Original Broadway Cast
Original National Company
2000 Broadway Revival Info
1962 Film info
2003 Film info
Reviews of the show - 1957, 1980, 2000 and 2003 TV
A description of the characters, with singing range for each
A scene-by-scene synopsis of the show
Book by Meredith Willson
Music by Meredith Willson
Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Based on A Story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey
"The Music Man" opened on 12/19/1957
and ran for 1375 shows...
Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical,
Author, Composer and Lyricist.
Its cast album won the Grammy Award (the first ever),
while the score for the film won an Academy Award.
"Ya Got Trouble"
"Good Night My Someone"
"The Sadder-But-Wiser Girl"
"Pickalittle/ Good Night, Ladies"
"Marian The Librarian"
"My White Knight"
"Wells Fargo Wagon"
"Will I Ever Tell You"
"Till There Was You"
The Original Broadway Cast
The Music Man produced by Kermit Bloomgarden with Herbert Greene
in association with Frank Productions, Inc.,
directed by Morton Da Costa,
opened at the Majestic Theatre, New York City
on December 19, 1957 with the following cast:
(In order of appearance)
Russell Goodwin, Hal Norman, Robert Howard,
James Gannon, Robert Lenn, Vernon Lusby, Robert Evans
CHARLIE COWELL - Paul Reed
CONDUCTOR - Carl Nicholas
HAROLD HILL - Robert Preston
MAYOR SHINN - David Burns
EWART DUNLOP - Al Shea < THE
OLIVER HIX - Wayne Ward < BUFFALO
JACEY SQUIRES - Vern Reed < BILLS
OLIN BRITT - Bill Spangenberg <
MARCELLUS WASHBURN - Iggie Wolfington
TOMMY DJILAS - Danny Carroll
MARIAN PAROO - Barbara Cook
MRS. PAROO - Pert Kelton
AMARYLLIS - Marilyn Siegel
WINTHROP PAROO - Eddie Hodges
EULALIE MACKECKNIE SHINN - Helen Raymond
ZANEETA SHINN - Dusty Worrall
GRACIE SHINN - Barbara Travis
ALMA HIX - Adnia Rice
MAUD DUNLOP - Elaine Swann
ETHEL TOFFELMIER - Peggy Mondo
MRS. SQUIRES - Martha Flynn
CONSTABLE LOCKE - Carl Nicholas
RIVER CITY TOWNSPEOPLE AND KIDS
Pamela Abbott, Babs Delmore, Martha Flynn, Janet Hayes,
Peggy Mondo, Barbara Williams, Elaine Swann, Marie Santella,
Marlys Watters, James Gannon, Russell Goodwin, Robert
1-loward, Peter Leeds, Robert Lenn, Hal Norman, Carl Nicholas,
Joan Bowman, Alice Clift, Nancy Davis, Penny Ann Green,
Lynda Lynch, Jacqueline Maria, Marilyn Poudrier, Pat Man-ano,
Elisabeth Buda, Babs Warden, Tom Panko, Ronn Cum-mins,
Robert Evans, Vernon Lusby, Gary Menteer, John Sharpe,
Roy Wilson, Gerald Teijelo, Bob Mariano, Vernon Wendorf.
Harold Hill-Larry Douglas; Marian Paroo-Marlys Watters;
Mayor Shinn-Paul Reed; Mrs. Paroo-Adnia Rice; Marcel1us
Washburn-Paul Reed; Charlie Cowell-Hal Norman; Tommy
Djilas-John Sharpe; Zaneeta Shinn-Lynda Lynch; Ewart
Dunlop-Robert Lenn; Oliver Hix-Russell Goodwin; Jacey
Squires-Art Rubin; Olin Britt-Robert Howard; Winthrop
Paroo-Bob Mariano; Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn-Adnia Rice;
Alma Hix, Maud Dunlop, Ethel Toffelmier-Martha Flynn;
Gracie Shinn-Pat Mariano; Amaryllis-Barbara Travis.
Choreography by Onna White
Settings and Lighting by Howard Bay
Costumes by Raoul Pene Du Bois
Musical Direction and Vocal Arrangements by Herbert Greene
Orchestration by Don Walker and Sidney Fine
Dance Arrangements by Laurence Rosenthal
Original National Company
The Music Man produced by Kermit Bloomgarden with Herbert Greene
in association with Frank Productions, Inc.,
directed by Morton Da Costa
and with musical direction by Michel Perriere,
opened at the Philharmonic Auditorium, Los Angeles
on August 18, 1958 with the following cast:
(In order of appearance)
TRAVELLING SALESMEN -
Lewis Bolyard, Walter Kelvin, Lou Polacek,
Richard Fredricks, Rudy Jenkins, Jimy Weiss, Chas. Karel
CHARLIE COWELL - Harry Hickox
CONDUCTOR - Earl George
HAROLD HILL - Forrest Tucker
MAYOR SHINN - Cliff Hall
EWART DUNLOP - Byron Mellberg < THE
OLIVER HIX - James Ingram < FRISCO
JACEY SQUIRES - Jay F. Smith < FOUR
OLIN BRITT - Allan Louw <
MARCELLUS WASHBURN - Benny Baker
TOMMY DJILAS - Robert Piper
MARIAN PAROO - Joan Weldon
MRS. PAROO - Lucie Lancaster
AMARYLLIS - Kay Cole
WINTHROP PAROO - Lynn Potter
EULALIE MACKECKNIE SHINN - Carol Veazie
ZANEETA SHINN - Susan Luckey
GRACIE SHINN - Jan Tanzy
ALMA HIX - Jean Bruno
MAUD DUNLOP - Mary Alice Wunderle
ETHEL TOFFELMIER - Lu Leonard
MRS. SQUIRES - Marceline Decker
CONSTABLE LOCKE - Earl George
Harold Hill-Harry Hickox; Marian Paroo-Dianne Barton;
Mayor Shinn-Earl George; Mrs. Paroo-Marv Alice Wunderle;
Marcellus Washburn-Earl George; Charlie Cowell-Earl
George; Tommy Djilas-Bert Michaels; Zaneeta Shinn-Mary
Mason; Ewart Dunlop-Lou Polacek; Oliver Hix-Richard
Fredricks; Jacey Squires-Lou Polacek; Olin Britt-Walter
Kelvin; Winthrop Paroo-Jeffery Allan; Eulalie Mackecknie
Shinn-Jean Bruno; Alma Hix, Maud Dunlop, Ethel Toffelmier
-Marceline Decker; Amaryllis-Jan Tanzy.
