Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Music Man - Starring Jessica and Santino Fontana

I hope you’re enjoying your summer!  I know I have been!  It’s been a wonderful time to visit family, catch up with friends, read just for fun, and, of course, relax!

Last night, I had a great opportunity to attend the musical, The Music Man, just one of the many events of a local music festival.  For this production, two famous Broadway actors and musicians performed the leading roles.  Santino Fontana is known for his role of Prince Hans in Frozen, Prince Charming in Cinderella, as well as television roles in My Craxy Ex-Girlfriend and Shades of Blue.  His wife, Jessica Fontana has also starred on Broadway in the title role of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, as well as in Baby, It’s You, Pipe Dream, and Once Upon a Mattress.  For this production, Santino and Jessica performed the main roles of Harold Hill and Marian Paroo.  When I first heard about them coming to my area, I was so excited!  It was so great to hear them both perform together, with such beautiful voices!  They did a phenomenal job!



Although the event was not exactly how I imagined it would be, it was a lovely evening with only the main songs and dances performed, with wonderful, live narration and directed by Jack Cummings III (Transport Group Theatre Company).  This concert was originally produced by in New York City in 2014.  The narration interspersed important events of the story of The Music Man, along with historical information about Meredith Willson’s work.  I thoroughly enjoyed this production and the story of The Music Man.  I love watching and attending musicals, however, I have never had a chance to watch this particular one until last evening.  The story was engaging, the music enthralling, and the background intriguing.   I definitely suggest you check this musical out for yourself.

Here are some fun facts about The Music Man:
  • Synopsis:  Harold Hill is a traveling con man, who tries to convince the locals of River City, Iowa, to start a band by purchasing uniforms and instruments from him. His original plan is to leave town as soon as he can pocket the money. But librarian Marian Paroo suspects Harold is a fraud, although the rest of town is excited about the band. Harold begins to develop feelings for Marian and faces a difficult decision about skipping town.
  • The original name of the musical was The Silver Triangle, until producers Feuer and Martin told Willson that he needed a new name and suggested The Music Man.
  • Fact:  Meredith Willson is a man, born Robert Meredith Willson in 1902 in Mason City, Iowa.  He is an American playwright and author, best known for writing the book, lyrics, and music of the Broadway hit The Music Man.
  • The Music Man takes place in River City, Iowa, which is based on his home city, Mason City, Iowa.  The movie had its world premiere there.
  • In The Music Man, Meredith Willson named most of his characters after his real friends and family.  For example, Harold Hill got his name from Meredith’s childhood friend, Harold Keidle.  Harold, Meredith, and Cedric (Meredith’s brother) joined a musical group called “The Jones Brothers.”  Also the librarian Marian Paroo was based on his piano teacher and mother, Rosalie (Rose), also inspiring the song “Lida Rose.”
  • The Music Man first opened on Broadway in 1957, with a movie produced in 1962, starring Robert Preston and Shirley Joes.  More recently, The Music Man was released in 2003, with Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth.
  • The original production of The Music Man won 9 Tony awards, beating West Side Story for the honor of Best Musical.


If you’re interested, you can check out this great musical at your local library or with these video links. 
Have you seen any good musicals lately?  What's your favorite one?

~Beth

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