The Music Man KIDS
There's trouble in River City when a fast-talking salesman gets his heart stolen by the town librarian in this adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway classic.
Show Essentials
+ Ensemble

Full Synopsis

Professor Harold Hill, a fast-talking traveling salesman with a shady reputation ("Rock Island"), arrives in River City, Iowa, on the morning of July 4, 1912. Hill moves from town to town, selling musical instruments, uniforms and the promise of forming a boy's band. Hill is a crafty character whose standard procedure is to leave town with the money he collects before anyone is able to discover he cannot read music. The townspeople greet each other and sing with pride about their inflexible nature ("Iowa Stubborn"). As they disperse, Hill enters the scene and begins to focus attention on the need for a boy's band and the trouble that has entered River City in the shape of a pool table ("Ya Got Trouble").

An old friend has warned Harold about Marian, the willful town librarian and music teacher. After her first encounter with Harold, Marian speaks about his unwanted advances to her mother, Mrs. Paroo. Mrs. Paroo scolds Marian for not speaking to the man and criticizes Marian's high expectations ("Piano Lesson"). Marian reflects on her plight while listening to her young piano student, Amaryllis, practicing a piano lesson ("Goodnight, My Someone"). Later at the Fourth of July celebration, Harold steals the crowd's attention to move in and sell his band idea ("Seventy-Six Trombones"). Mayor Shinn pushes for proper credentials from Harold.

Harold follows Marian to the library, where she warns him that she will check his credentials. The ladies in town gossip about the charming newcomer ("Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little").

Marian appears with the reference book, but before she can hand it to the mayor, Gracie excitedly announces the arrival of the Wells Fargo Wagon with the new band instruments ("The Wells Fargo Wagon"). With the exception of the Mayor, the town is now under Harold's spell. Marian's research pays off, but she withholds the evidence when she discovers Harold is helping her brother, Winthrop, to cure his speech impediment. Marcellus, Harold's old friend and former partner, leads the crowd in a new dance ("Shipoopi"). Winthrop returns home from fishing and sings for his mother and sister the song that Harold has just taught him ("Gary, Indiana").

Future band members have been busily working on Harold's "Think System" of musicianship while Harold meets Marian at the footbridge. She confesses that she has known he was a fake since the third day he was in town. Now it's Harold who is off-balance. The uniforms arrive, but so does Charlie Cowell, Harold's arch enemy. Marian tries to prevent Charlie from getting to the Mayor, but is unsuccessful. She wants to warn Harold, but Charlie reaches him first. He still has time to run, but he can't — he's hooked on Marian.

The angry town gathers, hearing that Harold is a fake. Marian speaks out in his defense while the band arrives in uniform. Harold is handed a baton. "Think, men, think," is his command. At the drop of his arm comes the Minuet in G as it has never been "played" before. But each struggling note is music to the parents' ears. Harold has his band at last, and a truly loving librarian by his side.

← Back to The Music Man KIDS
Cast Size: Medium (11 to 20 performers)
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Harold Hill

Harold Hill is a huge role and the essence of The Music Man KIDS. Cast an actor who has charisma and charm and is not afraid to take a positive risk onstage. He should be a good singer and mover and also have excellent acting chops. It is ideal if he has an excellent sense of rhythm. Your harold should pair up well with Marian, and the two together should exude a spark of excitement.


Gender: male
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Marion Paroo

Marian Paroo begins as an uptight librarian and transforms into a beautiful, trusting young woman. Marian should be a strong singer and actor, and also be able to move well. She must have an air of cofidence that draws Harold to her. Take some time during auditions to try different pairs of Harolds and Marians together until you reach the perfect combination.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Charlie Cowell

Charlie Cowell is a Traveling Salesman, and is one of the premium acting-only roles in The Music Man KIDS. If you decide to have the actor playing Charlie also perform in the ensemble, take note to make sure he is not playing Charlie in those scenes. Cast a strong actor with a loud voice. Charlie should have a sense of confidence and love being onstage!

Gender: male
Mayor Shinn

Mayor Shinn should be able to perform his role as proud politician very seriously, yet have a sense of comic timing. This actor does not have to sung or dance, but is responsible for a great deal of pacing and line pick-ups in the show. Don't be afraid to cast a physically small acotr in this role, provided he can authoritative - it can bring down the house!

Gender: male
Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn

Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn is a great role for a comic actress! If Eulalie takes herself seriously your audience will find her hysterical. She does have some singing and some moving, but creating a "larger than life" character that works with your Mayor Shinn is essential. Consider contrasting your physically small Mayor Shinn with a tall Eulalie for even more comic brilliance.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: D4
Marcellus Washburn

Marcellus Washburn is the classic sidekick to Harold. His big number is "Shipoopi," so he should be a good singer, a great actor and be able to dance. Cast a kid who is natually funny and you will have a terrific Marcellus.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: D#5
Vocal range bottom: E4
Mrs. Paroo

Mrs. Paroo is a good mother, stands up for what she beieves and gently pushes Marian to think of her future. The role requires an actress who can sing and act. However, she deosnt need to have a polished voice - the more character the better! Take into consideration your actress's ability to look maternal with Winthrop and Marian.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3
Winthrop Paroo

Winthrop is Marian's shy younger brother who hardly talks because of his pronounced lisp. This is a great role for a young performer who is a good actor. Winthrop transforms from shy to outspoken, and not only sings but dances!

Gender: male
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: C4

Amaryllis is Marian's slightly bratty, young piano student who has a crush on Winthrop. This is a great place to feature a young actor who is not quite ready for a large part, or who doesn't have a strong singing voice. Cast a girl who is a good actor and similar in size to Winthrop and Gracie.

Gender: female
Tommy Djilas

Tommy is the teen heartthrob in the show and a non-singing role. Cast a boy that can dance and create a strong character. Tommy's love interest is Zaneeta, so make sure the two characters have chemistry between them.

Gender: male
Zaneeta Shinn

Zaneeta Shinn is the oldest and slightly daffy daughter of the Mayor and Eulalie. Cast a girl who is a strong dancer. Although this is a non-singing role, a well-ast Zaneeta will gain mileage out of her classic "Ye gads!" line.

Gender: female
Gracie Shinn

Gracie is Zaneeta's little sister and the youngest daughter of the Mayor and Eulalie. The actor has few lines of dialogue, and if she is a good singer, she would be a fine choice to sing the first solo in "The Wells Fargo Wagon."

Gender: female
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Ethel Toffelmier

Ethel is Marcellus's girlfriend. She's described by Marcellus as "a nice comfortable girl and the bosses' niece." Ethel has some acting, some singing, and some dancing. Ethel is also one of the solo Pick-a-Little ladies. Make sure she and Marcellus look good together, think Ethel and Fred from I Love Lucy!

Gender: female
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: D4
Pick-a-little Ladies

Alma Hix, Maud Dunlop and Mrs. Squires. The Pick-A-Little ladies are the gossip queens of River City. These characters need to act, sing and move well. Cast girls with strong voices and a good sense of cominc timing. The supplemental Pick-A-Little ladies are ideal parts for your abundance of girls.

Gender: female
The conductor has the first line in The Music Man KIDS. This is a non-singing role and perfect for an actor that can be loud and energetic but is not quite ready for a larger part.
Gender: any
Constable Locke

Constable Locke is River City's chief law enforcement officer. He is a quiet, wise man who sees through Harold, yet doesn't seem to take Harold's antics too seriously. No singing or dancing is required for this role.

Gender: any
The River City Townspeople are the heart and soul of The Music Man KIDS. The story is about a community of people so assigning your cast into family units is key. Ask each grouping to create a family history, including details of their lives. This will create an ensemble that is engaged and energized. Plan on separating your cast into three groups: aduts, teens and kids. You will immediately recognize that some actors clearly "read" as adults onstage. Try to separate your groups into categories to create a realistic town.
Gender: any
Traveling Salesmen
The Traveling Salesmen are non-singing roles suited for performers that have a strong rhythmic sense. "Rock Island" is te rap of its time! If you find you need to cast girls as Traveling Salesmen, make sure they play the roles as men. These actors can ouble as ault members of the River City Townspeople. You will need a minimum of five salesmen in addition to Charlie.
Gender: any
Wa Tan Ye Girls
The Wan Tan Ye Girls are featured during Eulalie's "Spectacle" in scen 4 prior to "76 Trombones." Cast students who aren't afraid of acting silly.
Gender: female
Boys' Band
All of your little boys can be in the Boys' Band if you have enough uniforms. If you need to fill out this Boys' Band ensemble with girls, be sure they appear as boys in uniform.
Gender: any
Full Song List
The Music Man KIDS: Rock Island
The Music Man KIDS: Iowa Stubborn
The Music Man KIDS: Ya Got Trouble (Part 1)
The Music Man KIDS: Ya Got Trouble (Part 2)
The Music Man KIDS: Piano Lesson/If You Don't Mind
The Music Man KIDS: Goodnight, My Someone
The Music Man KIDS: Columbia, Gem of the Ocean
The Music Man KIDS: Seventy-Six Trombones
The Music Man KIDS: Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little
The Music Man KIDS: The Wells Fargo Wagon
The Music Man KIDS: Shipoopi
The Music Man KIDS: Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little (Reprise)
The Music Man KIDS: Gary, Indiana


Curriculum Connection

  • Ethics
  • Library Science
  • Elements of Music
  • Early 20th Century Transportation
  • Traveling Salesmen
  • Early 20th Century Lifestyles
  • Debates


Based on a story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey.


You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.

Author Billing – The Music Man KIDS

In accordance with the Dramatic Performing Rights License, all advertising, such as posters and program covers, must include the show logo as provided in the ShowKit® Director's Guide and all of the following author billing.
It is a violation of your contract if you crop or edit this logo in any way.
The [Licensee]
Production of

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"88017","attributes":{"alt":"The Music Man KIDS","title":"The Music Man KIDS","height":"200","width":"200","class":"billing-image media-element file-media-large"}}]]

Book, Music & Lyrics by
Based on a story by

Video Warning

In accordance with the Performance License, you MUST include the following warning in all programs and in a pre-show announcement:


Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included

Production Resources