1957 1980 2000 2003 TV
REVIEWS OF THE ORIGINAL THEATRICAL RUN
FRANK ASTON, World Telegram & Sun
A knockout, right from the first blare in the Majestic's orchestra pit. It deserves to run at least a decade... If all our stack-tenders looked, sang, danced, and acted like Miss BArbara, this nation's book learning would be overwhelming.
BROOKS ATKINSON, Times
Dollars to doughnuts, Meredith Willson dotes on brass bands. In The Music Man, he has translated the thump and razzle-dazzle of brass-band lore into a warm and genial cartoon of gaudy American life. Since the style is gaudy and since David Burns plays a small town mayor with low-comedy flourishes, The Music Man is a cartoon and not a valentine. But Mr. Willson's sophistication is skin-deep. His heart is in the wonderful simplicities of provincial life in Iowa in 1912, and his musical show glows with enjoyment. Willson's music is innocent; the beat is rousing and the tunes are full of gusto. He has given it the uniformity of a well-designed crazy-quilt in which every patch blends with its neighbor. By some sort of miracle, his associates have caught his point of view exactly. Morton Da Costa's droll, strutting direction; Don Walker's blaring orchestrations; Howard Bay's jovial scenery, including a racing locomotive that drowns the orchestra players in steam when the curtain goes up - these aspects of the production have Willson's own kind of gaiety.
JOHN CHAPMAN, Daily News
One of the few great musical comedies of the last 26 years. It was 26 years ago that Of Thee I Sing  appeared and 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. This musical is put together so expertly and acted and sung and danced by so many enchanting people that it should be either twice as long or performed twice at each performance.
ROBERT COLEMAN, Daily Mirror
Kermit Bloomgarden has found the right people to make it as vivid as a Turner sky. He's made a 10-strike in landing Robert Preston for the title role. We don't have to tell you that we've been beating the drums for Bob over the years. But it took his current vehicle to bring home to us just how versatile our boy really is. He 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. A triumphant performance in a triumphant musical! What a show! What a hit! What a solid hit!
WALTER KERR, Herald Tribune
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 heariter 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. The itch is upon us. Meredith Willson has whipped out an entire first choral scene without a not of music. The words, the hands, the knees, and the insane Rock Island roadbed do all the work; grunts, roars, gossip, and a form of St. Vitus Dance all merge into a syncopated conversation that is irresistible... Mr. Preston is impatient with dialogue. Let a couple people talk, and he fidgets. Let a split-second gap in chatter turn up, and his feet start working. A fairly fierce light turns up in his eyes, an urgent whisper begins to conspire with the underscoring, and the first thing you know designer Howard Bay's attactively pastel Main St. is beginning to sway in the breeze. Mr. Preston is also indefatigable; he's got zest and gusto and a great big grin for another slam-bang march tune ("Seventy-Six Trombones") and for a wonderfully impish soft-shoe in the Public Library (it seems that "Marian the Librarian" is so hard-hearted she'd let his corpse lie on the floor till it turned to carrion). Mr. Preston, to pin the matter down, is jim-dandy.
JOHN MCCLAIN, Journal-American
A whopping hit. This salute by Meredith Willson to his native Iowa will make even Oklahoma look to its laurels.
Reviews of the 1980 Revival
WALTER KERR, Times
Lanky Dick Van Dyke is taking his turn at playing the con man who persuades the gullible parents of a small Iowa town that their progeny are immensely gifted at playing cornet, fife and trombone. Late in the second act, things are rather catching up with him - especially since it's been discovered that he can't read a note of music - and there's a good bit of hot-footed pursuit going. But it's one of his young charges who finally stops the galloping Van Dyke in his tracks - one of the kids who've come to idolize him. Naturally, the lad is shattered. Voice cracking in elaborate musical-comedy dismay, the boy (Christian Slater) puts the matter to his hero bluntly. "Are you a dirty rotten crook?" he wants to know. Whereupon Van Dyke, acquiring a conscience at last, simply drops to one knee, looks his accuser straight in the eye, and murmurs a penitent, straightforward "Yes". And right then and there we know - if we didn't know earlier - exactly what's been subtly wrong with this Music Man from the beginning. Mr. Van Dyke isn't a dirty rotten crook. He's not even a natty gentleman crook. He's not a crook at all. He's a nimble and attractive performer, and he's able to bring into play a good bit of the lively shtik he's perfected over the years; flights across the library tables on tiptoe, reversals in midair that make him resemble a cross-legged dragonfly, exits in march-time on ankles that collapse crunchily with each beat. But he's a straight shooter, honest from the word go, virtue spilling out of every pocket, innocence written all over him where sly graffiti should be. He's simply - and only - nice. And that hurts. Marian's played this time by Meg Bussert, making her Broadway debut. She should be kept in the area indefinitely. She's charming, plausible and, besides that, she sings well. And she has anohter virtue; she believes in what her lyrics are saying. In fact, the entertainment is musically at its best, by far, when Bussert is at work. But if the most satisfying numbers, the numbers likliest to stop a show, are all in the hands of the heroine and a neighborly quartet, what crazy kind of Music Man have we got? It's not that Dick Van Dyke isn't likable, even good. He just turns out to be good in the wrong sense of the word. He's not a scalawag, and we've got to have one.
HOWARD KISSEL, Women's Wear Daily
Older readers may remember a time when Broadway was supposed to set standards for Americal theatre. In the last few years Broadway has become a dumping ground for uninspired touring shows, of which the latest is The Music Man. Meredith Willson's 1957 musical has been revived as a vehicle for Dick Van Dyke, who makes an engaging comic figure with his tall, thiin body decked out in a bold black-and-white checked suit. Van Dyke does Kidd's energetic choreography with great agility and aplomb. We are used to seeing dancers with compact bodies, whose limbs, whose limbs are never too far from the control center. Van Dyke is so tall, his body seemingly so unwieldy, that his grace comes as a surprise, which adds to the pleasure. Van Dyke has a natural likableness and charm that compensates somewhat for the lack of zest in his singing and acting. Kidd's production comes alive largely in the dance numbers, which have a precision and energy lacking elsewhere. But the production (conducted with unexpected perfunctoriness by Milton Rosenstock) suffers from the malady of most touring shows, which are intended to be recognizable imitations of the original. And great originality might lessen product identification in the provinces, where familiarity is the great selling point. I have nothing against revivals of favorite musicals, but it would be a refreshing change to see one done with imagination.
