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“But He Doesn’t Know the Territory”

2009
Author:

Meredith Willson

“But He Doesn’t Know the Territory”

Chronicles the making of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Never once forgetting his roots, Willson reflects on the ups and downs, surprises and disappointments, and finally successes of the making of one of America’s most popular musicals. His whimsical, personable writing style will bring readers back in time with him to the 1950s to experience firsthand the exciting trials and tribulations of creating a Broadway masterpiece.

Dollars to doughnuts, Meredith Willson dotes on brass bands. In The Music Man, he has translated the thump and razzle-dazzle of brass-band lore into a warm and genial cartoon of American life.

Brooks Atkinson, New York Times, 1957

Composer Meredith Willson once described The Music Man as “an Iowan’s attempt to pay tribute to his home state.” Never once forgetting his roots, Willson reflects on the ups and downs, surprises and disappointments, and finally successes of the making of one of America’s most popular musicals. His whimsical, personable writing style will bring readers back in time with him to the 1950s to experience firsthand the exciting trials and tribulations of creating a Broadway masterpiece. A newfound admiration for The Music Man—and the man behind the music—is sure to follow.

“But He Doesn’t Know the Territory”

Meredith Willson (1902–1984) was a renowned composer, songwriter, and musician. He is best known for composing The Music Man and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

“But He Doesn’t Know the Territory”

Dollars to doughnuts, Meredith Willson dotes on brass bands. In The Music Man, he has translated the thump and razzle-dazzle of brass-band lore into a warm and genial cartoon of American life.

Brooks Atkinson, New York Times, 1957

And There I Stood With My Piccolo (1948) and But He Doesn’t Know the Territory (1959) ... are superb reads. Don’t read them out of order. Don’t read something else between the two. They’re a play in two acts, farce and tragedy akimbo, full of showmanship.

Clyde Fitch Report