Music Man Square

by Kathleen Huebener in Works in Progress

There is music in the air. Ahh, 76 Trombones are calling, lead by the Music Man!

You probably have seen that delightful Warner Brothers motion picture of The Music Man, one of America’s favorite musicals. Meredith Willson was one of America’s favorite storytellers and songwriters.

Meredith Willson’s hometown of Mason City, Iowa with rich musical heritage was the actual inspiration for The Music Man. The Music Man Square in Mason City, a multi-million dollar interactive museum, is a tribute to the genius of Meredith Willson, a born ‘n’ raised Iowan. The museum features a replica of the 1912 River City Streetscape in River City, the fictional city in the musical. The streetscape includes an ice cream parlor, gift shop, and all the set designs recreated from the movie itself.

 “There’s trouble! Right here in River City! Capital ‘T’
that rhymes with ‘P’ that stands for Pool!’

In addition, the museum highlights Meredith Willson memorabilia and music-related exhibits. Included in the museum admission price is a tour of Meredith Willson’s birthplace and boyhood home, an 1895 Queen Anne house.

I plan to visit the Music Man Square soon. Besides being musically interested, I am also interested in the backdrops and scenery, having worked “the scene” both in college and in the Marion Arts Council’s productions. I am like a kid in a candy store, wanting to see it all.

Next week, I will review the museum with photos what I uncover and discover at this museum. Through this museum, it just might be possible to see the world through Meredith Willson’s eyes… and experience the music of the Music Man all over again.