The Music Man was a sensation on Broadway when it opened in 1957 and scored six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, beating out West Side Story. Sixty years later, it’s still an American institution, with a one-of-a-kind score that includes rousing numbers such as “Seventy-Six Trombones,” soaring ballads such as “Till There Was You” and Meredeth Willson’s famous snap-crackle-pop vocal arrangements that could be considered the Broadway precursors to rap. The storyline is classic: Slick-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill sets his sights on River City, Iowa, where he cons the townspeople into buying instruments for their non-musical children to create a marching band that Harold doesn’t really intend to form. But his plan to skip town with his takings is foiled when his heart is stolen by the town librarian.

Meredith Willson

Meredith Willson – musician, playwright and composer – was best known for the book, words, and music for The Music Man

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