We couldn't confirm at press time that the North Carolina Symphony will actually have 76 trombones—or 110 cornets, for that matter, which are also referenced in the famous Meredith Willson song—when it presents a "semi-staged" production of The Music Man this weekend. However, we do know that Maestro William Henry Curry will be conducting the orchestra, and Temple Theatre artistic director Peggy Taphorn will lead more than a dozen actors through scenes and numbers from the venerable 1957 Broadway musical, in a stripped-down production minus set and costume changes.
This will be the symphony's second such take on famous stage classics in recent years. Last season's Amadeus, co-produced by PlayMakers Repertory Company, was a commercial and critical success. The original stage and screen versions of The Music Man, in which musical con man Harold Hill finds a chance to make good in River City, Iowa, guaranteed that actor Robert Preston would forever be associated with a glad hand, a straw boater hat and a drum major's uniform. Still, its accolades came only after years in development and more than 40 rewrites of the script.
This crew won't need such Herculean efforts to wow regional audiences in these Pops Series performances, which are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. —Byron Woods