The TV movie musical, "The Music Man," will air on ABC's "The Wonderful World of Disney" Feb. 23, 2003, introducing a new generation to Meredith Willson's Americana-rich yarn about a salesman who brings "Trouble" — and joy — to River City, Iowa.
Production on the telepic took place in Toronto (and a small Ontario town for exterior shots) April 16-July 21 and the TV movie is currently being edited, a production source told Playbill On-Line. Matthew Broderick stars as shady charmer Prof. Harold Hill, who falls in love with the town librarian, Marian Paroo (Kristin Chenoweth), after he flim-flams the citizens into buying marching uniforms, instruments and lessons for a boys' band.
In addition to casting Tony Award-winners Broderick (How to Succeed in Business..., The Producers) and Chenoweth (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Steel Pier), the producers of the new TV version of the durable Broadway hit snagged Victor Garber as Mayor Shinn, Molly Shannon as Mrs. Shinn, David Aaron Baker as Marcellus and Debra Monk as Mrs. Paroo.
The picture is expected to be a three-hour TV event, and a soundtrack recording is expected, according to a production source.
Jeff Bleckner ("The Beach Boys: An American Family") directs and Broadway's Kathleen Marshall (Kiss Me, Kate, Seussical) choreographs. Monk has appeared in the Broadway musicals Thou Shalt Not, Steel Pier and Company and in Lincoln Center Theatre's Ah! Wilderness! Garber was Anthony Hope in Broadway's Sweeney Todd, and now stars in ABC-TV's spy series, "Alias." Shannon is a veteran of "Saturday Night Live." Baker was seen in Broadway's Once Upon a Mattress.
Composer-lyricist-librettist Meredith Willson penned the script and the score of the Broadway original, drawing on his Midwest youth and his love for marching bands and all things musical.
Willson's The Music Man, a 1957 Broadway smash that won the Best Musical Tony Award, recently enjoyed a Broadway revival and is seen on a non-Equity national tour. A 1962 film starred Shirley Jones and original Broadway star Robert Preston (along with much of the original cast).
Chenoweth is known for her Tony Award-winning comic performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and her ability to present both a stunning belt voice and a shimmering soprano. She appeared as Lily St. Regis in Storyline's "Annie." A recent sitcom tailored for her flopped on NBC.
Broderick is widely known for his films, including "Biloxi Blues," "WarGames," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Election" and more.
The score of The Music Man includes choice material for Marian, including "My White Knight," "Goodnight My Someone," "Lida Rose" and "Till There Was You." In the 1962 film version, a new song ("Being in Love") was written for Marian to replace "My White Knight" (in the hope of snagging an Oscar nom for Best Song).
The score also includes "Seventy-Six Trombones," "Gary, Indiana," "Marian the Librarian," "The Wells Fargo Wagon," "Trouble," "The Sadder But Wiser Girl" and more.
— By Kenneth Jones