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Great American Songbook Foundation

Screening of Meredith Willson: America's Music Man

The Tarkington // Apr 11

Screening of Meredith Willson: America's Music Man

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Due to high demand for this event, we have added a second screening at 8:30 p.m. in addition to the previously published 7:00 p.m. event. This 8:30 p.m. screening will also include a Q&A discussion with the filmmaker and visiting scholar. 


Register online for up to 4 general admission tickets per household.


For groups of 10 or more, please email or call 317.843.3800 to reserve a block of assigned seats.


Please note: Individual tickets for the 7:00 p.m. screening are now sold out, however, there may be limited availability remaining for groups. Please email or call the Box Office to reserve. The 8:30 p.m. screening remains open for both individual and group reservations. 


About the film:

He performed under Sousa and Toscanini. He scored films for the likes of Charlie Chaplin and wrote popular songs performed by Sinatra and the Beatles. And when the River City boys' band marched on Broadway, Meredith Willson caught the whole world’s ear. Dive deeper into the life and legacy of the renowned Midwesterner, composer, arranger, bandleader, and playwright behind The Music Man in the Iowa PBS documentary, Meredith Willson: America’s Music Man


Narrated by award-winning Broadway actor Sutton Foster and featuring interviews by Great American Songbook Foundation Founder Michael Feinstein, the documentary premiered in Iowa in February 2023 and will be screened in Indiana for the first time at the Tarkington at The Center for the Performing Arts. Attendance is free for community members.



About the event:

Featuring photos, documents and other materials from the Meredith Willson Papers housed in the Great American Songbook Foundation's Library & Archives, this 55-minute film was made possible by extensive research at the Songbook Foundation's headquarters in Carmel, Indiana.


In addition to the film, screening attendees can also expect to view materials on display from the Meredith Willson Papers ranging from early drafts of The Music Man to correspondence and scrapbooks featuring notable figures like President Ronald Reagan, Doris Day, Walt Disney, and more.


Supplementary discussions with the filmmaker and special guests will be offered for both screenings:


  • Prior to the 7:00 p.m. screening: Attendees are invited to participate in a prescreening discussion moderated by Dr. Cary Peñate (Ball State University) with filmmaker Tyler Brinegar (Iowa PBS) and Professor Dominic Broomfield-McHugh (University of Sheffield, UK), which will provide further insight into Meredith's career and feature performances of iconic and rarely heard Willson songs by Songbook Academy alumni, Olivia Broadwater and Hayden Elefante.
  • After the 8:30 p.m. screening: Attendees are invited to participate in a post screening Q&A with filmmaker Tyler Brinegar and Professor Dominic Broomfield-McHugh, who also served as Associate Producer of the film.


Special thank you to Heartland Film and WFYI Public Media for partnering with the Foundation on this event, which is part of the WFYI Live event series


Entry and timeline for 7:00 p.m. screening:

5:45 p.m.: Lobby doors open | Artifacts and exhibits on display

6:00 p.m.: Prescreening discussion and performances in theater

6:45 p.m.: Theater doors reopen for continued seating

7:00 p.m.: Screening (approximately 55 minutes)


Entry and timeline for 8:30 p.m. screening:

8:15 p.m.: Lobby doors open for seating

*Please note early entrance will not be permitted due to the 7:00 p.m. event

8:30 p.m.: Screening (approximately 55 minutes)

9:30 p.m.: Post screening Q&A | Artifacts and exhibits on display


Parking and Accessibility

View the current parking map on our Parking pageAccessible parking spaces are available along the South Loop drive between the Palladium and the Tarkington and in the self-park garages. The Tarkington lobby is accessible from street level and also via elevator from the attached garage. Access further venue accessibility information.


Wheelchair accessible seating is located in the front and back of the house. Aisle seats with moveable armrests to accommodate transfers are also available throughout the Tarkington. Guests with walkers will be able to “check” their walker in a designated parking area. 


Assisted Listening and Captioning

Assisted-listening devices are available free of charge on a first-come first-served basis and may be requested upon arrival by speaking with an usher or any Front of House staff. The film will be screened with captions for this event and a full transcript is available upon request by emailing by April 4, 2023.


Group Reservations

To help us better serve your group, please include the following details in your request when you email or call 317.843.3800 to make your reservation.

  • Number of Tickets: Due to the expected popularity of this program, groups are limited to 20 tickets.
  • Bus Parking: Bus parking is available in front of the building and on 3rd Avenue.
  • Accessible Seating: Please note need for wheelchair accessible seating for group members.