published Friday, June 22nd, 2012

'Music Man' brings trouble to Crossville


What: "The Music Man."

When: Through Sept. 1.

Where: Cumberland County Playhouse, 221 Tennessee Ave., Crossville, Tenn.

Admission: $27 adults, $14 children and students.

Phone: 931-484-5000.


Jim Crabtree, producing director at the Cumberland County Playhouse, said the latest production, "The Music Man," reminds him of his father.

"In 1963, when my father brought our family to Crossville, there was no thought in his mind of creating a theater here," Crabtree said. "But there were people who knew he had a background in the theater and asked if he'd share his talent with the schools."

The play, written by Meredith Willson, opened on Broadway in 1957.

When Professor Harold Hill arrives in River City, Iowa, announcing his intention to start a band, the people of River City are not exactly thrilled by the fast-talking outsider.

They have good reason. Hill is really a con man, collecting money for bands in small towns and then taking off with the cash. It's after meeting the town librarian, Marian, that he begins to think about changing his ways.

When he watches the movie or hears music from "The Music Man," Crabtree said he looks back on the beginnings of the Playhouse.

Of course, there is one distinctive difference between his father and Harold Hill.

"My father was not a swindler," Crabtree said. "He really was a theater professional, but he had the same impact on the people."

It's a show, he said, about what happens when a stranger upsets the delicate balance of a community.

"For a theater based in small-town America, there's probably no other project, except maybe Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Oklahoma,' that is more about our world."

The production has a cast of 76, echoing the famous song "76 Trombones."

Among the other numbers are "Goodnight, My Someone," "The Wells Fargo Wagon," "Marian the Librarian," and "Till There Was You."

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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