In February 2020, Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, a two-time Tony Award winner, began work on a splashy Broadway revival of The Music Man. Produced by Scott Rudin, then Broadway’s most powerful and prolific impresario, and directed by Jerry Zaks, the production was shaping up to be the event of the fall theater season. When tickets went on sale, the advance soared to $30 million.
Rehearsals that February were intimate: just Jackman, Foster, Warren Carlyle, the show’s choreographer, and a few people from the music department. Rudin popped in from time to time, as did Zaks. Jackman and Foster had never worked together. The goal was to develop the chemistry between Jackman’s “Professor” Harold Hill, the charismatic flimflam salesman of musical instruments, and Foster’s Marian Paroo, the guarded but discerning town librarian—“Marian, the Librarian,” as the show’s creator, Meredith Willson, had called her.
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