RIVER CITY, Iowa - I revisited River City, Iowa on Sunday in the company of Admiral Fox and the lovely and talented Miss Samantha Allen, who loved the musical as only an 8-year-old might.
It was at a small Sacramento venue called The Music Circus and with the play/musical performed in a theater-in-the-round, the music took center stage.
I had forgotten how many great songs - songs still showing up on playlists on FM radio - The Music Man has.
The easy one to remember is 'Seventy Six Trombones," but "Trouble In River City, Goodnight My Someone," and "Lida Rose," all are stuck in my head today.
I saw the film, The Music Man when it came out in 1962 and have viewed it a number of times since, always enjoying the late Robert Preston's characterization of Prof. Harold Hill, the erstwhile charlatan who comes to town to sell band instruments and uniforms, romance the librarian (played by Shirley Jones) and eventually try to scram with the help of his friend, played by Buddy Hackett.
I thought I would have trouble letting the stage actors take over the roles after the great performances in the movie. But I was wrong, by the intermission, I was as smitten with the actress playing Marian the Librarian as I ever was with Shirley Jones. And the actor playing Harold Hill became Harold Hill quite easily after a few songs and scenes.
Granddaughter Samanatha said she's ready for any musicals we want to take her to from now on.
Robert Preston with Ron Howard and Shirley Jones