The Broadway revival of Meredith Willson's patriotic, Americana-rich musical, The Music Man, closes Dec. 30 at the Neil Simon Theatre, making way for a spring 2002 stretch for Elaine Stritch At Liberty.
Robert Sean Leonard stars in the title role of the Susan Stroman-directed Music Man. Stroman (The Producers, Thou Shalt Not, Contact) also choreographed the revival. Rebecca Luker stars as Marian the Librarian. Craig Bierko and Luker originated the roles in this revival, which opened April 27, 2000, following previews that began April 5. Eric McCormack (TV's "Will & Grace") stepped into the show May 8, 2001 through Aug. 5.
By Dec. 30, the performance count for The Music Man will be 24 previews and 698 performances. A non Equity national tour in currently on the road.
The musical comedy was one of only three Broadway scores composer-lyricist Meredith Willson wrote (and he also co-wrote its story and wrote the libretto), but Music Man has sunk into the popular American imagination: It celebrates small town Iowa in 1912, a salesman's drive to succeed, a spinster's dreams of a quality man and true romance, and a child's wish to be special. And it does so with now-classic tunes such as "Trouble," "Seventy-Six Trombones," "My White Knight," "Gary, Indiana," "Goodnight, My Someone" and "The Wells Fargo Wagon."
One of the shows many surprises was a fully choreographed curtain call in front of a huge American flag. In the sequence, the company, in marching band regalia, play trombones and other band instruments.
The Music Man is produced by Dodger Theatricals, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Elizabeth Williams/Anita Waxman, Kardana-Swinsky Productions, Lorie Cowen Levy/Dede Harris.
Robert Sean Leonard, not known as a musical theatre star, and fresh from winning the Tony for The Invention of Love, joined the company Aug. 7, 2001.
The current cast includes Joel Blum, Kenneth Kimmins, Ruth Gottschall, Katherine McGrath, Andrew Boyer, Cameron Adams, Manuel Herrera, William Ullrich, Martha Hawley, Leslie Hendrix, Christine Toy Johnson, Nancy Johnston, Malika Samuel, Jack Doyle, Blake Hammond, John Sloman, Michael Leon Wooley, with Kevin Bogue, Chase Brock, Enrique Brown, Liam Burke, Lindsay Dunn, Michael Duran, Mitchel Federan, Cynthia Leigh Heim, Suzanne Hevner, Mary Illes, Joy Lynn Matthews, Michael McGurk, Carolyn Ockert, Tina Ou, Tiler Peck, Alice Rietveld, Ric Ryder, Dan Sharkey, Jason Snow, Jennifer Tangjerd, Lauren Ullrich, Travis Wall, Jeff Williams and Tommar Wilson.
Designers are Thomas Lynch (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting), Jonathan Deans (sound). Orchestrations are by Doug Besterman. Dance and incidental musical arrangements are by David Krane. Musical director-conductor is David Chase.
The Music Man originally opened on Broadway Dec. 19, 1957, starring Preston and Barbara Cook. Book, music and lyrics are by Meredith Willson and the story is by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey. It was a Tony Award winner for Best Musical (skunking West Side Story) and ran 1,376 performances. Willson would not have a greater success, despite the Broadway run and movie version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. His musical, Here's Love, based on "Miracle on 34th Street," fared less well.
The Music Man plays at The Neil Simon Theatre at 250 W. 52nd Street. Call (212) 307-4100 for ticket information.