Reviews of the 2000 Revival
"The Music Man", Meredith Willson's tuneful look at small-town America,
and the effect that one colorful outsider has on it, has been a staple of theatre productions, big and small, since it first swept through Broadway and the United States in 1957-58. The success and enduring memory of the 1962 feature film further
ensured that it would stay in our collective memory in a way that few musicals ever do. However, after an attempt in 1980 to bring the show back to Broadway proved
to be somewhat of a disappointment, from critics and audiences alike, some
questions were raised when it was announced that another "Music Man" revival was headed to Broadway in 2000, directed by Susan Stroman and starring Craig Bierko.
Could a relatively unknown film actor pull off the part made so famous by Robert Preston? Could a woman who never directed a Broadway show, and known mainly for her choreography, adequately stage a revival of one of the most beloved musicals in theatrical history? Would people in the year 2000, as theatre has become more darker-toned and full of gimmickry, even want to see a relatively simple, wholesome, upbeat show that they may have already seen the movie of several times, as well as countless productions at their local high schools and community theatres?
Well, from the time the first reviews and award nominations started coming in, and with attendance increasing week by week, it has become clear that the answers to the above questions are all 'yes', and having finally seen the show myself this past week, I have to concur that this version was well worth the wait, and will hopefully introduce a new generation of people to Willson’s ‘valentine’, as he referred to the show as.
The kind of spirit "The Music Man evokes in an audience has always been a parallel to the story itself; a colorful, brassy gust of melodic air that blows through the stodgy demeanor of our day-to-day plodding, invigorating and inspiring us to sing
and dance, and giving us new reasons to smile and to hope. This production succeeds in that respect by keeping the mood light, the pace brisk, the characters endearing, and the audience a part of the show. From the overture, played by orchestra members assembled inside the opening scene’s ‘train set, we are invited into the show, not only as observers to the story, but almost as ‘River City-zians ourselves, as the grammatically challenged Mayor Shinn would say.
The real star of this show is the music and songs, and Stroman wisely refrained from any drastic updates to what is such a strong piece in and of itself. Sure, the production found additional humor in some new little ways, particularly with Max Casella’s portrayal of Harold Hill’s sidekick Marcellus, and Stroman’s strength in choreography and splash brightens up the extended and ebullient "76 Trombones segment, but generally speaking, the show is played fairly straight to the book and score, and the characters are kept to their bright and clearly drawn archetypes. A few people have made comments that the production as a whole should have been ‘darker’, an indication of how the perception and tone of theatre has changed since 1957, but I don’t see how that would be possible with this show, with its bouncy, joyous score, its almost corny jokes and observations on Americana and its foibles, and especially the colorful personalities within.
And speaking of them, a production of "Music Man rises or falls with its lead performers, and this show did a great job with casting. The four men who comprise the makeshift barbershop quartet (Blake Hammond, Jack Doyle, John Sloman,
Michael-Leon Wooley) have a real rapport and joy in their singing that is a pleasure to watch; Max Casella, as mentioned, finds some new humor in the part of Marcellus; and Paul Benedict and Ruth Williamson are both well-suited to the foolishly
endearing characters of Mayor Shinn and his wife.
Of course, the main focus of the show is on Harold Hill, and the object of his pursuit, Marian Paroo. Craig Bierko, as an up-and-coming film and television actor with no significant Broadway credentials, had quite a lot to prove to many who questioned his ability to perform Harold Hill, but he more than ably justified his casting with a strong and subtle performance. Bierko’s version of Hill is interesting, in that early on, he sounds and acts a lot like Robert Preston’s seminal portrayal in the original production and film, and then beginning around the "Marian Librarian sequence, the similarities become blurred or forgotten, and it becomes more evident that Bierko is quite a good actor in his own right, and adds a lot of subtlety and unique inflection to the part, and actually has a stronger and smoother voice than Preston. It’s almost as if he (or the production itself, if Stroman or the producers encouraged him to do that), is giving a nod to Preston at first, or acknowledging the many pre-production comparisons and mentions of him by saying, "Ok, you want Preston? See, I can do Preston. But if you
observe, I can also be different as well. Or maybe there was no such calculation about it, and Bierko just really does sound an awful lot like Preston. Regardless, he did a fine job, particularly with the difficult acting scenes during the second act where
Hill’s swindling nature becomes conflicted by his true desire for Marian.
My only real critique with Bierko was during a few moments when he would be speaking directly to someone, but looking out front. For example, in "Marian Librarian", he is sitting next to Marian, and singing "I love you madly, madly, madam librarian, Marian", but looking out front to the audience, and not at Marian, which felt a little awkward to watch. Granted, that may have been Stroman’s directive, as choreographer, because I know that choreographers do tend to complain if someone is not strongly facing front during a big production number, but I saw Bierko doing that on two or three otheroccasions, and he has large, expressive eyes, so I think it would have been just as well for him to have faced front, but have his eyes focused sideways at Marian during moments such as that.
Rebecca Luker, as Marian, was convincingly acerbic during the early scenes, and proved to be especially adept and engaging as her character gradually warms up to her ‘White Knight Hill. Luker’s voice was never a question, with its soaring, ‘made for Broadway quality, but her acting was also quite satisfying in this role. The chemistry between her and Bierko as Hill seems even more natural than that of Preston and Shirley Jones in the film version. I found myself believing more surely that these two people could and would end up together during this production than in the film, which required a somewhat higher suspension of disbelief.
Other nice aspects of this production include the aforementioned "76 Trombones bridge sequence, which although much longer than it would seem it should be, is nonetheless built up so cleverly and feverishly that you are sad it ever ends; dance heavy sequences throughout that are jovial and accomplished (with the exception of "Marian Librarian", which seemed a little disjointed and formless, although I liked the ‘book clapping segment); and a now legendary curtain-call that so appropriately manages to ‘one-up the show itself.
My only major complaint about the show… I bought one of the souvenir T-shirts, which has the word ‘trouble prominently displayed on the front, and ‘Meredith Willson’s THE MUSIC MAN on Broadway on the back. A nice idea. The problem, though? The word ‘trouble is not capitalized. Think about it... How could they make a T-shirt for "The Music Man with the word ‘trouble and not print ‘trouble with a capital ‘T’??!!!
