CHICAGO – Chicago Goodman Theatre concludes its 2018/2019 Season on a high note with Mary Zimmerman’s major revival of The Music Man—Meredith Willson’s joyous musical masterpiece, hailed as “one of the sunniest musicals ever” that “glows with enjoyment” with “tunes [that] are full of gusto” (The New York Times), based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. Today, the Goodman announced the 38-member (27 actors, 11 musicians) company of actors and musicians, led by Geoff Packard who returns to the Goodman following his critically-acclaimed performances in Zimmerman’s productions of The Jungle Book (2013) and Candide (2010) as the charismatic con man Harold Hill, who stumbles upon River City, Iowa with the grand promise of a marching band, but a lack of musicality; and Monica West as Marian Paroo, the local librarian who knows of Harold’s deceit, and teaches him a thing or two about moral responsibility. A full cast list appears below. The Music Man appears June 29 – August 4 in the Albert Theatre. Tickets ($25 – $117; subject to change) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/MusicMan, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Northern Trust is the Lead Corporate Sponsor and Winston & Strawn, LLP is the Major Corporate Sponsor for The Music Man.
“I’m thrilled to direct The Music Man this summer. This musical is part of the American canon and provides a story of transformation that’s just a charm. I’m extremely Midwestern and as is this play, so I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with the company as well as with Chicago audiences,” said Director Mary Zimmerman. “We’ve assembled a huge array of talented people. Some of us are old friends, such as Geoff Packard, who I worked with in Candide, The Jungle Book and Metamorphoses—and a great many others are new and exciting to me.”
Joining Packard and West are Sophie Ackerman (Amaryllis Squires), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Marcellus Washburn), Lillian Castillo (Ethel Toffelmier), Matt Crowle (Charlie Cowell), Danielle Davis (Mrs. Squires), Mary Ernster (Mrs. Paroo), Kelly Felthous (Zaneeta Shinn), Carter Graf (Winthrop Paroo), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Alma Hix), Jeremy Peter Johnson (Oliver Hix), Christopher Kale Jones (Jacey Squires), Heidi Kettenring (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn), James Konicek (Olin Britt), Milla Liss (Gracie Shinn), Ron E. Rains (Mayor Shinn), Tommy Rivera-Vega (Tommy Djilas), Jonathan Schwart (Ewart Dunlop), Bri Sudia (Maud Dunlop) and George Wolff (Constable Locke). Ensemble members include Cooper Carlisle, Matt Casey, Alejandro Fonseca, Anya Haverfield, Sammy Menapace, Zach Porter, Laura Savage, Adrienne Storrs and Ayana Strutz.
Under music director Jermaine Hill, the 11-member orchestra brings to life some memorable favorites including “Goodnight My Someone,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Gary, Indiana,” and “Till There Was You.” Denis Jones, a Tony Award-nominated choreographer, makes his Goodman debut. The creative team also includes Dan Ostling (sets), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes), T.J. Gerckens (lights) and Ray Nardelli (sound).
The Music Man originated on Broadway in 1957 and garnered five Tony Awards including Best Musical. It was later adapted for the screen in 1962 starring Robert Preston as Harold Hill and Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Mary Zimmerman (Director) celebrates 25 years of collaboration with the Goodman with The Music Man marking her 16th production. She is the recipient of a 1998 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play and numerous Jeff Awards (including Best Production and Best Direction). She is an Artistic Associate of Goodman Theatre, a member of Lookingglass Theatre Company and a professor of performance studies at Northwestern University. Zimmerman has adapted and directed Metamorphoses,
Meredith Willson (Book, Music and Lyrics, 1902 – 1984) was born in Mason City, Iowa. He learned to play the flute as a child and began playing semi-professionally while still in high school. After high school he left Iowa to study at the Damrosch Institute of Musical Art (later the Julliard School), receiving flute instruction from Georges Barrere, the world-renown flutist. While still attending the Institute, he was hired as principle flutist and piccolo player for the John Philip Sousa Band. He later joined the New York Philharmonic Orchestra where he was first flutist. He became musical director for various radio programs throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including Tallulah Bankhead’s program, The Big Show, for which he wrote the hit song “May The Lord Bless and Keep You.” He composed the scores for the movies The Great Dictator and The Little Foxes, as well as symphonic, band and choral works, including “The Jervis Bay: Symphonic Variations on an American Theme” and “Anthem of the Atomic Age”. Willson wrote three Broadway musicals: The Music Man, his first and most successful; The Unsinkable Molly Brown (music and lyrics), and Here’s Love (book, music and lyrics). As an author, he published two autobiographical works (And There I Stood with My Piccolo and Eggs I Have Laid), one novel (Who Did What to Fedalia) and a memoir about the making of The Music Man (But He Doesn’t Know the Territory).
Franklin Lacey (Book, 1917 – 1988). During the 1940s and early 1950s, Lacey worked in various production positions on Broadway, including as a stage manager for Ziegfeld. He produced and hosted the talk show Meet Unusual People for Paramount’s KTLA-TV. In the late 1950s, Lacey shifted his focus to Las Vegas, producing a night club show for the Flamingo Hilton. He also wrote several pageants and penned the long-running London play, Paguan in the Parlor.
ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE
AMERICA’S “BEST REGIONAL THEATRE” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle;” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which recently marked its 41st production, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.
Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.