Time for a Parade: Hugh Jackman to Return to Broadway in The Music Man
Break out the marching band uniforms, the brass instruments, the banners and batons! The Music Man is headed back to Broadway and it is time for a parade. Producer Scott Rudin has announced that Tony-winning actor Hugh Jackman (The Boy From Oz) will make his triumphant return to the Broadway musical stage as Professor Harold Hill in a revival of the classic for the fall of 2020. Jerry Zaks (Hello, Dolly!) will direct the piece with Warren Carlyle (After Midnight) choreographing. Performances will begin on September 9, 2020 toward an October 22 opening at a Shubert Theatre to be announced.
Jackman shared his enthusiasm for the opportunity: “The first musical I was ever a part of was the phenomenal The Music Man. The year was 1983, and I was at Knox Grammar School in Sydney, Australia. I was one of the traveling salesmen, and I think I can actually (almost) remember that unforgettable opening number! That was probably the moment when the magic of theater was born in me.” He added, “The idea of bringing The Music Man back to Broadway has been lurking in the back of my brain for a long time, maybe even for 35 years, and when Scott Rudin called me with that very idea, I was floored. To finally be doing this is a huge thrill.”
Hugh Jackman is, of course, well-known to movie audiences for playing Wolverine in the X-Menfranchise, as well as his movie musical turn as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman. He won a Tony Award for playing singer-songwriter-entertainer Peter Allen in the 2003 musical The Boy From Oz. Jackman has also appeared on Broadway in A Steady Rain (2009),Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway (2011) and The River (2014). Jackman also starred in the 1999 Royal National Theatre production of Oklahoma!, playing the cowboy Curly.
Producer Scott Rudin weighed in on the forthcoming revival"There is just no way to accurately describe the level of excitement I feel about the opportunity to present Hugh in what I think is the best role ever written for an actor in all of Broadway musical theater. Although I have spent a lot of time and energy wishing there was a way to stop the passage of time, this is the one moment when I wish it would just move faster. I can't wait for us to begin working on this together in earnest."
The balance of the creative team for The Music Man will include four-time Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), and David Chase (Dance Arrangements). Patrick Vaccariello and Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick join the team as The Music Man’s Musical Director and Orchestrator, respectively.
The Music Man, which originally opened on Broadway in 1957 with Robert Preston in the title role, features a score by Meredith Willson who wrote the music and lyrics, and shared the book-writing duties with Franklin Lacey. The original cast also included Barbara Cook as Marion “The Librarian” Paroo. The musical concerns a humbug of a traveling salesman who promises small towns that he will create boys marching bands, collects the money for instruments, uniforms, and instruction books, then skips town before making good. That is, until he comes to River City, Iowa where he finds himself entangled with the town folk, falling for the town librarian, and becoming a hero to her little brother. Full of delicious pastiches of barber shop quartet, Sousa-style marches, ragtime, operetta, and some of Broadway’s finest patter songs, The Music Manwas a hit that ran 1,375 performances, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1958.
Additional casting for the Hugh Jackman led The Music Man, including the role of “Marion”, will be announced shortly.