The Music Man Starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster Ends This Sunday
This Sunday will mark the final performance of Broadway’s biggest hit of the 2021 / 2022 season, The Music Man. The show’s historic run starring two-time Tony Award®, Grammy Award®, and Emmy Award®-winning star Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo, will have played 419 performances. The production began performances on December 20, 2021 and played a significant role in bringing the theater industry back from its 18-month pandemic shutdown. The Music Man was originally set to run through January 1 but was extended by popular demand.
Since beginning performances The Music Man has broken record after record after record at the Winter Garden Theatre, surpassing the previous 8-show record in 53 out of 54 performance weeks and the 9-show record 51 times. The production broke its own house record ten times during its run.
During its run, The Music Man made available a total of 10,000 tickets — the equivalent of nearly seven full houses at the Winter Garden – for initiatives intended to reduce economic barriers to access to Broadway. The production also broke fundraising records for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA) with more than $4 million raised in their post-show fundraising drives, including a now-legendary acquisition of Mr. Jackman’s on-stage boater hat acquired by Nicole Kidman for a whopping $100,000 to benefit BCEFA.
The Music Man welcomed visitors from over 100 countries and all six habitable continents. By January 15, 2023, 614,000 fans will have experienced this production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man.
The Music Man is produced by Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Kate Horton.
Horton commented, “We are immensely proud of this magnificent production and its extraordinary, record-breaking run. The recent challenges faced by the theater community over recent years have been immense, and we are honored to have played a part in bringing Broadway back to life. Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster have lead our cast and company with grace, humor and supreme talent, and we are so grateful to them and to the entire team on The Music Man for their inspirational work. We’d finally like to thank our wonderful audiences for all their support – we hope you enjoyed getting caught up in the music.”
The Music Man is directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle. The creative team includes four-time Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), five-time Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Luc Verschueren for Campbell Young and Associates (Hair, Wigs, & Makeup Design), Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick (Orchestrations), David Chase (Vocal and Dance Arrangements), and Patrick Vaccariello (Musical Director).
One of the most universally cherished treasures of the American musical theater, The Music Man was an instant smash hit when it premiered on Broadway on December 19, 1957. It went on to win five Tony Awards, including the prize for Best Musical, and ran for 1,375 performances. The Smithsonian Institution ranks The Music Man as one of the “great glories of American popular culture.” The official cast recording of this history-making production of The Music Man is now available on all music streaming platforms, and was released by Accidental Jacket Entertainment.
In addition to Mr. Jackman and Ms. Foster, the cast of The Music Man includes Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley as Marcellus Washburn, Mark Linn-Baker as Mayor Shinn, Tony Award winner Jayne Houdyshell as Mrs. Shinn, and Tony Award winner Marie Mullen as Mrs. Paroo, Remy Auberjonois as Charlie Cowell, Gino Cosculluela as Tommy Djilas, Emma Crow as Zaneeta Shinn, Benjamin Pajak as Winthrop, Emily Jewel Hoder as Amaryllis, Garrett Long as Ethel Toffelmier, Linda Mugleston as Alma Hix, Jessica Sheridan as Maud Dunlop, Rema Webb as Mrs. Squires, Phillip Boykin as Olin Britt, Eddie Korbich as Jacey Squires, Daniel Torres as Ewart Dunlop, Nicholas Ward as Oliver Hix, Lance Roberts as Constable Locke, Max Clayton as Standby for Harold Hill, and Nick Alvino, Jordan Beall, Lauren Blackman, Ronnie S. Bowman Jr., Maria Briggs, Audrina Brudner, Michael Cash, William Thomas Colin, Kammie Crum, Aydin Eyikan, Richard Gatta, Ethen Green-Younger, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Amanda LaMotte, Kayla LaVine, Devin Miles Lugo, Drew Minard, Sean Montgomery, Kennedy Pitney, Tanner Quirk, Daniel Patrick Russell, Ann Sanders, Sherisse Springer, Mitchell Tobin, Kathy Voytko, Branch Woodman and Ryan Worsing rounding out the Ensemble.
Ms. Mullen is appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance to this production.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: A Dolls House: Arian Moayed and Jessica Chastain
I went with T2C’s editor to A Dolls House, which inspired this caricature. You can read Suzanna’s review of the show here.
T2C Sends Our Prayers to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lea Michele
Saturday, March 25, 2023
A Statement From Andrew Lloyd Webber
I am shattered to have to announce that my beloved elder son Nick died a few hours ago in Basingstoke Hospital. His whole family is gathered together and we are all totally bereft.
Thank you for all your thoughts during this difficult time.
The 75-year-old Oscar-winning composer son Nicholas followed in his father’s footsteps and was a successful composer in his own right, having written Fat Friends The Musical. He was married to musician Polly Wiltshire, who appeared on the soundtrack of his father’s 2019 movie Cats.
During his career, Nicholas also scored music for an adaption of The Little Prince as well as composing numerous TV and film scores, including for the BBC1 drama Loves, Lies, and Records.
Nicholas previously spoke about making his own way in the theatre world away from his famous family name in a 2011 unearthed interview.
He said he wanted to be ‘judged on his own merits’ so dropped his surname when working to see what the reaction would be.
Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.
