Five Reasons The Empress’ The Music Man is all about Utah

This summer on Magna’s historic main street, young boys are thinking their way through the Minuet in G, their mothers are dancing in Greek togas, and their fathers are contemplating the morality of billiards versus pool; all while lush barbershop harmonies fill the air. This of course means that The Music Man has arrived at The Empress, transforming Magna’s historic main street into the idyllic River City, Iowa. The show opens this weekend, and you won’t want to miss it! (Tickets are on sale now at

As The Empress gets ready for opening night, we want to share with you some fun facts that connect our great state of Utah with our next great show, The Music Man.

Marian the Librarian was from Provo

Meredith Willson got his inspiration for the character Marian the Librarian from a medical records librarian from Provo, Utah. While serving in the armed forces during WWII Meredith Willson made friends with a man from Provo whose wife, named Marian, worked in a medical records library. Meredith nicknamed her Marian the Librarian. He used her name, occupation, and bookish mannerisms in creating the heroine of The Music Man. (Are any of us surprised that Broadway's biggest prude was inspired by a woman from Provo?)

Utah has more pianos per capita than any other state

Utah also has more piano students per capita than any other state. And, if Utah has more pianos and more piano students I think we can assume that Utah has more piano teachers per capita than any other state. And probably more old maid librarian piano teachers, too.

More traveling salesmen are recruited at Utah colleges than any other place

Pest control, home security, and various other businesses love to recruit return missionaries from Utah colleges for their traveling door-to-door sales teams. These young men and women have been peddling their religion for two years straight, so it’s not too hard to convince them that they can sell their way out of the serious trouble they’re in with their student debt load.

Salt Lake City is hosting the International Barbershop Quartet Convention this summer

As much as Utahn’s love their pianos, they love singing even more. And this June, Salt Lake City will host the International Barbershop Quartet Convention presented by the Barbershop Harmony Society (formerly known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America [SPEBSQSA]). I wonder how many participating quartets started out as feuding members of their local school board?

Salt Lake City was one of the Wells Fargo Wagon’s main hubs

When Wells Fargo took over both the Pony Express and Overland Stage lines, the Wells Fargo Wagon became a regular sight in the streets of Salt Lake City. So, River City residents eagerly awaiting their salmon from Seattle or raisins from Fresno likely had to wait for these items to pass through the streets of Salt Lake City before arriving in their hometown.

Now that we’ve shared some fun facts about Utah and The Music Man, come see our production of The Music Man at the Empress on Magna’s historic main street. We open this weekend. Buy your tickets today! The Music Man runs June 14-July 6. Tickets available at

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