SAM WHITEHEAD, Time Out New York
Given Stroman’s tasteful, witty and beautifully reverential take on Willson’s lighthearted American treasure, one gets the added satisfaction of witnessing the rare treat of a job sensationally well done. From Stroman’s direction and choreography, to Thomas Lynch’s playful scenery (gracefully lit by Peter Kaczorowski) and William Ivey Long’s rich period costumes, everything comes together in the most attractive, exuberant and triumphant fashion. And all the moving merriment is anchored by the incredibly charismatic and totally original Bierko, who makes a blinding Broadway debut heading up a truly first-rate cast. Yes, there may be trouble in old River City, but everything is just swell at the Neil Simon right now
FRANK SCHECK, Hollywood Reporter
Besides Bierko’s standout work, there is also Luker, applying her gorgeously sweet voice to a series of affecting ballads, Paul Benedict and Ruth Williamson, using expert comic timing and shtick for their roles as the town’s befuddled mayor and his freewheeling wife; and Max Casella, who is throughly winning as Hill’s sidekick.
The rest of the large cast goes through their paces with the best professionalism Broadway has to offer. Thomas Lynch’s scenery is imaginative and picturesque, William Ivey Long’s costumes are consistently fun to look at and Doug Besterman’s orchestrations give the music a brilliant sheen. This show will be making music for a long time to come.
It would be hard to imagine a production more spectacular! An entertaining, heartwarming evening of theater that will seduce audiences of all ages and sensibilities just as handily as Harold Hill seduces the denizens of River City!
Reviews of the 2003 TV Movie
To say that this movie was a disappointment isn't really fair... I actually enjoyed quite a lot about it. This was, after all, "The Music Man", and it would be hard for me not to enjoy it simply for what it is... And there were some nice touches here and there, like in "76 Trombones" where the one little girl won't join in with everyone and Harold Hill sits with her and gets her to join in. Some things like that were very nice. And I liked that they included the "Pick-A-Little" reprise, which wasn't in the original film version.
However, this movie missed in some very big ways, starting with Matthew Broderick as Harold Hill. To me, this is not even a question of comparing him in any way to Robert Preston, or the idea that he had to fill Preston's shoes, or anything like that... He just doesn't fit at all in that part. Period. And worse yet, his performance was very weak and bland. No strength, no confidence, and very little 'character', which I know he is so capable of creating in other roles. He really seemed like a fish out of water compared to some of the other strong performances, including Kristen Chenoweth as Marian (I loved her version of "My White Knight"), David Aaron Baker as Marcellus, Debra Monk as Mrs. Paroo, Patrick McKenna as Charlie Cowell and Cameron Monaghan as Winthrop. A lot of Broderick's lines seemed merely delivered, and not really 'performed'. He just didn't seem natural at all. Very forced. So much for him trying to do something different than Preston and creating a different take on the character- he didn't really create any character! If this show had someone like Eric McCormack or Scott Bakula as HH, it probably would have elevated this to being a very good version. But with Broderick as HH... No way. Not that anyone's take on Harold Hill has to be like what I think it should be or how I would do it... I've seen a variety of different versions of HH, from Craig Bierko's near Preston-imitation on Broadway, to a recent production where the HH was sort of like a cheesy game show host... but they all had the basic element of character that makes the part work in the context of the show. Though he's 40, Broderick still looks like a 16 year-old, which immediately reduces the believability of his being a long-time legendary con-man right off the bat, and worse yet, he didn't deliver anything like a 'confidence man'. There was no rogue-ishness or danger to his role, and that's really an essential part of Harold Hill, no matter what the age is of the person portraying him is. I will say that now and then my wife and I would say something positive about Broderick- "Hey, that line was good..." or "He was okay on that song...", but when that is the exception rather than the rule then you're in trouble with a capital you know what...
Another big miscasting was Victor Garber's Mayor Shinn. Not that he isn't a great actor in his own right for other roles, but his take on this part seemed way off-base. I tried to put my finger on it, and realized that he was too menacing... He was downright nasty all the time, and it just felt really wrong for Shinn, and also gave him little place to go with it. When he is genuinely angry at Tommy Djilas in the second act, there was no difference between when he was supposed to be merely suspicious of Hill in the first act. It was all just so menacing. The humor went right out of the character. He was also too well-spoken sounding, in terms of the tone of his voice, to be very believable as such a word-mangling bumpkin. Too proper and refined. Think of George W. Bush... His misstatements sound natural because he has that Texas bumpkin tone to his voice.
There were also a couple of unforgivable dialogue delivery mistakes where jokes were completely lost (which ultimately could be blamed on the director for allowing). One example I can readily think of is when "If You Don't Mind My Sayin' So" is over, Marian should sarcastically say to Mrs. Paroo, "well, if that isn't the best I ever heard", and then Amaryllis stops playing the piano and says, "Thank you". Well, in this version, Marian says that line right to Amaryllis. Huh?? Where's the joke??? There were a few other things like that, where jokes in the script were missed or passed over, and particularly in Broderick's performance where the delivery of the lines was plain and monotone and without good timing, and lost some of the nice subtle humor that could have been there. I really expected Broderick to at least pull some more humor out of this role, but I've seen a high-school production's HH do much better with that (and look older, too!).
I particularly enjoyed the opening train scene, and thought that was well done, as well as some of the other ideas for filming they used, such as having HH going through town in various places during "Trouble". It gave the sense that he'd been working through the town for a while and spreading the 'germ' of his pitch. But of course, with a more galvanizing Harold Hill, you can believe that the pitch could be sold within just the few minutes of "Ya Got Trouble". Some of the choreography in "Marian the Librarian" was nice, as was the little dream sequence inserted, but by and large, I don't think the direction did all that much different stuff with the material than the other film version (or at least nothing of real significance), and didn't really focus more on the love story, which is what director Jeff Bleckner said he was doing in interviews. That may have been the intention, but I really didn't see it on screen.
So now we have a 'new' Music Man movie for a new generation. While it is entertaining and includes a few nice touches that the 1962 film version doesn't, the original film's memorable and vibrant performances, clever and more capable direction and ebullient spirit clearly make it the version more worth returning to for generations to come.
** out of four.
NEW YORK POST
'MUSIC MAN' SKIPS A BEAT
By LINDA STASI
MATTHEW Broderick has made a great living as an actor, often and memorably by playing the part of a nerd - usually a Jewish neurotic nerd from New York. Why? I don't know since he neither sounds Jewish nor like a Nu Yawkah. To me, he usually sounds like a WASPy nerd from, say, Iowa or Indiana or someplace.
