Meredith Willson's all-time American musical classic, The Music Man, is next on the bill for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Summer Showbiz 2011, opening at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, at the theater in SIUE's Dunham Hall. With wonderful songs such as Seventy-six Trombones, Gary, Indiana, and Till There Was You, the citizens of River City, Iowa, will encounter a very special salesman-the loveable con-man Professor Harold Hill. The show continues at 7:30 Thursday-Saturday nights and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 16-17.
Opening on Broadway in 1957, Willson's The Music Man won five Tony Awards including Best Musical and ran for 1,375 performances. In 1962, a film adaptation quickly became a hit as well and made Robert Preston a household name.
The story involves Hill as the fast-talking character who travels from small town to small town posing as a boys' band organizer who also happens to sell band instruments and uniforms. Once he has the townsfolks' money, off he scoots. His lucrative life takes a sudden tailspin when he meets his match-the lovely Marian, the local librarian, who sees through his act and is about to expose him when Hill's kindness toward her younger brother causes her to have second thoughts. To make Hill's situation even more complicated, he realizes that he is falling for Marian and she is falling in love with him. Is he willing to be exposed and captured to win her heart? Willson's skills as a songwriter and storyteller have made this 60-year-old hit musical an entertainment mainstay throughout most of the world.
Tickets are $15 for those 18 and older, while all other admissions are $12, including any students with valid student IDs. The SIUE Fine Arts box office, located in Room 1042B Dunham Hall, may be reached by phone, (618)-650-2774, or visit the website: www.siue.edu/summerarts.
Each summer, the SIUE Department of Theater and Dance presents Summer Showbiz, a summer fare of two to three theatrical productions. Currently, the summer offering has grown to include Xfest, a four-day festival of experimental theater groups from around the country, and the Cougar Theater Company, the newly formed theater for young audiences, presenting classic folklore, literature, poetry and stories. The department is part of the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences.