Trouble in River City
Meredith Wilson’s classic American musical “The Music Man” has been beloved by generations. It tells the story of Prof. Harold Hill, a con man, who presents himself as a traveling salesman selling “boys’ bands.” He makes a stop in River City, Iowa, and while he’s there selling his band, he tries to keep the local music teacher and librarian, Marion, off her feet and distracted from his con. Of course, though that tactic has worked for him in the past, this time, he falls in love with her, and though the con is revealed, the town still ends up loving their band and there’s a big old fashioned happy ending.
Most recently, “The Music Man” was supposed to be revived on Broadway staring Hugh Jackman as Prof. Hill and Sutton Foster as Marion. Sadly due to COVID-19, that revival has been put on hold. Hopefully it will still open when Broadway is able to reopen its theatres.
My Visits to River City
I’ve had the pleasure of being in The Music Man twice. The first time, I played young piano student, Amaryllis in the Doane Stuart High School production what seems like forever ago. The second time, I was Marion the Librarian with Not So Common Players. The songs from this show are so catchy, and as a soprano, Marion is a dream role to sing. I got to work with great casts both times I did this show. And, while yes, the story is a little cheesy and predictable, it’s fun and a great show for the whole family. If you want to see a show and just feel good, this is a great choice.
The Music Man takes place in July, and throughout the show, especially Act 2, the characters talk about going to the “ice cream sociable” (no that’s not a typo, it’s a sociable, not social). But in thinking back on it, I realized no one ever actual is seen onstage eating any ice cream. So I guess this is my little way of fixing that mistake. And since I love strawberry ice cream, I figured that would be a perfectly refreshing summery flavor to use. I also made a no-churn recipe because, like most people, I don’t own an ice cream maker, but still want to be able to make ice cream at home. This recipe is super easy and one the kiddos can help with. I hope you enjoy it!
1. Mix sliced strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat until boiling. Let boil for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard what is left in the strainer. Let the remaining syrup cool to room temperature (refrigeration or freezing can be helpful if you want to move the cooling process along quicker). You can use a candy thermometer to see when the syrup has cooled to room temp.
2. Beat whipping cream starting on low, slowly increasing speed to high as the cream thickens.
3. Once thickened (you should see the tracks of the beaters in the cream), add in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Mix on medium high until fully combined.
4. Mix in cooled strawberry syrup until completely combined.
5. Pour mixture into a bread tin (no need to use any cooking sprays). Cover with cling wrap, and be sure to make sure the wrap is touching the top of the ice cream (this will help prevent freezer burn). Freeze for 4 – 5 hours before serving.
Yields 1/2 gallon of ice cream. Approximately 321 calories a serving.
You can take this recipe and vary it to suit your tastes. I personally prefer a smooth, soft-serve like strawberry ice cream. But if you want to add chucks of fresh or frozen strawberries, you can add them by folding them into the mixture right before you put it in the bread tin.
The strawberry syrup will turn the ice cream a very pale pink color. If you’d like it to be more bright in color, you can always add a few drops of pink food coloring, or one drop of red.
If you have other variations you’ve tried, I’d love to read them in the comments.