So finally, Broderick has been cast as a guy from Indiana who's working in (or maybe just working) Iowa. I'm talking, of course about his much-hyped starring role in "The Music Man" on Sunday night. Yes, he still sounds like a nerd from Iowa, but this time he's supposed to be playing the slickest con man ever to hit Iowa circa 1912.
While I applaud ABC for trying to expose kids who've been MTV'd out of their minds to cultcha by reviving "The Music Man," I can't imagine what they were thinking by casting Broderick in the role of Professor Harold Hill. Not that most of the other cast members fit the bill either, but Broderick is wa-a-a-y off the mark.
For one thing, Hill is a con man that has fooled folks all across the West and Midwest with his fast talk and easy ways. If you have ever seen the original 1962 movie starring Robert Preston (who also played the part on Broadway), you'll see right off that Preston was so full of crazed, sexy energy that he could mesmerize more than a town full of innocents. He could mesmerize a town fulla jaded Nu Yawkahs even.
Broderick, on the other Hand, looks and sounds like he's playing the part of the villain in the church play. There's no danger about him. There's no intrigue.
Co-starring as Marian the librarian is Kristin Chenoweth, star of Broadway and the disastrous "Kristen," an NBC "comedy" that lasted about a long as a song in this show. Chenoweth is great in the part, but her horrible outfits and ridiculous wig make her look like the love child of Pamela and Loni Anderson. She should have protested.
The kid actors are cute - especially red-haired, freckled-faced little Cameron Monaghan who plays Winthrop, Marian's little brother.
Of course there's a 20-year age difference, which is more than a little weird. It makes you wonder that, when the ladies of the town say she has a bad reputation, maybe they're referring to little Winthrop.
Also horribly miscast is Vincent Garber, who is brilliant on "Alias" (one of the best shows on TV - period) but seems all wrong here.
What does work are some of the great songs which even I couldn't ruin if I played, God forbid, "76 Trombones," "Till There Was You," "Gary, Indiana" and "Lida Rose."
Will your kids enjoy it? Probably not.
Should they watch it? Probably yes.
By Ken Tucker
Meredith Willson's marvelous confection of Midwestern corn and Broadway hot diggety doggedness, The Music Man, won six Tonys in 1958 and deserves at least as many Emmys now for ABC's sparkly new version that seems nothing less than a miracle, given that it's coming from the network that has recently given us the damnable ''Miracles.''
Executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who've overseen similarly terrific television presentations of ''Annie'' and ''Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows,'' as well as the current movie version of ''Chicago,'' possess a rare faith in faithfulness. That is to say, they trust the material they adapt and don't trim or dumb it down for contemporary viewers.
''The Music Man'' may be Zadan and Meron's riskiest venture yet, given that the musical's vision of small-town, turn-of-the-century life was quaint even in the late '50s, when Robert Preston became a Broadway powerhouse as the con man, Prof. Harold Hill. Hill, played here by Matthew Broderick, is a traveling salesman whom rival colleagues consider a flashy, ''two-bit thimblerigger'' who gives honest door-to-door dudes a bad name. He arrives in the spats-and-parasol town of River City, Iowa, and gulls the locals with a vision of organizing a youth band that will instill a love of good music and keep impressionable kids out of the town's primary den of sin: the pool hall.
You see the challenge here already, I'm sure. Are Sunday-night viewers of ''Alias'' or ''Law & Order: Criminal Intent'' going to cotton to a predictable tale of the con man who wins over the hearts of the people, or even make it past bygone-era slang like ''thimblerigger''? I certainly hope so. This is old-fashioned entertainment bursting with marvelous melodies and wordplay; it's no wonder a revival of ''The Music Man'' on Broadway a couple of years ago, starring Craig Bierko doing a virtual Preston impersonation, was a smash. Willson, who wrote the book, music, and lyrics, crafted showstoppers like ''Trouble'' and ''Seventy-Six Trombones'' that can leave you woozy with pleasure. He spins the tale of how the cynical Hill softens and deepens his character enough to win the affections of the town librarian, Marian, performed by Kristin Chenoweth in a role for which the cliché ''born to play'' must be dusted off. Chenoweth may unfortunately be best known to TV viewers as the star of a shoddily written 2001 sitcom that bore her first name, but she's also knocked 'em dead in Zadan and Meron's small-screen ''Annie'' and on Broadway in shows like ''You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.''
Broderick, of course, recently drew raves for his costarring role in the New York City production of ''The Producers,'' and he's a daring choice for Harold Hill. Robert Preston, both on stage and in the 1962 film version, defined the role as that of a burly cannonball of a man whose sheer lung power and confidence bedazzle the River City rubes -- all save the coldhearted mayor, played here with impeccable comic fustian by another musical pro, Victor Garber (yes, indeed: Sydney's dad on ''Alias''). Broderick, slight of frame and thin of voice, can't fit into Preston's brogans, but he dances nimbly and can rattle off Hill's con spiels with impressive speed. I just have a little trouble believing that this sweet-faced fellow could really bamboozle the town into buying his expensive instruments and band uniforms while hiding the fact that he doesn't know how to read or teach a note of music.
Still, with the grand aid of Chenoweth as his romantic partner, Broderick actually becomes an example of author Willson's central idea -- that sincerity and idealism, coated with true love, can overcome limitations of skill. Just as Harold Hill gains deserved authority by bringing joy and pride to River City as he instills his young charges with boldness and falls in genuine love with Marian, so does Broderick's performance in ''The Music Man'' gather strength and zip as the TV movie proceeds. Showcasing fine, funny turns by Molly Shannon as Garber's dippy but earnest wife and Debra Monk as Marian's big-hearted mother, as well as the choreography of Kathleen Marshall (who knows how to scale down big stage effects for the intimacy of the television cameras), this is a ''Music Man'' that'll have you marching around the living room, leading your own parade of gratefulness for such a glowing evening of entertainment. EW Grade: A-
The Music Man
ABC Sun Feb 16, 7 pm
The soft sell is not what's needed in this high-spirited musical about a con man who blows into a small Iowa town in 1912, promising to organize a boys' band if the citizens will kindly cough up the cash for uniforms, instruments and instruction (which he's totally unqualified to give). On Broadway and in the 1962 movie version, Robert Preston portrayed self-styled Professor Harold Hill with brass, brio, and the strut of a born virtuoso at tooting his own horn. Matthew Broderick is a comparatively low-key Hill in this three hour remake on The Wonderful World of Disney. Though likable as usual, Broderick seems constrained and tentative, as if the salesman lacked faith in the strength of his pitch. I'd like to say he's disalarmingly different in the part, but I'm afraid he's just miscast. The same goes for Victor Garber (Alias), who isn't nearly funny enough as malaprop-prone Mayor Shinn.
