OpeningNight.Online Theater Logo

The Music Man at the Winter Garden Theater

The Music Man, from
The Music Man, from
Search by review category

The Music Man is the most long-awaited, highly anticipated production on Broadway. It stars two-time Tony Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award winner Hugh Jackman (Harold Hill), who needs no further introduction (only paramedics for fainting fans). Partnering with Jackman is two-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy superstar Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo (no relation to me that I could trace as of yet).

Now in previews, fast forward three years, and finally, after being rescheduled twice due to the pandemic, opening night is February 10, 2022. We attended a preview performance delivering great musical theater and some comical, endearing unscripted moments by Foster and Jackman. It was seamless, as if Meredith Wilson, the playwright, had included them in the script.

Jackman’s Harold Hill was joyfully resplendent, bringing sunlit cheer to River City and the Winter Garden. Handsome and urbane, he glowed with the natural magnetism of a successful traveling salesman. The audience reveled in all the wonders of splendid brilliancy and dazzling light

his performance could command. Marvelous singing, dancing, and captivating badinage with the beautiful, initially skeptical Marian projected Jackman’s outstanding presence as Hill.

Foster’s role as Marian was imbued with tenderness and beguiling lyricism, culminating in her reprise of Till There Was You—there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman in rehearsal for The Music Man. Photo-:Julieta Cervantes
Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman in rehearsal for The Music Man. Photo-:Julieta Cervantes

Marie Mullen as Marian’s mother, Mrs. Paroo, was delightful with elegant comic timing–she successfully invoked Hill’s “Think System” to invigorate Marian’s growing admiration for Hill.

A young Benjamin Pujak made his Broadway debut as Winthrop Paroo with charming élan. He brought the song Gary Indiana to life. We’ll be seeing more of him for sure.

Incidentally, the eponymous Gary Indiana in real life is a critic for the Village Voice, actor, author (Horse Crazy 1989), and video producer. Born Gary Hoisington, he chose his pseudonym on a whim after meeting famed poet and critic John Ashbury, who introduced himself to Indiana as “I am Lowell Massachusetts.” We don’t know if Gary Hoisington picked Indiana because his first name was already Gary or he had just seen The Music Man. But all this adds to the lore of the beloved musical must-see. You, too, will be whistling Gary Indiana.

The show featured a sizeable, gifted singing and dancing cast. Warren Carlyle’s choreography was outstanding, and dance scenes were at times acrobatic, drawing oohs from the audience.

I first encountered Jackman in The River and only remember him from that play. At the show’s end, he removed his shirt and sold it in a fierce bidding war for a thousand dollars to raise money for Broadway Cares. He raised nearly $1 million during that run. I vowed right there and then that I would be in the audience whenever Jackman appeared on stage.

Producers created two very different movie versions of The Music Man. One in 1962 with Shirley Jones in a rendition straight from the Broadway theatre. Having played over 800 curtains, Robert Preston was tapped over Frank Sinatra for the role because of Meredith Wilson’s insistence. I would have loved to have seen Old Blue Eyes as Professor Hill, but you must give Preston credit–after 800 shows, his performance was refined and natural.  

A nondescript 2003 Disney version was produced starring Mathew Broderick as Professor Hill and Kristen Chenowith as Marian Paroo. Producers modernized the original time setting of the early 20th century rendering the story less believable. The movie also feels as if filmed on a low-budget set. Although produced four decades later,  there was a disappointing lack of special effects, creative lighting, and notable camera angles. The 1962 version, with its whimsical dialogue and developed characters, clearly outpaces the Disney version.

Finally, 76 Trombones on the Great White Way. 

Don’t wait to buy tickets. This show will sell out quickly.

Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Willson

Directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks

Choreography by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle,

For tickets, click the link below or here.

Elizabeth Ann Foster

Elizabeth Ann Foster

Harvard-educated journalist and native New Yorker, Elizabeth Ann Foster is a master chef and founder of the Natural Epicurean Culinary School based in Austin Texas. She managed and trained natural foods' chefs at Casa De Luz community macrobiotic center serving downtown Austin and is a certified Chef from the Kushi Institute and Vega Center in holistic healing and vegetarian-based culinary cuisine. A world traveler with an international perspective and diverse interests, for nearly a decade she has written reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre for The Front Row Center and New York Theatre Guide, and currently resides in both Manhattan and beautiful Southwestern Florida.

All Posts

Click Links Below for More on The Music Man


Events Tickets Center TicketLiquidator

Till There Was You – Reprise: Sung by Shirley Jones with Robert Preston in The Music Man, 1962 film

More to explore...

The Company of the 2021-2022 national tour of CATS. Photo by Matt Matthew, Murphymade.

CATS at the Mayo Performing Arts Center

There are so many beautiful songs in the first and second acts, too many to list. Still, song after song and with mindboggling dance presentations, the theatergoers waited in anticipation to hear Grizabella’s full performance of Memory, and it didn’t disappoint. It was so powerful that everyone in the theater held their breath momentarily.

In a scene of The Conductor at The Theater for the New City. Above: Brian Simmons as Warren Chipp. Below: Imran Javaid as Shashi Parmar. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The Conductor at the Theater for the New City

The Conductor celebrated emotionally charged discourse governed by mutual respect, intellectual rigor, and passionate argument without the hostility, recriminations, and violence sometimes seen in today’s national debate. As with any well-crafted, intellectually fueled discourse, Reed’s work evoked exciting questions and ideas for viewers desiring continued debate.

Tyce Green in Turn the Beat Around at 54 Below. Photo by Gloria Alvarado

Turn the Beat Around at 54 Below

The thrill of the disco era returned to 54 Below on March 1 for an exciting night as the famous and glamorous nightclub opened the dance floor to all who came to participate in two sold-out shows of Turn the Beat Around.


The Music Man at the Winter Garden Theater

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x