The Broadway revival of The Music Man opens tonight at the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway, featuring Tony winners Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster! Read the reviews as they come in!
The production, directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, also stars Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley as Marcellus Washburn, Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays as Mayor Shinn, Tony Award winner Jayne Houdyshell as Mrs. Shinn and Tony Award winner Marie Mullen as Mrs. Paroo, Remy Auberjonois as Charlie Cowell, Gino Cosculluela as Tommy Djilas and Emma Crow as Zaneeta Shinn.
Joining the cast are Benjamin Pajak as Winthrop, Kayla Teruel as Amaryllis, Garrett Long as Ethel Toffelmier, Linda Mugleston as Alma Hix, Jessica Sheridan as Maud Dunlop, Rema Webb as Mrs. Squires, Phillip Boykin as Olin Britt, Eddie Korbich as Jacey Squires, Daniel Torres as Ewart Dunlop, Nicholas Ward as Oliver Hix, Max Clayton as Standby for Harold Hill and Nick Alvino, Jordan Beall, Ronnie S. Bowman Jr., Maria Briggs, Audrey Cardwell, JT Church, Kammie Crum, Aydin Eyikan, Carlee Flanagan , Ethen Green-Younger, Emily Hoder, Curtis Holland, Eloise Kropp, Ethan Lafazan, Kayla LaVine, Andrew Minard, Sean Montgomery, Tanner Quirk, Lance Roberts, Daniel Patrick Russell, Ann Sanders, Sherisse Springer, Mitchell Tobin, Kathy Voytko, Branch Woodman and Ryan Worsing round out the ensemble.
One of the most universally cherished treasures of American musical theatre, The Music Man was an instant hit when it premiered on Broadway on December 19, 1957. It went on to win five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for 1,375 performances. The original cast album held No. 1 on the Billboard charts and stayed on the charts for 245 weeks. The recording won the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album. The Smithsonian Institution lists The Music Man as one of the “great glories of American popular culture”.
Music Man’s creative team includes five-time Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), Brian MacDevitt (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Luc Verschueren for Campbell Young and Associates ( hair, wigs and makeup), Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick (orchestrations), David Chase (vocal and dance arrangements) and Patrick Vaccariello (music director).
Jesse Green, The New York Times: The musical, which opened Thursday night at the Winter Garden Theater, only intermittently delivers the joys we’ve come to expect from a classic revival starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster – especially a so obviously modeled on the success of another classic revival, “Hello, Dolly!”, a few seasons ago. The love frenzy unleashed in this show by Bette Midler, backed by much the same creative team – including director Jerry Zaks, choreographer Warren Carlyle and set designer and costume designer Santo Loquasto – is gone here, despite all the fancy trimmings and 42 people on stage. Instead, we get an extremely polished, usually perky and overly cautious take on a musical that, being on the bullshit game of love and music, needs more danger in the narrative.
Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrically: Everything on stage is pure Broadway gold, suited for the gods and performed in the back of the house. If only an enterprising peddler with ambitions greater than his reach had waltzed backstage, to whip the creative team on autopilot into a frenzy, perhaps this revival would have gotten River City all that trouble.
Thom Geier, The Wrap: The Production from director Jerry Zaks is a throwback in just about every way, for better and for worse. There are elaborate sets (by Santo Loquasto, who also did the costumes) with backdrops that suggest the work of Grant Wood – at one point two members of the choir even recreated “American Gothic”. There’s a two-dozen-piece orchestra and a cast of 40 that sometimes seems as crowded backstage as one of those high school productions that accepts anyone who auditions. Disconcertingly, there are also six directors – all Tony winners – who reinforce the stark lack of diversity in 21st century Broadway revivals as much as in 1912 Iowa.
Charles Isherwood, Broadway News: The highly anticipated, if not ecstatically, revival of “The Music Man” — pandemic-delayed and pandemic-ridden — was the obvious candidate, if not the only one, to bring a jolt of excitement well necessary for business. Too bad, then, that this undeniably polished production, with its galvanizing ticket-selling star Hugh Jackman, turns out to be a sadly mechanical, overproduced and overengineered revival of a musical that needs tender care to let it flourish. its undeniable charms.
Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: Warren Carlyle’s energetic song-and-dance choreography mixes vaudeville panache, ballet and pre-Depression dance craze, hitting all the right places from every angle. Still, anyone who’s seen MJ’s thrilling movies or the boundary-pushing explorations of Flying Over Sunset might not be impressed. Like so much else with this Music Man, from Loquasto’s handsome turn-of-the-century wheat-colored suits to Brian MacDevitt’s autumn lightings, the dancing is expert – even effortless – but still underwhelming. The Music Man meets all expectations except the most crucial: surprise.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: Jackman is just one stunning part of Meredith Wilson’s subtly reworked musical that opened Thursday night at the Winter Garden Theater. It’s brimming with talent, clever ideas, and a hardworking multicultural cast. Sutton Foster somehow channels his inner Carole Burnett to play Hill’s reluctant love interest, showing a gift for physical humor and comedic timing in addition to shrewd tap dancing and a gorgeous voice. If there was ever a stage match for Jackman, it’s Foster.
Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Post: “The Music Man,” I’m sorry to say, doesn’t meet our inflated expectations. Quite unexpectedly, you marvel not at Jackman, one of Broadway’s top sellers, but at the woman in music – Sutton Foster, who plays Marian “The Librarian” Paroo. She is a marvel and the main reason to buy a ticket. Much has been made of the fact that Foster lacks the rising soprano range of Barbara Cook and Shirley Jones, but that doesn’t matter. Hers is as thoughtful, funny, menacing, witty, motherly and romantic as you’ve ever seen her. She never settles for a schoolteacher stereotype and renews the 65-year-old lines.
Dan Rubins, Slant: The Music Man has long had the misfortune of being both overexposed and underrated, a mainstay of school and amateur productions that does not consistently leave audiences with the sophistication and emotional honesty of the score and from narration by Meredith Willson. (Hearing this score performed by a 24-piece orchestra at the Winter Garden Theater under the baton of Patrick Vaccariello is particularly gratifying here.) But there’s nothing simplistic about The Music Man, and this somewhat goofy, deeply felt production and deeply funny, sells the show’s intelligent warmth with a persuasiveness to rival Harold Hill himself.