The spotlight here falls on Marian (Kristin Chenoweth), the librarian who stirs Hill's conscience and succumbs to his charm. Atoning for Kristin, her ill concieved NBC sitcom of 2001, Chenoweth sings beautifully on "Goodnight My Someone" and "Til There Was You" and looks radiant when Marian opens her heart to the huckster. Her work and Meredith Willson's irresistible songs ("Seventy Six Trombones", "Ya Got Trouble") make The Music Man worth playing again.
Bottom Line: Lend an ear despite some off notes.
Prof. Harold Hill - a dynamic con man, baritone (A flat - high F)
sings - "Ya Got Trouble", reprise of "Ya Got Trouble"; "76 Trombones";
"Sadder But Wiser Girl"; "Marian Librarian"; one verse of "Till There Was You";
reprise of "76 Trombones/Goodnight My Someone"; reprise of "Till There Was You".
Marian Paroo - a stuffy soprano (low G - high A)
sings - as part of chorus in "Iowa Stubborn"; "Piano Lesson/If You Don't Mind
My Saying So"; "Goodnight My Someone"; "My White Knight"; "Will I Ever Tell You";
a few lines at the end of "Gary Indiana"; "Till There Was You"; reprise of "76
Trombones/Goodnight My Someone"
Winthrop - Marian's lisping baby brother, alto (C - E flat)
sings - as part of chorus for "76 Trombones"; a solo section of "Wells Fargo Wagon";
Mrs. Paroo - Marian's Irish mom, mezzo (A flat - E flat)
sings - as part of chorus in "Iowa Stubborn"; "Piano Lesson/If You Don't Mind
My Saying So"; as part of chorus for "76 Trombones" and "Wells Fargo Wagon";
a few lines at the end of "Gary Indiana"
Mayor Shinn - a blustery politician (non-singing)
may sing (if able) as part of chorus for "Iowa Stubborn" and "Wells Fargo Wagon"
Eulalie - his peacock wife; alto (D - D)
sings - as part of chorus in "Iowa Stubborn"; has lines in "Pickalittle" and reprise
The Barbershop Quartet - four bickering school board members (high tenor, tenor, baritone, bass)
sing - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn"; "Ice Cream/Sincere"; "Goodnight Ladies";
as part of "Wells Fargo Wagon"; "It's You"; "Lida Rose"; reprise of "Lida Rose"
Pickalittle Ladies - Eulalie's four gossipy friends
sing - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn"; "Pickalittle"; with chorus in "Wells Fargo
Wagon"; reprise of "Pickalittle"
Marcellus - Harold's chummy friend; tenor (G - high A)
sings - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn"; one harmony line in "Sadder But Wiser
Amaryllis - Marian's young piano student, alto (C - E)
sings - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn"; sings ending of "Goodnight My Someone";
with chorus in "76 Trombones" and "Wells Fargo Wagon"
Tommy - the town badboy ***
sings - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn", "76 Trombones", "Wells Fargo Wagon" and
Zaneeta - the mayor's daffy daughter ***
sings - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn", "76 Trombones", "Wells Fargo Wagon" and
Eight traveling salesmen
perform "Rock Island"
Charlie Cowell - a rival salesman
performs in "Rock Island"
a few speaking lines
sing - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn" and "Wells Fargo Wagon"
sing - with chorus in "Iowa Stubborn", "76 Trombones" and "Wells Fargo Wagon"
*** - Typically, Zaneeta and Tommy are cast to be standout dancers.
Scene One: The play begins on the morning of July Four, 1912. A railroad conductor announces the next stop, River City, Iowa, to a coach filled with traveling salesmen. Speaking rhythmically (keeping time with the movement of the train), the salesmen begin a conversation about the merits of cash versus credit and the ways their products and lives have changed as the result of "modren" merchandising ( "Rock Island"). One of the salesmen, Charlie Cowell, asks if anyone has heard of Professor Harold Hill, a salesman who is ruining the reputation of all traveling salesmen. Cowell explains that Hill moves from town to town selling musical instruments, uniforms and the promise of lessons for a boy's band, and then leaves town with the collected money before anyone has discovered that he is musically illiterate. As the train stops in River City, Cowell, who has been trying to find and expose Hill, mentions Hill wouldn't get far with the stubborn Iowans. Before the train begins to move again, a salesman who has quietly been playing cards grabs his suitcase and announces that the conversation has prompted him to give Iowa a try. When asked his name, the stranger flashes his suitcase, bearing the name "Prof. Harold Hill," and he quickly exits the train as it starts to move. He finds himself facing River City's Main Street decorated with Fourth of July bunting and crowded with townspeople.
Scene Two: As workers move a pool table into the River City Billiard Parlor owned by Mayor Shinn, the townspeople greet the mayor and each other. They sing with pride of their contrariness ( "Iowa Stubborn"). As they disperse, Hill enters the scene and tries to rent a horse and buggy at the livery stable. There he meets his old friend and one-time partner-in-crime Marcellus Washburn. Washburn, who knows Harold's real first name is Greg, remembers Hill's last sales gimmick was selling steam-powered automobiles. Hill tells Washburn he'd be selling them still if somebody hadn't ruined his game by actually inventing such a vehicle! Marcellus has given up his old ways and has settled down in River City to work in the livery stable. After Harold explains his plans, Marcellus warns him to watch out for the town's music teacher/town librarian, Marian Paroo - she'd expose Harold's con on the spot. Harold asks him to point her out and then he sets about thinking of a way to convince the parents of River City of the necessity of a boy's band. When Marcellus tells him about the new pool table in town, Harold recognizes his chance. He approaches Ewart Dunlop, the grocery store owner, and begins talking about the trouble that has entered River City in the shape of a pool table. To the fast-growing crowd Harold delivers a rapid-fire sales pitch/sermon about the corrupting influence of a pool table on the boys of the town ("Ya Got Trouble"); as the townspeople join him, Marcellus signals Marian Paroo is passing by.
Scene Three: Harold follows Marian home; she rejects his attempts to start a conversation with her on the street, finally slamming her front door in his face.
