The Broadway revival of Meredith Willson's patriotic musical, The Music Man, will close Dec. 30 at the Neil Simon Theatre, a spokesman has confirmed.
Word has been circulating in the theatre community that Elaine Stritch's new solo show, At Liberty, will be the next tenant at the Simon. Robert Sean Leonard stars in the title role of the Susan Stroman-directed Music Man. Stroman also choreographed the Americana-tinged show. 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.
By Dec. 30, the performance count for The Music Man will be 24 previews and 698 performances.
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."
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.
In summer 2001, Eric McCormack of TV's "Will and Grace" played Harold Hill. 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.
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.