“Break a leg” is common slang among performing artists that means, counterintuitively, “good luck.” But that theatrical expression is one that noted Twin Cities stage and screen actor, singer and playwright T. Mychael Rambo does not want to hear again anytime soon.

On Thursday, Rambo broke his foot and busted a tendon during technical rehearsals for “The Music Man,” the Guthrie Theater’s big summer musical.  Rambo plays Oliver Hix, a baritone in the barbershop quartet in Meredith Willson’s classic about a smooth-talking salesman who foists his scheme on small-town Iowa.

Rambo was not tapping or high-stepping in rehearsal when he sustained his injury.

“I wish I could say I was doing something sexy and spectacular,” he said Tuesday evening. “I was just working my way across the stage, one foot in front of the other, and took a misstep. My foot twisted and my tendon popped. Everybody knew it.”

He was taken to the emergency room, treated and fitted with a boot. Rambo has a four-week recovery period. His understudy, Joel Liestman, will spell him in “Music Man.”

The role of Oliver Hix, a cantankerous member of the library board who becomes more harmonious the more he sings, is one that he was pleased to get.

“I do a lot of solo stuff, but the quartet gives me an opportunity to exercise muscles I normally don’t get to exercise,” he said.  

While Rambo will miss the first half of the run of the show, he expects to be up on his feet again for the rest of the production, which closes Aug. 23.

In the meantime, he’s doing everything he can to keep his spirits up.

“You have to be in good spirits so that your body can do what it has to do to heal,” he said. “My friends, the theater — everyone has been so supportive. I’m thankful for all the phone calls and messages and letters. I can’t want to have my coach put me be back in the game.”

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