Banjo Boy, New Musical About Life of Music Man Creator, to Debut in August | Playbill

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News Banjo Boy, New Musical About Life of Music Man Creator, to Debut in August A new musical about the life of Meredith Willson, who wrote the book and songs for the Tony-winning musical The Music Man, will make its premiere this summer at the Stephen Sondheim Center at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield, IA.

Randal West, the artistic director of the Sondheim Center, will helm the production, which begins previews Aug. 8 and runs through Aug. 17. Justin Hill is music director.

Banjo Boy features book, lyrics and music by Randolph Hobler. The musical, according to press notes, "takes place both in the present and in 1928. From the present, an elder Meredith Willson who has gone to 'that great treble clef in the sky' goes back to get inside the head of his teenage self to 'change a few notes of my life.' The main change he wants is to repair the poor relationship he had with his father." Song titles include "Sears, Dear Sears," "The Clip-Clop Life" and "Thanks Be to Music."

Composer-lyricist-librettist Hobler is a marketing consultant in Dobbs Ferry, NY, who knew the late Willson and has been working on the musical for over six years. In a statement Hobler said, "I'm thrilled that The Sondheim Center has chosen Banjo Boy for its premiere, and what more appropriate place than Iowa to open it."

Meredith Willson, who was born in Mason City, IA, in 1902 also penned the score for The Unsinkable Molly Brown and the book and score for Here's Love. He died in June 1984 in Santa Monica, CA.

For tickets call (641) 472-2787 or visit Go to for more information.

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