March 31, 1934 Shirley Jones The Music Man
At the start of casting for The Music Man, she was promised the same leading man she had originally been promised for Carousel…Frank Sinatra… alas, it was not to be. Second Choice Cary Grant, also turned down the role, and handed it back to Jack Warner, very verbally calling to allow Robert Preston into the lead instead. Robert Preston, at 44 years old, was transforming himself into a musical comedy genius, after his Tony win in the original Music, and eventually contracts were signed to allow Preston to play Shirley’s leading man. Defining the role of Marian the Librarian, Shirley masters the role, as I imagine perhaps none other than Julie Andrews could. Morphing from the piano teacher behind very closed doors, to the girl we know and love giving in to her impulses on that bridge just before her con man is run out of town, she does us proud in the name of womanhood. Happy Birthday Shirley!!!