Scene Four: As Marian enters the house, Amaryllis, her young piano student, is playing an exercise while Mrs. Paroo, Marian's mother, continues with her household chores. Marian tells her mother about the strange man (Harold) who has been following her and trying to speak with her. While Amaryllis plays arpeggios, Mrs. Paroo scolds Marian for not speaking to the man, criticizing Marian's high expectations, both for the townspeople and for men ("Piano Lesson/If You Don't Mind My Saying So"). Winthrop, Marian's little brother, enters the house and Amaryllis invites him to a party. Winthrop, who has a lisp and doesn't like to speak, mispronounces Amaryllis's name. When she giggles, he runs from the room. Amaryllis, upset that Winthrop never talks to her, starts crying and tells Marian she is worried she'll never find a sweetheart to wish about on the evening star. Marian tells her to go on wishing, using the word "someone" until the right person comes along. As Amaryllis plays her crossed-hands piece, Marian gazes at the evening star and wishes her unnamed "someone" goodnight ("Goodnight, My Someone").
Scene Five: Inside the high school gymnasium, Mayor Shinn is presiding over the Fourth of July celebrations. His wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, who is dressed as Columbia, holds a torch and has just finished leading a song. As the mayor begins his stentorian recitation of the Gettysburg Address, he is stopped by the constantly bickering school board, who remind him that the next presentation is an Indian costume spectacle. The spectacle concludes with his wife counting to twenty in the "Indian tongue." Before she can finish counting, young Tommy Djilas lights a firecracker in front of her. The four school board members begin arguing as the mayor again tries his Gettysburg recitation. The mayor is foiled again, this time by Harold, who steals the crowd's attention, continuing his earlier sermon about the pool table. He tells the crowd he has come to River City to organize a boy's band as the solution to the corrupting influence of the pool table. (reprise: "Ya Got Trouble") He then entrances them with a story of when six of the greatest marching bands in America came to town on the very same day ("Seventy-Six Trombones"). The townspeople join in, dancing and parading around the gymnasium.
The mayor, alarmed at seeing the Iowans so excited, orders the school board to get Harold's credentials. As Tommy is being led out of the gymnasium by the constable, he is warned by the mayor to stay away from Zaneeta, the Shinn's oldest daughter. Harold realizes if he can make an ally of Tommy he'd have the town's youth on his side, too. He quickly intercedes on Tommy's behalf and agrees to take responsibility for the boy. He asks Tommy to design a music holder for the piccolo. Harold then points out a passing girl and gives Tommy money to take her to the candy shop. After the teenagers leave, the constable tells Harold the girl is Zaneeta Shinn.
The school board approaches Harold and demands his credentials; Harold, stalling because he has no credentials, asks them each to sing the words "ice cream", which they do in perfect barbershop quartet harmony. Finding music more interesting than Harold, the quartet sings "Sincere" as Harold sneaks away to look for Marian.
Scene Six: Harold follows Marian to the library where, before slamming the door in his face, she warns him she will check his credentials in the reference books. Marcellus appears to ask about Harold's progress. Harold explains he'll be in town for four weeks, which is the time required for the delivery of the instruments, uniforms and instruction books. He also mentions to Marcellus that he circumvents his musical ignorance by advocating his "revolutionary Think System." This "System" replaces reading notes, and practicing scales with positive thought. Marcellus tries to convince him to settle down in River City, but Harold tells him he prefers worldly women to the wholesome, innocent women of River City ("The Sadder-But-Wiser Girl").
The ladies of the town surround Harold, buzzing with excitement over the band. Mrs. Shinn, however, is still withholding her judgment until her husband receives Harold's credentials. When she moves her foot to relieve the pain of her bunions, Harold comments on her grace and insists she lead the Ladies Auxiliary for the Classic Dance, with the other ladies as members. Mrs. Shinn immediately falls under Harold's spell. She consents to head the committee and she, too, is now an ally. When Harold asks about Marian, the ladies huddle together like hens and begin to gossip. They accuse her of promoting Balzac, Chaucer and other authors of "dirty books" ("Pickalittle"). They also darkly suggest she had been involved with "Miser" Madison, a late River City resident who donated the gymnasium, picnic park, hospital and library to the town. The school board appears, again demanding Harold's credentials, and again he deftly distracts them by saying goodnight to the ladies, prompting a song from the quartet ("Goodnight Ladies").
Scene Seven: Harold enters the library and begins flirting with Marian, who wants nothing to do with him. He threatens to drop a bag of marbles on the floor if she continues to ignore him, and he sings of his love for her ("Marian The Librarian"). Marian and the other readers join Harold in dancing aflamboyant, yet quiet soft-shoe ballet around the library.
Scenes Eight and Nine: Harold has worked his usual magic on the River City citizens and with Tommy by his side, he's made eleven sales. Harold sends the boy home while he continues his rounds. Harold meets Mayor Shinn as he is about to ring the mayor's doorbell. Harold flatters the mayor about the shape of his hand, remarking that the laws of heredity mean that the mayor's son is destined to be a great flugelhorn player. The mayor is ready to sign an order when he suddenly remembers he doesn't even have a son. He again demands that Harold bring his credentials to City Hall later that day.
Scene Ten: Harold has moved on to the Paroo house. He flatters Mrs. Paroo on her facial muscles, suggesting this means Winthrop will be a great cornet player. After Winthrop asks if the uniform will have a stripe, Harold tries to engage him in a conversation, but the boy runs off. Mrs. Paroo explains that Winthrop hardly speaks at all. Thinking Harold's gift of gab might mean he's Irish, she asks Harold where he is from. As Harold tells her his alma mater is the Gary Conservatory of Gary, Indiana, Marian returns home and tries to dissuade her mother from ordering an instrument. Marian gets angry when Harold asks to speak to Winthrop's father, who is dead. When she enters the house, Mrs. Paroo apologizes for Marian's outburst.
After Harold leaves, Marian sends Winthrop to the library to get the reference book she needs to check on Harold's credentials. Mrs. Paroo, who likes Harold, accuses Marian of not thinking of the future and of foolishly waiting for a white knight to appear. Marian explains she just wants a man who will love her ("My White Knight").
