I thought the classic American musical was suffering mightily until Nancy and I witnessed Mary Zimmerman’s heartwarming and deeply moving production of The Music Man at the Goldman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois last evening. Ms Zimmerman is a USA midwestern native from Lincoln, Nebraska and she succeeded in finding the golden kernel of truth in this wonderful story. The story is of a travelling salesman who arrives in a small town in Iowa USA and uses his charisma and creativity to change the lives of every single citizen. The community is at first divided and then due to the boundless enthusiasm of the Music Man, Professor Harold Hill, they unite to support the creation of a marching band. The acting, scenery, costumes, and musical orchestrations seamlessly blended to conjure authentic theatrical magic as I have only rarely seen in the live theatre. Oh boy, do we need folk like Harold Hill to capture our hearts, bring us together and lead us into a better world!
I was sitting next to my favourite Iowan last night and surrounded by hundreds of other midwesterners and their smiles, laughter and loud applause confirmed that Mary Zimmerman and her gifted company had achieved the ultimate goal of live theatre. Together, we all looked into that giant mirror of the Goodman Theatre stage and experienced a better and more noble reflection of ourselves!