night, My Someone”, together with the sweet barbershop harmony of the Buffalo Bills, International Barbershop Quartet Champions of 1950, in “Lida Rose” and “How Can There Be Any Sin in Sincere?” We’ll sing the songs and hear a rendition of “My Friends, You’ve Got Trouble.” We’ll hear Mayor Shinn say, “It’s as clear as a buttonhook in the well water”, and try, with a very young and lisping Ronnie Howard, to pronounce “thcrumpthuouth.” We’ll learn how Robert Preston found out that Shirley Jones had been hiding a pregnancy, and see how the director put those delightful scenes together. We’ll even catch him in a couple of mistakes. You’ll love this one!

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