THE MUSIC MAN is now on my all-time favorites list for amazing Broadway shows. It was everything you hoped it would be and more. It filled your heart with joy, laughter, and love.
Hugh Jackman starred as Professor Harold Hill, a traveling salesman with a scandalous reputation. Hugh was made for this role. He was born to be this character. ln his high school days, he even played one of the other traveling salesmen parts. He says he always remembered the words to the big musical numbers in hopes of one day playing the lead on Broadway. That day came just before the pandemic hit, and all of Broadway shut down. Hugh has been training for over a year, singing and tapping for Broadway’s reopening. He did not disappoint. His facial expressions, body language, pacing, singing, and dancing was perfection. The man can even twirl his hat on and off his head about a zillion times throughout each act and never let it hit the floor. It feels so personal watching him on stage. When he looks at someone else saying their lines, he is so “in the moment.” I believed he was genuinely listening and reacting as all great actors do. He will surely take home the Tony this year for all of his hard work and it is well-deserved.
Sutton Foster portrayed THE MUSIC MAN’S leading lady role. She is a two-time Tony award-winning actress who was fabulous, subtle, strong and has a smile that could light up 48th street for sure. Sutton is an expert dancer and singer. When she moves, all eyes are on her. She has grace, style, and complements Hugh. They have chemistry with a capital “C” and “that rhymes with “T” and stands for trouble” (Hah…I couldn’t resist. The songs are still racing around in my head). She brought to life Marian’s shy, librarian insecurities. Sutton colored her intentions, which in turn updated the script without changing a word. It was explosive and authentic. It was like attending a master acting class without even being aware.
The sets were creative and clever, especially the “Wells Fargo Wagon coming down the hill.” The use of crossovers (scenes acted in front of the curtain) was well-done and allowed the larger sets to be moved wherever necessary. The choreography was sublime and sheer precision. The ensemble’s timing and quick movements were impeccable. This cast highlighted six children, and they could do anything the “older” dancers could and more. Highlights were of course, “76 TROMBONES, MARIAN THE LIBRARIAN, OH, WE GOT TROUBLE, SHIPOOPIE, and ROCK ISLAND” The costumes were authentic and moved with ease and grace. They brought you into the scene but did not overpower the characters. The lighting was warm and hot. It was lit so well that the audience could view even the tiniest of details down to Hugh’s raised eyebrows, or Sutton’s blushing cheeks.
THE MUSIC MAN was exactly what I dreamed it would be. I directed this great show years ago. I knew every song and line. I saw it on March 10th, transfixed and in awe of what was unfolding before my eyes. I will remember the moments forever. I would recommend everyone to see this spectacular musical especially with the original stage cast. Once in a blue moon, a show comes along and knocks you on your butt. This was THE MUSIC MAN. It is as timely today as it was decades ago. It will make you smile, laugh, shed a tear, and whisk you away. In this crazy, upside-down world, we all need that right now. It is hopeful and priceless. My heart is full.