Scene Eleven: Tommy is making a date with Zaneeta to show her his music holder as Mayor Shinn enters, complaining to his wife that the whole town has been mesmerized by Harold. Marian appears with the reference book, but before she can hand it to the mayor, Gracie, his youngest daughter, excitedly announces the arrival of the Wells Fargo Wagon. The townspeople line the street to greet it ("Wells Fargo Wagon"). Winthrop breaks through the crowd to express his hope that the wagon is bringing his band instrument. Harold, who has been riding in the wagon, jumps down and hands Winthrop his cornet. Winthrop, now seemingly unashamed of his speech impediment, turns and excitedly tells Marian how happy he is. Harold hands out the rest of the instruments to the boys. He tells them lessons will follow, but they should first get acquainted with their instruments and think about the Minuet in G. The mayor concedes Harold has won the day - for now - but he threatens Harold with a grand jury appearance if the boys aren't soon playing. The mayor then turns his attentions to Marion and he asks her for the book. Marian, grateful to Harold for Winthrop's new-found joy and confidence, secretly rips out the relevant page of the book before handing it to Mayor Shinn.
Scene One: In the gymnasium the Ladies Auxiliary Dance Committee is practicing for the upcoming Ice Cream Sociable; they form a tableau vivant as the school board sings ("It's You"). Marcellus has been keeping the young people out of the gym but he can't hold them out any longer. The young people burst in, forcing the Auxiliary Ladies into hasty retreat. At the young people's insistence, Marcellus winds up the victrola and he leads the crowd in a new dance Harold has shown him ("Shipoopi"); even Harold and Marian join in. The dance ends when Mayor Shinn objects to Tommy dancing with Zaneeta. When Marian rushes to defend Tommy and Zaneeta, Mayor Shinn tells her the reference book didn't contain any useful information. He then turns to Harold and again demands his credentials. Marian, who has now warmed to Harold, thanks him for defending Tommy. She also asks him when Winthrop's lessons will begin. Marian invites Harold to call on her to explain the Think System. The ladies, impressed with Marian after seeing her dance with Harold, ask her to join their committee. They also mention that at Harold's suggestion they've read Chaucer, Rabelais and Balzac and adored them all (reprise: "Pickalittle").
Scene Two: The school board catches up with Harold and demands his credentials. Harold pretends he is about to hand them over when he casually mentions the name Lida Rose, once again prompting the quartet to sing ("Lida Rose"). Marian, sitting on her porch with her mother, sings to herself of her feelings for Harold as the quartet continues to sing ("Will I Ever Tell You").
Scene Three: Mrs. Paroo pushes Marian to tell Harold how she feels about him. Winthrop returns home from fishing and sings for his mother and sister the song Harold has just taught him ("Gary, Indiana"). He happily runs into the house singing the Minuet in G, followed by Mrs. Paroo. Charlie Cowell, the traveling salesman, arrives and asks Marian for directions to the mayor's house. He mentions he has information about Harold Hill's dishonest past, but only has a few minutes in town to deliver that information before his train leaves. To protect Harold, Marian tries to delay Cowell by flirting with him. She kisses him just as the train whistle begins to blow. As he realizes what she's done, he angrily runs off to catch the train, telling her she is but one of a long line of women who have fallen for Harold. After Cowell leaves, the quartet passes by (reprise: "Lida Rose") and then Harold arrives; he begins to talk about the Think System, but Marian asks him to explain what Cowell has said. Harold tells her not to believe rumors about traveling salesmen because they are the product of jealousy. Marian agrees, telling him the rumors about her and Mr. Madison are also the product of jealousy. Harold then asks Marian to meet him at the Footbridge, a favorite lover's meeting place. She accepts. After Harold leaves, she tells her mother she has accepted his invitation; Mrs. Paroo remarks that the Think System, which she's been using on Harold and Marian, really works.
Scene Four: Marcellus shows up looking for Harold at the Footbridge. He tells Harold the uniforms have arrived. He also warns Harold the parents will want to hear the band playing when the kids show up in uniform at the Ice Cream Sociable. Marcellus tells Harold all the money has been collected and he suggests Harold catch the last freight train, which leaves town in a little over an hour. Marian meets Harold and when they are alone, she confesses her love for him ("Till There Was You"). She also tells him she has known all about his phony credentials for weeks. And as a final loving gesture, she gives Harold the page she removed from the reference book.
Scene Five: Alone, Harold absentmindedly sings to himself (reprise: "Seventy-Six Trombones") as Marian , offstage, does the same (reprise: "Goodnight, My Someone"). Midway through the song Harold, realizing he has fallen in love with Marian, begins to sing her song. At the same moment she begins to sing his song. Marcellus rushes in holding Harold's suitcase in one hand and holding Charlie Cowell back with his other hand. He tells Harold that Cowell has been trying to expose Harold's past crimes to the mayor. When Cowell makes an insulting remark about Marian, Harold knocks him down. Marcellus pleads with Harold to hurry to the waiting horse and buggy, but Harold doesn't move.
Scene Six: The Ladies Auxiliary Committee is finishing its Grecian Urn tableau as the mayor enters with Charlie Cowell. Cowell tells the townspeople about Harold's plan to leave town with their money without providing lessons for the boy's band. The mayor sends the townspeople off to find Harold. After they all leave, Harold runs into Marian, who is looking for Winthrop. Marcellus distracts the crowd away from Harold as Winthrop runs by. Winthrop has heard Cowell's accusations and angrily asks if Harold can lead a band. Harold truthfully tells him he can't. He explains he wanted Winthrop in the band because it was a way to get Winthrop to stop feeling sorry for himself. Marian tells Winthrop that Harold has offered the town a reason to be happy. She also tells the boy she's glad Harold came to River City. Harold sings of his love to Marian (reprise: "Till There Was You"). As they embrace, the constable and the townspeople arrive and Harold is put in handcuffs.
Scene Seven: The townspeople, gathered in the gymnasium, angrily await news of Harold's capture. The constable enters with Harold; Marian is at his side. The mayor suggests tarring and feathering, but Marian defends Harold, reminding the crowd of the excitement and joy Harold has brought to River City. The mayor then asks if anyone objects to tarring and feathering Harold; the constable, the Ladies Auxiliary Committee (including the mayor's wife), the school board, the mayor's daughter and Mrs. Paroo all stand up. The mayor reminds the crowd of Harold's promise to teach the boys to play and as he demands to know where the band is, the boys all enter in uniform and line up in band formation with their instruments. So there is a band after all: but can they play? Marian breaks a blackboard pointer, giving a piece to Harold to use as a baton. Harold pleads with the boys to think and gives the upbeat. Miraculously, they are able to play a barely recognizable Minuet in G. The townspeople, including the mayor, are all thrilled; all the parents proudly call to their sons. The mayor shakes Harold's hand and the crowd cheers; the play ends as Marian and Harold embrace.