Its first production took the stage on Broadway in 1957 and went on to win five Tony Awards, included the coveted Best Musical gong. In fact, not only did it take the top prize, but beat out West Side Story in the process.
With a book, music and lyrics by Meredith Wilson, The Music Man remains a popular musical theatre title six decades later. Set in 1912, it tells the story of Harold Hill, a smooth-talking travelling salesman, who cons the people of the fictional town of River City in Iowa into believing he’s a talented bandleader. He persuades all of the boys in the town to form a band and pay him for their instruments and uniforms. But his efforts to abscond and swindle the townsfolk become a struggle when he falls for Marian Paroo, the librarian. So, what precisely will transpire?
The Music Man is the latest production from Hornsby Musical Society on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. Kicking off this Friday night, under the direction of Elizabeth Dobb, the production will play six performances at the Hornsby RSL Club.
Dodd talks about what it is that makes The Music Man a great piece to bring back to the stage in 2017.
“The show is a classic from the golden age of musical theatre and there will always be a great love and appreciation for this generation of musicals,” she tells Theatre People.
“The most popular of Meredith Wilson’s works – also known for The Unsinkable Molly Brown – is most iconic for its music. The majority of the music in the show is diegetic. Having the show based around a music premise, including the marching band, Marian’s piano lessons and the barbershop quartet, makes the interweaving of the songs as storytelling devices really interesting.”
Dobb has been involved with the society for the past two years. She was a performer in Guys and Dolls and, more recently, played the role of Hedy in its production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. She says, going into directing The Music Man, she was familiar with the score and the show’s legacy, but it was only when she dived into the script that she discovered the compelling nature of the story and its characters.
One of the aspects of the production about which Dobb is most excited is its dancing.
“The show provides for some great moments for dance, and our choreographer, Lauren Oxenham, has seized these opportunities,” she says. “In a show with such a huge focus on music, the combination of song and dance really transforms the show into a spectacle that the whole family will enjoy.”
Hornsby Musical Society was founded in 1958, and Dobb says it’s great to be part of a society that has such a great legacy.
“Hornsby often stage shows that appeal to a wide audience with a classic feel. I’m excited about their upcoming productions of We Will Rock You and Anything Goes for their 2018 season.”
And what can audiences expect from Hornsby’s 2017 production of The Music Man?
“A heart-warming story, comedic characters and spectacular, full-cast dance numbers,” Dobb says.
“The Music Man is a show perfect for the whole family this school holidays.”
THE MUSIC MAN – SEASON DETAILS
Venue: Hornsby RSL Club (4 High Street, Hornsby)
Performance dates and times:
Friday 29 September – 7:30pm
Saturday 30 September – 1:30pm and 7:30pm
Friday 6th October – 7:30pm
Saturday 7th October – 1:30pm and 7:30pm
Running time: 2½ hours (including intermission)
Tickets can be purchased online here