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'Music Man' still marching

The classic musical, which enjoyed a recent revival on Broadway, opens tonight at Crystal River's Playhouse 19.

By JORGE SANCHEZ

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 2, 2000


There's trouble in River City, and that's a good thing.

The trouble brewing in the small Iowa town is a result of the scheming con man Harold Hill. His latest trick is getting the residents of River City to believe they can use his "Think Method" to become a proficient marching band. What he really has in mind in stealing their money after they place orders with him for uniforms and instruments.

Based on the simple premise of a con man who meets his match in the city's librarian (yes, her name is Marian), The Music Man carries the story with great songs.

Beatles fans will quickly recognize 'Till There Was You, a wonderful love ballad the Fab Four performed live at a command performance before the queen. And just about everyone will recognize the brassy march 76 Trombones.

The musical also features The Wells Fargo Wagon, Rock Island, Ya Got Trouble, Marian the Librarian and Gary Indiana.

The Music Man was written by Meredith Willson in 1957. It ran for more than 1,350 shows and won eight Tony Awards. The cast album won a Grammy award that year, the first time a Broadway musical cast album was a Grammy winner. The film's musical score won an Academy Award.

The play just concluded a Broadway revival in April. It really never left the popular culture, with the Beatles song and, more recently, a classic The Simpsons episode "Marge Vs. The Monorail."

Playhouse 19 has cast Chris Fickley as Harold Hill, with Merry Ellen Williams returning to her Citrus County acting roots to play the love interest Marian Paroo.

A large cast of more than 20 actors portrays the rest of the River City characters.

At a glance

WHAT: The Music Man, a musical

WHEN: Opens tonight, with shows Thursdays-Sundays through June 25. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Playhouse 19, 865 U.S. 19 S, Crystal River.

TICKETS: $12, call the box office at 563-1333.

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