Digitally remastered edition. Written by Meredith Willson, The Music Man spent several years in development before finally opening on Broadway in December 1957. It proved to be an instant success, earning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical during its 1,375 performances. The cast recording would top the charts for 12 weeks and win the first Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album. It was turned into a film version in 1962, with Robert Preston reprising the role he had made his own during the Broadway run. Hallmark.
In light of all the hit Broadway musicals that have stumbled in their translation to the big screen, The Music Man stands out as an exception; it is one of the best-loved movie musicals of all time. A great deal of the credit goes to composer Meredith Willson, who resisted studio pressure to hire a big name for the title role (Frank Sinatra or Cary Grant) in favor of the Tony-winning stage star, Robert Preston, who turns in one of Hollywood''s most magical performances as the spellbinder who hoodwinks a small town in Iowa. Shirley Jones did not perform the show on Broadway, but she had cut her teeth as a musical ingenue in the films of Rodgers and Hammerstein''s Oklahoma! and Carousel and gives Marian the librarian a lovely voice and charming personality. Most importantly, Willson''s score combines marching bands and barbershop quartets to capture perfectly the spirit of America''s heartland at the turn of the century. A classic. --David Horiuchi
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