Craig Bierko will exit Broadway's The Music Man May 6, just past a year since the musical revival's opening back on April 27, 2000. Taking his place as con-artist Harold Hill will be Will — that is, Eric McCormack, who plays the character Will in the hit TV sitcom "Will & Grace." The Toronto-born McCormack arrives in River City, Iowa May 8.
According to a press spokeman for the show, McCormack, spent five seasons with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and essayed leading roles in such works as Three Sisters, Henry V and Murder in the Cathedral. McCormack's work on "Will & Grace" has netted him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
Previews for The Music Man began April 5, 2000. Q Records released an original cast recording of the revival June 13, 2000.
The musical comedy was one of only three Broadway scores 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."
Susan Stroman directs and choreographs the 1957 tuner.
The Music Man is presented by Dodger Theatricals, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Elizabeth Williams/Anita Waxman, Kardana-Swinsky Productions, Lorie Cowen Levy/Dede Harris.
Thirty-five-year-old Bierko, chosen as the "Sexiest Man on Broadway" last year by People Magazine, was perhaps best known as a film actor ("The Long Kiss Goodnight," "The Thirteenth Floor"), before making his Broadway debut in the role created by Robert Preston. The Westchester, NY, native made his stage debut at 10 at a community theatre run by his folks. He later studied and acted at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Designing The Music Man 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 Manplays at The Neil Simon Theatre: 250 W. 52nd Street.
Call (212) 307-4100 for ticket information.