Also on Saturday Lea Michele updated her fans on the status of her two-year-old’s health via her Instagram after he was hospitalized earlier this week. Her son Ever was in the hospital, but is now out due to a ‘scary health issue. She posted a picture backstage in her dressing room ahead of her Broadway performance in Funny Girl. Lea had been out to focus on her family.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for just so much love and support this week. I really really appreciated it”.
Parade: A Musical That Asks Us Do We Have The Eyes And Ears To See.
Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt Photo by Joan Marcus
I have always loved Jason Robert Brown’s score for Parade. “You Don’t Know This Man,” “This Is Not Over Yet” and the wonderfully romantic “All the Wasted Time” are just the tip of the iceberg for music that stirs your soul and tells a tale of heartbreak. There is a reason this score won the Tony Award in 1999.
The musical now playing on Broadway dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank (Ben Platt), who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan (Erin Rose Doyle). The trial was sensationalized by the media, newspaper reporter Britt Craig (Jay Armstrong Johnson) and Tom Watson (Manoel Feliciano), an extremist right-wing newspaper aroused antisemitic tensions in Atlanta and the U.S. state of Georgia. When Frank’s death sentence is commuted to life in prison thanks to his wife Lucille (Micaela Diamond), Leo was transferred to a prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, where a lynching party seized and kidnapped him. Frank was taken to Phagan’s hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and he was hanged from an oak tree.
The telling of this horrid true tale begins with the lush ode to the South in “The Old Red Hills of Home.” Leo has just moved from Brooklyn to in Marietta, where his wife is from and he has been given the job as as a manager at the National Pencil Co. He feels out of place as he sings “I thought that Jews were Jews, but I was wrong!” On Confederate Memorial Day as Lucille plans a picnic, Leo goes to work. In the meantime Mary goes to collect her pay from the pencil factory. The next day Leo is arrested on suspicion of killing Mary, whose body is found in the building. The police also suspect Newt Lee (Eddie Cooper), the African-American night watchman who discovered the body, but he inadvertently directs Starnes’ suspicion to Leo.
Across town, reporter Britt Craig see this story as (“Big News”). Mary’s suitor Frankie Epps (Jake Pederson), swears revenge on Mary’s killer, as does the reporter Watson. Governor John Slaton (Sean Allan Krill) pressures the local prosecutor Hugh Dorsey (the terrific smarmy Paul Alexander Nolan) to get to the bottom of the whole affair. Dorsey, an ambitious politician sees Leo as he ticket to being the Governor and though there are other suspects, he willfully ignores them and goes after Leo.
The trial of Leo Frank is presided over by Judge Roan (Howard McMillan). A series of witnesses, give trumped up evidence which was clearly is fed to them by Dorsey. Frankie testifies, falsely, that Mary said Leo “looks at her funny.” Her three teenage co-workers, Lola, Essie and Monteen (Sophia Manicone, Emily Rose DeMartino, Ashlyn Maddox), collaborate hauntingly as they harmonize their testimony (“The Factory Girls”). In a fantasy sequence, Leo becomes the lecherous seducer (“Come Up to My Office”). Testimony is heard from Mary’s mother (Kelli Barrett ) (“My Child Will Forgive Me”) and Minnie McKnight (Danielle Lee Greaves)before the prosecution’s star witness, Jim Conley (Alex Joseph Grayson ), takes the stand. He claims that he witnessed the murder and helped Leo conceal the crime (“That’s What He Said”). Leo is given the opportunity to deliver a statement (“It’s Hard to Speak My Heart”), but it is not enough. He is found guilty and sentenced to hang. The crowd breaks out into a jubilant circus.
Act 1, is not as strong as it should have been. I have attended three different incarnations, the last being with Jeremy Jordan as Leo and Joshua Henry as Jim in 2015. Part of the problem is Michael Arden’s direction. Instead of allowing his performers to act, he has them pantomime, as the solo goes forth. “Come Up to My Office” was not as haunting as in past productions. The same can be said of “That’s What He Said”. Who’s stands out in the first act is Jake Pederson as Frankie and Charlie Webb as the Young Soldier who sings “The Old Red Hills of Home.”
In Act 2, Lucille finds Governor Slaton at a party (the hypnotic “Pretty Music” sung wonderfully by Krill) and advocates for Leo. Watson approaches Dorsey and tells him he will support his bid for governor, as Judge Roan also offers his support. The governor agrees to re-open the case, as Leo and Lucille find hope. Slaton realizes what we all knew that the witnesses were coerced and lied and that Dorsey is at the helm. He agrees to commute Leo’s sentence to life in prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, which ends his political career. The citizens of Marietta, led by Dorsey and Watson, are enraged and riot. Leo is transferred to a prison work-farm. Lucille visits, and he realizes his deep love for his wife and how much he has underestimated her (“All the Wasted Time”). With hope in full blaze Lucille leaves as a party masked men kidnap Leo and take him to Marietta. They demand he confess and hang him from an oak tree.
In Act Two Parade comes together with heart and soul. Diamond, who shines brightly through out the piece is radiant, and her duets with Platt are romantic and devastating. Platt comes into his own and his huge following is thrilled to be seeing him live. Alex Joseph Grayson’s also nails his Second Act songs.
Dane Laffrey’s set works well with the lighting by Heather Gilbert.
Frank’s case was reopened in 2019 and is still ongoing.
Parade has multiple messages and the question is will audiences absorb it. I am so glad this show is on Broadway, making us think and see. This is a must see.
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Parade: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.