Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Last night Mr. Twister and I were treated to watching a widescreen Blu-Ray of "The Music Man," the greatest musical ever about outright lying and love. Its subversion in same remains far more insidious than that of Brecht-Weill's entire canon because of the star-spangled Americana of "The Music Man's" gift wrapping. Pensives: Robert Preston almost wasn't hired because the studios deemed him too old, unhealthy and uninsurable: after this obvious triumph, he worked continually for another twenty years. Meredith Willson took eight full years writing and refining this musical and it shows: every song's a winner, most of them became classics. The Beatles even recorded "'Till There Was You" on their first American LP (second U.K. LP,) reputedly the demo song that convinced George Martin to take them on. "The Music Man's"'s opening song "Rock Island" was popular music's first rap, date of birth 1958 (those who can, rap along with it. Very doable!) Replaced by Shirley Jones in the film, Preston's first leading lady/Broadway role originator Barbara Cook persevered through bad times and maintains her singing career to this day, recently honored at the Kennedy Center. She even undertook one of my own obsessions, reflection upon long careers in the arts (one's own or that of others) with this incredibly brave duet with her younger self, the two parts recorded fifty years apart:

LINK for Barbara Cook in the original "The Music Man"

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