This week my guest is author Dominick McHugh, author of the recent book, The Big Parade – Meredith Wilson’s Musicals From The Music Man To 1491.
Dominick is Professor of Musicology at the University of Sheffield in the UK. His previous books include Loverly, The Life And times of My Fair Lady, Adapting The Wizard Of Oz – Musical Versions From Baum To MGM And Beyond, and he has also served as editor of The Letters Of Cole Porter, and The Complete Lyrics Of Alan Jay Lerner.
As it turns out, the timing of this episode couldn’t be more perfect since, after being derailed when both of its stars contracted COVID, the big, new Broadway revival of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster is supposed to return to Broadway tonight!
Many listeners will know by now that The Music Man is one of my all-time favorite musicals, and one that I consider to be one the greatest musicals of all-time as well. This is a show that I know backwards and forward, inside and out. Over my career I have danced in it, choreographed it, produced it, lectured about it, and seen it countless times.
So, it was a great pleasure to discover in The Big Parade, and during this interview, so many remarkable and surprising things I didn’t know about the show. Especially the extraordinary challenges that Meredith Wilson grappled with during its development – including, as recently reported in the New York Times, his efforts to include a disabled character in the show who was in intended to be a major focus of the story.
Dominick also shares the story of Liza Redfield, who became the first woman to serve as the Conductor/Musical Director of a Broadway show when she took over that role during the original run of The Music Man.
And that’s only half of the book! The second half cover Wilson’s three other major musicals, about which I knew even less, and we will discuss that in next weeks episode.
I found it fascinating, and I think you will as well.
This episode is made possible in part through the generous contributions of Backstage Pass Patron Level Members GARY FULLER & RANDY EVERETT. Thank you so much, Gary and Randy!
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