My daughters and I were honored to be invited to attend The Music Man on opening night. We loved Into The Woods and the girls enjoyed The Wizard of Oz Summer Camp, so we could not resist the opportunity!
As an immigrant to this country, I was not familiar with The Music Man, but I love musical theater and I know Rockwall Summer Musicals productions do not disappoint.
It turns out The Music Man has been around since 1957 and is one of the most produced American musicals, winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Musical! The Music Man cast album even won the first Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album!
The Music Man is a musical by Meredith Wilson, based on a story by Wilson and Franklin Lacey. The Rockwall Summer Musicals cast was remarkable displaying exceptional acting skills and the orchestra was superb.
The sets, designed by Phyllis Johnson, were incredible and had so much detail and included the exterior and interior of Madison Library, a railroad coach, the Paroo house and the Paroo Porch,the Madisom Gymnasium, the center of town in River City, Iowa, and The Footbridge, which was my favorite. I really loved The Wells Fargo Wagon, and was surprised there was a song about it!
The Rockwall Summer Musicals production of The Music Man is masterfully directed by Barbara Doudt with costume design by Maureen Cruz and music direction by Melissa Williams.
If you are not familiar with The Music Man plot, here it goes: fast-talking con man Harold Hill (Eric Segovis), convinces the naive Midwestern townspeople of River City, Iowa, to enroll their youngsters in a boys’ band, and to purchase band instruments and uniforms from him, so they can be saved from the dangers of the new billiards parlor.
“Professor” Harold is not a professor, nor a musician, he’s a traveling salesman who plans to skip town without teaching any music lessons. Harold Hill, “The
Prim librarian and piano teacher Marian (Kally Duncan) sees right through him, but when Professor Hill helps her younger brother overcome his lisp and issues with social awkwardness, Marian falls for him, while Harold Hill, who is being questioned about his credentials, risks being caught for her.
There’s as much chaos in my family as in River City right now, so I’m happy I took the girls to see The Music Man.
We invited their friend Cloey, too, who is always delightful to be around. This critically acclaimed and highly entertaining musical offers drama, nostalgia, humor, romance, and many life lessons we can learn from.
Life Lesson #1 ~ Beware of Fear
As The Music Man sang “Ya got trouble!,” I was thinking about how often we fall into traps because of fear. We moms are wired to protect our children and he knew to go right for the mothers’ hearts.
If we are not intentional, we could let anyone and the media influence us to make decisions we will regret.
Mothers of River City, heed that warning before it’s too late! Watch for the telltale signs of corruption!
Like Professor Harold Hill, sometimes others create a problem to sell us a solution they conveniently have. Fear can be a great friend in perceiving dangers, but we gotta make sure the dangers are indeed real before making a decision.
Life Lesson #2 ~ Take Risks
Sure Professor H. Hill is into risky business, but he also demonstrates great courage in the way he proves his love to Marian Paroo.
A man can’t turn tail and run just because a little personal risk is involved. What did Shakespeare say? “Cowards die a thousand deaths, the brave man… only 500”?
Cowardice is defined in the dictionary as “lack of courage or firmness of purpose,” and “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain…”
I admire people who rise up to the challenges and trials of life, because true value is determined by sacrifice.
Life Lesson #3 ~ Beware of Control
I grew up in a very strict household and I did lots and lots and lots of things behind my mother’s back. I lied to her about everything because I wasn’t allowed to do anything.
This scene with Tommy Djilas(Hunter Lewis), Major Shinn (Jerry McCulley), and Zaneeta Shinn (Tori St. John Gilbert) reminded me of that:
Tommy Djilas: Mayor Shinn, Your Honor, your daughter and I have been going steady behind your back.
Mayor Shinn: What?
Tommy Djilas: We’d rather be doing it in front of your back.
Mayor Shinn: Doing what?
Tommy Djilas: Well…
Mayor Shinn: Never mind!
If we aim to control our children, they will be out of control.
We must allow our children to have freedom and to teach and guide them so they know how to use those freedoms in a useful, productive, and favorable ways.
Life Lesson #4 ~ You Can Do Anything
Yes, I know. Not anything. But let’s forget about technicalities and focus on your life goals, motherhood goals, or business goals… those desires you know are attainable because either it’s been done before or you know in your heart can be done.
Marian Paroo taught us about the power of putting your mind to something, the power of being determined and committed to making something happen:
The one thing one must remember, no matter who one is or what one is working for, one can do anything if one puts one’s mind to it.
Even though achievement happens through consistent effort, what you say to yourself will determine how consistent or how much effort you will devote to the tasks that will create those results.
There’s something to the THINK SYSTEM after all!
Life Lesson #5 ~ Make Today Worth Remembering
I’m such a romantic! – even when I have no romance in my life right now. I loved the interaction between Marian and The Music Man, as he pursues her and she puts up a bit of a fight, even when she’s falling for him.
You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.
His words really touched me because no matter what I’m going through, I strive to remember how blessed I am to be living another day, even after being so close to death so many times.
There are so many more lessons you can learn and teach the little ones after seeing this outstanding, charming, and sentimental tale and its quirky characters.
The vocals were incredible and though I was most stirred by the barbershop quartet, my favorite song was “My White Knight,” maybe because of the reality of my life right now.
“All I want is a plain man
All I want is a modest man
A quiet man, a gentle man
A straightforward and honest man
To sit with me in a cottage
Somewhere in the state of Iowa
And I would like him to be
More interested in me
Than he is in himself
And more interested in us
Than in me.”
Elisha’s favorite song from The Music Man is “Good Night My Someone,” and Elyssa’s is “Til There Was You,” so they are following in my romantic footsteps. Eliana’s favorite song was “Marian the Librarian” because she loved that Marian gave a rose to The Music Man, so she’s also quite the lover girl.
Make plans to see The Music Man this weekend, a reminder that music has the power to bring people together.
Elayna is a homeschool educator, single mom of 4, founder of the Positive MOM Community, award-winning Storyteller, Story Strategist, and Student of Pain. She’s a bestselling author, internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, and 3x TEDx speaker. To receive a gift from Elayna, click HERE.
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Production photos by Mary Batchellor