By Kenneth Jones
08 Jun 2011
Baldwin was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for her 2002 Washington, DC, performance in South Pacific, which marked the first time that Arena artistic director Smith had directed a large-scale traditional musical. Smith has since staged musicals on her DC home turf (the smash 2010 Oklahoma! returns to Arena this summer for an encore) and in Canada (Mack and Mabel and the current My Fair Lady at Ontario's Shaw Festival).
Marian Paroo, also known as Marian the Librarian, is cautiously bewitched by the title's charming traveling salesman in the small-town Iowa-set musical by Meredith Willson. Marian is considered one of the great soprano roles of the American musical theatre, allowing an actress to sing such classics as "Till There Was You," "My White Knight," "Will I Ever Tell You?" and "Goodnight, My Someone."
The Music Man, winner of the 1958 Tony Award as Best Musical, originally starred Robert Preston as Prof. Harold Hill and Barbara Cook as Marian. Book, music and lyrics are by Meredith Willson, with story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey.
Baldwin, whose Broadway credits also include The Full Monty and Wonderful Town, has a new live concert album coming out this summer — She Loves Him, her tribute to the songs of Sheldon Harnick, with special guest Harnick. The show was seen earlier this year at Feinstein's at Loews Regency.
Read Playbill.com's 2010 Brief Encounter interview with Arena Stage's Molly Smith, who talks about her relationship with musicals.
To learn more about Arena Stage, visit arenastage.org.