This week marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of "The Music Man" on Broadway, a musical based on composer Meredith Willson’s childhood memories of Mason City. Now the grandson of a man who worked closely with Willson has written his own musical about the famous Iowan.
Randy Hobler says his grandfather worked in radio long ago and gave Willson one of his first show-business jobs. Hobler says it began in the 1930s when his grandfather hired Willson to be the musical director on the Maxwell House radio show on the West Coast. Hobler says the musical he’s created is entitled "The Banjo Boys" and revolves around Willson’s childhood — but then vaults off into fantasy.
Hobler says the storyline features Willson, looking down from heaven, wishing he could change a few things about his musical — and in his life — so he travels time and makes the alterations to lead a much happier existence. Hobler says he’s spent the last six years working on the musical. He says they’ve had two readings for the show and they’re looking for a venue, producers and financial supporters.
"The Music Man" ran for almost 14-hundred performances on Broadway and won eight Tony awards. It still ranks as one of the most popular musicals, performed hundreds of times each year by professional, amateur and school productions. For production purposes: A celebration was held at Mason City’s Music Man Square on Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the premiere on Broadway.