Thursday, May 29, 2014


Discussion Questions
001. What benefit did Professor Hill bring to River City?
002. Why did Professor Hill have to get out of the business of selling steam automobiles?

003. Why did Professor Hill say he was going wherever the people were as green as the money?

004. What did the librarian mean when she said that Professor Hill had the whole town "mesmerized?"

Who was Dr. Mesmer?

005. What is perfect pitch?

006. What is a lisp?

Why did the little girl, Amaryllis, laugh at the little boy when he tried to say her name?

Was that the right thing to do?

007. What does this movie have in common with the fairy tale of "The Emperor's New Clothes?"

008. What was Professor Hill doing in the song "You Got Trouble"?

009. Research jazz and big band music of the late 1940's.

When you listen to the music in the play, where do you hear those influences?

110. If The Music Man was set in 2011, which cultural issues do you think Willson might reference?

Do you think that the issues referred to in the play are still present in today's

society or have they been replaced by other concerns?
111. Take a story that you know and move its setting 40 years ahead.
What do you think would need to change?
What would remain the same?
112. There are well-known film versions of this musical from 1962 and 2003.
If you have watched either film, or another live production, what differences do you notice?
What stays the same?
113. Why do the residents of the town seem so willing to buy Harold's "product"?
Has he touched a nerve in the communnity or has he manipulated them?
114. Research the differences between billards and pool.
Why would one game be considered respectable and the other a moral threat?
115. Describe your impressions of River City as a community.
What change, if any, is needed?
What appears to be the town's shared values?
What are their worries or fears?
Who has authority?
Who has influence?
Who belongs?
Who is excluded?
116. How many outsiders do you find in this story?
The boy with the lisp?
The hooligan from the wrong side of the tracks?
The unmarried woman?
What makes an outsider and why?
What happens to each of these characters?
117. What other stories do you know with examples of outsiders who change a community?
Are the outsiders strangers to that community?
118. What do you perceive as the role of women in River City in the 1910's?
In what way does Marian deviate from the norm?
How do you think a woman like Marian would be regarded today?
119. Why doesn’t Marian turn Harold in when she discovers his deception?
Why does she stand up for him at the end of the play?
Does Marian get what she wants for her community?
For her family?
For herself?
Does she have to choose one of these over another?
Does what she want change during the play?
220. Do you think Harold Hill is the right match for Marian?
Why or why not?
Why do you think performing becomes so important to River City?
Do you think this enthusiasm applies especially to music?
Do you agree with those who have called music a "universal language?"
221. Do you think the other performing arts (such as dance, drama,
opera) can inspire communities in the same way?
What about other artistic outlets, such as visual arts or creative writing?
Do these create the same excitement?
Why or why not?
222. Besides the arts, what other types of community events and
projects might bring a town together in a similar way? 
What, if anything, do these events have in common with Harold Hill's band?
How are they different?
223. There are frequent debates about how important arts classes and opportunities are for students'education.
Do you feel that arts classes are an important part of your education?
How important relative to your other subjects?
224. What are the opportunities for arts participation in your community?
How can you participate in or attend:
* Exhibitions or festivals of visual art?
* Performances of instrumental or vocal music?
* Readings or publications of literary arts?
* Performances of theatre, dance, or opera?
01. What did Professor Hill mean when he accused Marcellus of "going legitimate?"
02. What is a traveling salesman?
How is a traveling salesman different from a con man?
03. Why did the traveling salesmen hate Professor Hill?
04. What character would you want to be if you were in The Music Man?
05. Is Harold Hill a hero or a villain?
Why do you think so?
06. How did Harold, Marion and Winthrop change from the beginning of the play to the end?
07. Did any other characters change?
08. Do any of the characters remind you of anyone you know today?
Friends, family, politicians or celebrities?
From Slideshare
Music Man Questions

Image result for University of Iowa fight song willson sheet music
Image result for University of Iowa fight song willson sheet music
Shirley Jones On Filming
"The Music Man"