Take Note

The Music Man brings a town, and audience, to life.

Brian Norber leads a merry band in The Music 
Man.
Brian Norber leads a merry band in The Music Man.

I don't know what inspired Duran to drop a huge American flag onto the stage at the very end -- perhaps his memory of 9/11, or maybe it was part of the Broadway revival's choreography -- but the gesture leaves me cold. Yes, The Music Manis an ode to small-town America during a time of illusory innocence, but I don't think it's about the synthetic patriotism we've been seeing so much lately. Robin is beaming and applauding -- "Such fun," she murmurs -- and as I watch her, the theme of the show seems clear: It's an assertion of the power of music and dance, of the kind of imagination that can bring an ossified town to life.

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