Meredith’s Wilson’s “The Music Man” debuted on Broadway in 1957, quickly becoming an audience favorite and a critical success.
The musical eventually spawned a 1963 film adaptation with original star Robert Preston and a 2003 television remake with Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth. In addition, countless versions have been produced at professional and community theaters across the country.
A national tour of “The Music Man” stops this weekend at Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg.
Peoria resident Alice Korsick, a member of the original Broadway cast, said she’s not surprised at the mass popularity and legacy of the show.
“This is a musical that will never go out of style,” said Korsick. “It’s family-oriented and tells a great moral story that appeals to everyone.”
“The Music Man” revolves around con man Harold Hill, who sells band “instruments” and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town with the cash. When he arrives in River City, Iowa, Marian the librarian sees through his act.
But Marian begins to fall in love with Harold after he helps her younger brother overcome his problems with social interaction due to a lisp. In return, Harold risks his whole scam in front of the town to win her affection.
The musical features such classic songs as “Marian the Librarian,” “Till There Was You” and the rousing “Seventy-Six Trombones.”
Korsick, who joined the original cast in her 20s, was a dancer in “The Music Man” and portrayed one of the teenage girls.
When she first joined “The Music Man,” Korsick knew the show would be a hit based on the audience response, but she had no idea of the lasting impact.
“It really became a phenomenon and has touched so many generations over the years, including new ones now with all of these productions still popping up,” Korsick said. “I’m very proud to be a part of such a huge hit.”
Stephanie Fornoff, box office manager for the Webb Center, said the staff thought the musical was a perfect fit.
“There are so many hit songs from that show, and people grew up on the musical,” Fornoff said. “But folks are also bringing their children and grandchildren. It’s such a classic.”
From the music and sets to the costumes and dance numbers, Korsick said “The Music Man” will remain a favorite for years to come.
“‘The Music Man’ will be here for many more years, because it’s pure fun and has a message that’s very entertaining for all ages,” Korsick said.