Mickey Rooney tells all in his book "Life is Too Short," and a lot you don't care to know. For a man who turned to God rather late in life, the much-married (eight wives, nine children) Rooney says some ignoble things about people like Norma Shearer, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe. Not that we haven't heard most of this, but Rooney makes it seem even seamier.
He does tell one interesting story. He says he was asked not to act as a presenter at an Academy Awards show because he had been married "too many times." At the time, he had been married only three times. By those standards, the producers would have had trouble finding any presenters in Hollywood.
Rooney made a lot and he spent a lot. He also gambled a lot and was taken, as so many stars are, by business managers. "Life is too Short" is a fascinating and quick read, but there are things we never really needed to know, some of which sounds like hearsay presented as fact.
Meredith Willson did the score for "The Music Man," one that is slightly offbeat, and any company that attempts it has to manage that rhythm. The Toby's Dinner Theater production doesn't, not until the second act, but that may be enough for the Toby patrons.
Bill Howe is Howard Hill, the traveling salesman who cons the residents of River City into believing he can teach all the kids to play musical instruments. Like the production itself, Howe doesn't manage to subdue the role until that second act.
Robert Preston is most closely associated with the musical, one that has become a dinner theater mainstay. Howe seems to be doing a bit of Preston, and that's not at all bad.
April Harr is Marian, the librarian who falls for the con man. Nice voice. Terri Mazzarella is Mrs. Paroo, Marian's mother. Another plus.
Actually, the production has far more pluses than minuses, and by the time the show is ended, we are once more captivated by Professor Howard Hill, who is really a dream salesman, something we all need.
A reader writes to say that the new Patrick Swayze film is "Point Break," not "Point Blank" and that Swayze doesn't play the FBI agent who infiltrates a surfer gang. Keanu Reeves plays that role. "Point Break" is scheduled to open here July 12.