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But He Doesn't Know The Territory
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But He Doesn't Know The Territory

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From the jacket:

"One million Happy Theatre-goers have seen Meredith Wilson's 'The Music Man' at the MAjestic Theatre in New York since it opened on December 19th, 1957. Hundreds of thousands more have enjoyed the National Company as it played Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Denver, Omaha, Des Moines, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Chicago.Meredith Wilson wrote the music t
Hardcover, 1st, 190 pages
Published 1959 by Putnam
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Brian Saul
Actually, I was looking for a biography of Meredith Willson, but none were available in the library at the time. This filled is as a great 2nd choice.

A fun, easy, quickly read account from the author's point of view in a down-home, Iowan folksy style on the making of his biggest moneymaker, THE MUSIC MAN from its conception to opening night on Broadway. I've been interested in Meredith Willson ever since I read the liner notes he wrote for the original cast recording back in 1963, which I bought
David Earle
I love stories about Broadway! I especially love autobiographical books written by Broadway’s greats! “But He Doesn’t Know the Territory” is one such novel that doesn’t disappoint, written by composer and playwright, Meredith Wilson, who chronicles his creation of one of America’s most beloved musicals, “The Music Man.” His lighthearted and whimsical writing details how the idea for such a play came to be (Wilson once described “The Music Man” as “an Iowan’s attempt to pay tribute to his home st ...more
I REALLY enjoyed this biography of Meredith Willson that chronicles the writing and performing of The Music Man. (The broadway show, The Music Man, not the movie, the book was released several years before the show was adapted to film.) The book provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the writing and rewriting of the musical--the lyrics to the songs, the music, the dialogue, etc. There were around 40 drafts of this musical before he got it just right! There is quite a bit of difference between h ...more
Joe Gaspard
An entertaining remembrance of everything that went into writing The Music Man. This musical usually gets my vote for shows that seem to perfectly integrate the music with the story. While the show seems like it came fully formed out of Willson's head, the real story shows the persistence that it took to get it to the final form. Written in a deliberately folksy, down home style which could have gotten old (but didn't). Recommended for any fans of musical theater.
I'm getting ready to work on a production of THE MUSIC MAN, so this book was a timely choice for me. Willson's "aw-shucks" style was his stock-in-trade, and he lays it on pretty thick in this glossy telling of the gestation of MUSIC MAN. He tells us that the script went through "40-odd" revisions and that there was a sub-plot about a spastic child that ended up turning into Winthrop, but most of the details of the revisions are pretty vague. He says he cut 22 songs, but mentions very very few of ...more
Considering that I’ve been waiting to read this out-of-print book since I was 11, you can imagine the thrill I experienced when I realized it been printed again. This insightful look into how “The Music Man” came to be is charming and sheds light on one of (in my opinion) the greatest musicals ever made. I got it thinking I’d read about the Broadway play during its run and the movie. Instead, I got a history on Meredith Willson’s background and how he developed the idea for the play that origina ...more
Feb 22, 2014 Peggy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: musical fans
I'd completely forgotten reading this book about one of my favorite musicals, The Music Man, until I saw this has been reissued as an ebook.
After rediscovering an earlier Willson book this past Christmas, I searched for and found this one. Willson, of "The Music Man" fame, wrote this delightful book to tell how the music,. book, and production of the perennial stage favorite came to life. Since it's about my favorite musical, it's obvious I liked the book. Willson's Iowa-stubborn style and memories of an earlier time in America join to warm your heart and his description of how to produce a major musical is funny and enlightening. I ...more
Eric Peterson
Anyone who has an interest in how a Broadway show gets made should take a look at this - also anyone who likes The Music Man, as most people do. Willson's voice is sometimes too self-consciously folksy, but it's mostly really funny and I really want to get his earlier book about playing piccolo with Sousa.
Meredith Willson tells the story of the process of writing the incredibly successful musical "The Music Man". Mr. Willson's tale was very interesting and lightly written; he's very personable and fills us non-theatrical people in on how the business works and his trials and tribulations getting the show written and produced. A very fun read. I love that show and now I'm a big fan of Mr. Willson's as well.
Jul 30, 2011 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "The Music Man"
I wish I had read this before seeing the most recent production of "The Music Man." After reading it, there are certainly elements of the production that I will pay more attention to in the future. Willson has a small-town, enjoyable writing style. Fans of "The Music Man" will probably enjoy this book.
Cute read about the writing and mounting of "The Music Man" by Meredith Willson. Always one of my favorite movies and musical scores, it was interesting to learn how the show came about. Written in 1959 this was before the movie so no indication of what that was like.
A sweet, humorous and candid look at the creation of a musical theatre classic. Meredith Willson was a genius. I just wish there were more stories of auditions, rehearsals etc. I guess Mere couldn't be everywhere at once. A delight to read.
entertaining autobiography from the creator of the MUSIC MAN -- this book focuses on the creation and production of that classic musical over years of writing and tinkering through its opening night.
Bonnie Thurber
I'm a major Music Man fan, so I really enjoyed this book. Others may not be so interested.
A charming book. I'd have recognized Willson's style anywhere.
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