In today’s television business full of ludicrous ideas, where viewers will soon be able to watch “When Animals Attack 5” and “Are You Hot?” within the same hour, one truth brings hope: From time to time, people still enjoy a good old-fashioned musical. Banking on the success of “South Pacific” last year, ABC has brought another musical to the small screen. “The Music Man” combines fine acting, dancing and comedy into a pleasant change from the “can you top this?” format that is network television.

Todd Weiser
Courtesy Of ABC

One way to attract attention is to get the star from another wildly successful Broadway show. Matthew Broderick (“The Producers”) is Harold Hill, the charming, smooth-talking scam artist who invades River City, Iowa to form a band with all the kids of the town. Singing the catchy tune “We’ve Got Trouble,” he offers this alternative so the children of River City won’t get caught up in the gambling of the newly opened billiards room.

Though the citizens of the town take a liking to the energetic fellow, there are a few looming problems. First, the mayor of the town, Shinn (Victor Garber), owns the pool table and is against the idea of starting a children’s band. Second, Hill isn’t a music teacher and isn’t interested in forming a band at all, but rather taking their money and hightailing it out of town. Hill also takes a liking to Marian (Kristin Chenoweth), the town librarian – yes, that does rhyme – whose conservative nature and vibrant face make her a strong character.

Marian’s mother, Mrs. Paroo (Debra Monk), and the mayor’s old-fashioned wife (Molly Shannon, surprisingly proving there is still life after “Saturday Night Live”) quickly acquire a fondness for Hill. In the middle of practicing for the Flag Day festivities, Harold explains his dreams for the children’s band with the well-known song “Seventy-Six Trombones.” The town jumps at the idea, but Mayor Shinn demands to see Hill’s teaching credentials, sending a group of four easily-distracted men (the famous Barbershop Quartet) to scout him out. Marian the librarian helps Hill, and all scenarios lead to a conclusion that all will enjoy and appreciate.

While the songs and storyline are clever and creative, “The Music Man” thrives because of the cast. Broderick always turns in a good showing, and the barbershop quartet is just ridiculous enough to be funny. However, the mayor’s butchering of the English language and its expressions almost make one forget he’s the “bad guy.” Also, hearing Winthrop, the little freckled-faced brother of Marian, sing with his squeaky voice will have you shaking your head, either in laughter or disgust. Marion herself becomes lovelier as the show goes on, and compliments the swindler Harold Hill very well.

“The Music Man” is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening, and it reminds you the oldies can still provide quality entertainment. When it comes to delivering a solid night of fun and enjoyment, ABC won’t be singing “We’ve Got Trouble.” By Douglas Wernert

Daily Arts Writer

One way to attract attention is to get the star from another wildly successful Broadway show. Matthew Broderick (“The Producers”) is Harold Hill, the charming, smooth-talking scam artist who invades River City, Iowa to form a band with all the kids of the town. Singing the catchy tune “We’ve Got Trouble,” he offers this alternative so the children of River City won’t get caught up in the gambling of the newly opened billiards room.

Though the citizens of the town take a liking to the energetic fellow, there are a few looming problems. First, the mayor of the town, Shinn (Victor Garber), owns the pool table and is against the idea of starting a children’s band. Second, Hill isn’t a music teacher and isn’t interested in forming a band at all, but rather taking their money and hightailing it out of town. Hill also takes a liking to Marian (Kristin Chenoweth), the town librarian – yes, that does rhyme – whose conservative nature and vibrant face make her a strong character.

Marian’s mother, Mrs. Paroo (Debra Monk), and the mayor’s old-fashioned wife (Molly Shannon, surprisingly proving there is still life after “Saturday Night Live”) quickly acquire a fondness for Hill. In the middle of practicing for the Flag Day festivities, Harold explains his dreams for the children’s band with the well-known song “Seventy-Six Trombones.” The town jumps at the idea, but Mayor Shinn demands to see Hill’s teaching credentials, sending a group of four easily-distracted men (the famous Barbershop Quartet) to scout him out. Marian the librarian helps Hill, and all scenarios lead to a conclusion that all will enjoy and appreciate.

While the songs and storyline are clever and creative, “The Music Man” thrives because of the cast. Broderick always turns in a good showing, and the barbershop quartet is just ridiculous enough to be funny. However, the mayor’s butchering of the English language and its expressions almost make one forget he’s the “bad guy.” Also, hearing Winthrop, the little freckled-faced brother of Marian, sing with his squeaky voice will have you shaking your head, either in laughter or disgust. Marion herself becomes lovelier as the show goes on, and compliments the swindler Harold Hill very well.

“The Music Man” is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening, and it reminds you the oldies can still provide quality entertainment. When it comes to delivering a solid night of fun and enjoyment, ABC won’t be singing “We’ve Got Trouble.”

4 Stars

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