Miracle of The Music Man

Rowman & Littlefield. Sept. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9781538154649. $34. THEATER
Music publisher Cabaniss (Music Business Essentials: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals) pens a lovely tribute to Meredith Willson (1902–84), highlighting his role as lyricist and composer for one of the most beloved and successful Broadway musicals, 1957’s The Music Man. While providing biographical context and setting the stage with tales of Willson’s youth in small-town Iowa, touring with the Sousa Band, and a stint under Toscanini as a flutist in the New York Philharmonic, the author focuses more on the genesis of the show (and its 1962 film version), whose undimmed popularity after 65 years attests to its universality. Entertaining vignettes about members of the creative team and their contemporaries as well as excerpts from interviews with Willson’s widow and associates abound. Descriptions of Willson’s other musical endeavors, a smattering of photos and copious chapter notes complement the main narrative. Cabaniss’ discussions of more recent revivals of The Music Man on stage and television and his comparisons with other significant musicals prove invaluable.
VERDICT Will appeal to anyone interested in The Music Man or the process of bringing to life a full-fledged musical entertainment in the mid-20th century United States.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing