By Bob Nelson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Brace yourself, theatre lovers!  The Walnut Street Theatre has raised the curtain on what may be its most ambitious production in recent memory: Meredith Willson’s family musical, “The Music Man.”

“The Music Man” is one of Broadway’s most durable shows — a five-time Tony Award winner, two film adaptations (Robert Preston’s in 1962 and a made-for-TV version in 2003), and one of the most memorable revivals in show business history, blessed with singable songs and sprightly choreography.

In the current production, Jeffrey Coon plays Professor Harold Hill, the con man who insists he can teach the town’s children to play their musical instruments.

The impressive Jennifer Hope Wills is Marian, the attractive librarian who falls for the professor.

It’s a large, impressive cast that in a production that, although it may not embrace the film’s visual balance, is nevertheless worth every moment of both acts.

“The Music Man” runs through January 6th at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street, in center city Philadelphia.


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