Broadway is getting ready to lift the curtain up to reveal one of the most anticipated shows of the season, The Music Man, featuring award-winning Hugh Jackman! The news about the Broadway revival was first announced in 2019 but due to the pandemic, the rehearsals and production went on pause.
Now, the cast and crew are making preparations to showcase the production to audiences for the first time. Red Curtain Addict CEO Kari Lincks Coomans sat down with Tony Award-Winner Shuler Hensley to find out more about his role as Marcellus, get an inside scoop about the rehearsal process and what it has been like to rejoin Hugh Jackman on stage after twenty-two years.
Click below to watch Red Curtain Addict’s exclusive ‘Behind the Curtain of the Music Man’!
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/DrbpUEHsfhw
Shuler Hensley has been in many Broadway productions, television shows, and films, such as:
Les Miserables, Tarzan, The Monster in Young Frankenstein, Dexter: New Blood, Law & Order, Prodigal Son, The Legend of Zorro, and Someone Like You. He has also performed many times with Hugh Jackman in Oklahoma!, Van Helsing, and The Greatest Showman.
Now, he will be stepping on the stage as Marcellus in the Broadway Revival of The Music Man! Marcellus is Professor Harold Hill’s (AKA: Hugh Jackman’s) best friend and confidant in this classic storyline who helps Harold in learning about the town, set up the con campaign for the “boys band” and tries to help him get out of town before the citizens of River City, Iowa figure out that they’ve been tricked.
“Something as simple as getting on the stage for the first time and allowing ourselves to take the mask off and see faces and singing and the joy of live theater… it’s very emotional,” says Shuler. And a show like The Music Man, where everyone knows this show… this production is so special in that there is not a weak link among anybody! The kids are amazing, Hugh and Sutton of course, and all of the supporting roles are just extraordinary. It’s been a blessing to come back to Broadway with this caliber of people but we’re all in the same boat. We’re all like ‘I can’t believe we’re finally back’…!
The last time that Shuler joined the stage with Hugh Jackman was in 1999 in the production of Oklahoma!. Shuler played Jud (that won him a Tony Award for Best Performance in 2002) alongside Hugh who played Curly. “Hugh is just one of the sweetest, most giving people I know,” says Shuler. “You work with him and you are around him and you can’t do anything but feel better about yourself and feel better about things in general. And that’s rare. Anyone that knows him would say the same thing.”
There are over forty-six cast members and seventy-four crew members that have and will be coming together each night to make this show a full-fledged production. From the set, to the costumes, “they have spared no expense on creating a massively beautiful show!” says Shuler. The cast and crew have been hard at work to learn the choreography, music and staging for the production and everyone is beyond excited to see the previews that will open on December 20, 2021.”
Photo Credit: Avery Brunkus
Most of the script and music will be the same as the original but “they were given permission to flip some of the lyrics so things don’t come across as outdated in terms of where we are now as a community of being respectful to genders, to occupations, to race. Our stage is a true rainbow coalition of represented people. It is an old musical – 1912, Iowa. But it’s a story too so you don’t have to be so literal, and it works!” says Shuler.
“I think what’s most important is that you get a chance to see talent on the stage that represents everyone in the audience. So when you’re in the audience and you look on the stage you go, ‘that person looks like me and man are they good!’. I think that’s where we need to head to and it’s a great example of the possibility and should be the norm going forward.” We couldn’t agree more!
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