'Music Man' stars visit the real River City

Before the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres premiere of "The Music Man," director Michael Brindisi and his two stars visited Mason City, the Iowa town on which creator Meredith Willson based his legendary Broadway and cinematic hit. 

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VIDEO: Michael Gruber and Ann Michels, who star as Harold Hill and Marian Paroo in Chanhassen Dinner Theatre's "The Music Man" conducted the Mason City High School Band in their rendition of "76 Trombones" at Mason City High School.
Michael Gruber and Ann Michels, who star as Harold Hill and Marian Paroo in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' "The Music Man" conducted the Mason City High School Band.
Ann Michels, who stars as Marian Paroo in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' "The Music Man," greeted members of the Mason City High School Band.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres artistic director Michael Brindisi walked into Meredith Willson's boyhood home in Mason City for a guided tour.

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This Iowa town inspired a beloved musical. Twin Cities actors make a pilgrimage

The people of Mason City gave a warm welcome to the stars of "The Music Man," opening at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. "Maybe this can be a kind of love letter to them," says actor Ann Michels.

Michael Brindisi toured Meredith Willson's boyhood home.
Meredith Willson is in the front row, fourth from the right, in this 1919 photograph of the Mason City High School band, on display in his boyhood home.
"Music Man" star Ann Michels toured Meredith Willson's childhood home.
Janice Rod, a staff member at Music Man Square, wore a "Trouble Right Here in River City" sweatshirt as she took the Chanhassen crew through Willson's home.
Michael Gruber and Ann Michels, who star as Harold Hill and Marian Paroo in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' "The Music Man," sang "Till There Was You" on the Meredith Willson Footbridge in Mason City, Iowa.
VIDEO: Michael Gruber and Ann Michels, who star as Harold Hill and Marian Paroo in Chanhassen Dinner Theatre's "The Music Man" sing "Till There Was You" on the Meredith Willson Footbridge in Mason City, Iowa.
A sculptural homage to "The Music Man" seen near the Meredith Willson Footbridge in Mason City.
The "main street" in Music Man Square -- based on the film version of the “The Music Man” -- still had Christmas decorations up when Michael Gruber toured it.
Ann Michels and Michael Gruber posed as their characters in a cutout of “The Music Man” movie poster at the Meredith Willson Museum in Mason City.
Michael Gruber posed for a cellphone photo in the vintage billiards parlor that's part of Mason City's Music Man Square.
Ann Michels, Michael Gruber and Michael Brindisi watched a documentary about "The Music Man" movie at the Meredith Willson Museum.
The piano on which Meredith Willson wrote "The Music Man," on display at the Meredith Willson Museum.
When the first-ever Grammys were handed out in 1959, "Music Man" composer Meredith Willson won for best original cast album. His award is on display at the Meredith Willson Museum.
Michael Gruber took an ice cream break while touring Music Man Square.
Brindisi spoke with Matilda Lee, right, 17, a band member at Mason City High School, and her mother, Abigail, during a lunch with cast members at the State Street Deli in Mason City.
Brindisi wore a "Music Man" hat that he purchased at a gift shop in Mason City.