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What was the most ridiculous production number in this show? (Spoilers?)
Posted by: aleck 01:20 pm EDT 05/26/22
In reply to: re: It’s “The Hugh Jackman Show with songs from The Music Man” - libbymaebrown 04:54 pm EDT 05/25/22

There are so many to choose from.

Certainly at the top of list has to be Marian the Librarian. Instead of a smarmy Harold Hill slithering around in an insincere attempt to win over Marian, we get cheerful Hugh Jackman jumping around just short of doing back flips. The patrons of the library, who in a normal production would provide amusing vignettes of adolescent life in a small town, instead leap -- and I do mean leap -- to even greater heights than Jackman.

Then, there was Trouble, which our star provided no sense of danger than could frighten the townspeople into buying his line. Instead, like every other moment, Jackman gives a upbeat interpretation of trouble. Where was the trouble? It was all happy, happy, happy with lots of dancing. Then, following that was 76 Trombones which just seemed like a continuation of Trouble although it was supposed to provide a contrast of a hopeful future to the despondency of Trouble. Not there. But much further energetic dancing.

Is it my imagination or were there large sections of the book cut and large additions of dance music made? It seemed at times that there was missing information to allow the plot to hang together and move forward.

To me, however, the worst number was Wells Fargo Wagon. Unless I missed it, there was never any dialog that set up the anticipation of the Wells Fargo wagon. Weren't we to be alerted to look out for the wagon before the ensemble announced it was coming? Plus, the staging of that number with the ensemble marching down toward the audience in a line across the stage to sing the song directly to the audience is weird. It's supposed to be that the townspeople are speaking to each other after someone arrives on stage to announce that the wagon is coming. But throughout this production, so much was presented directly to the audience -- with follow spots blazing in case you didn't know where to look -- that there was little interaction at all among the characters in the play. Too much bother to try to find the human core within this musical? But the topper in Wells Fargo Wagon was when the wagon appeared on stage, pulled by a very realistic-looking horse, to reveal Jackman on top of the wagon passing out packages and launching yet again into one of his dances. How incongruous is this? Is he suddenly working for Wells Fargo? Or was he supposed to be a bandito holding up the wagon and throwing the goods around indiscriminately around to anyone holding out their hands? Why wasn't he arrested?

So much of this was incomprehensible in terms of continuity and character. But, hey, how about a tap dance to perk things up?

I fear that it will be very difficult to pull this classic of American musical theatre back to a level of integrity it deserves after this empty travesty. I feel sorry for the people who have never seen a real production of the Music Man who leave wondering what all the fuss has been for 60 years.
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