Lakeland Community College Director Martin Friedman & Music Director Jordan Cooper preview the upcoming Lakeland production of Stephen Sondheim's 'Merrily We Roll Along" with Cast Members perfuming musical selections, and added perspective on the unique history of this historic Musical Theater Presentation.
In February, Martin Friedman will direct Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along at Lakeland Civic Theatre.
But in January, Merrily comes to the Nighttown stage when Friedman talks about why this music that so many thought was destined for success flopped on Broadway after only 11 performances – and why over the last 30 years it’s become one of Sondheim’s most beloved musicals. The Nighttown show includes music director Jordan Cooper and Lakeland cast members performing several songs from Merrily.
If you’re a real Sondheim fan, you won’t want to miss "Deconstructing Merrily We Roll Along."
Based on the play by George Kauffman and Moss Hart, this musical (with book by George Furth) tells of the disintegration of the friendship of successful songwriter Franklin Shepard, his lyricist Charlie Kringas, and novelist Mary Flynn. The action moves backward through time, from 1980 to 1957.
The score is constructed in blocks, so we hear characters' themes at the beginning of the show, seeing throughout the rest of the show how that character developed that theme. For example, in the first scene Frank sings, "It's my time coming through / all my dreams coming true / Gorgeous house, gorgeous wife," indicative of his materialism and superficiality. By the end of that show, we hear the same melodies, and characters for that matter, evolve into more positive and optimistic human beings, as embodied in such songs as "Our Time," "Good Thing Going," and "Not A Day Goes By" as they grow younger and inexplicably mature.
Despite the fact many consider Merrily to include Sondheim’s most toe-tapping, Broadway-like scores, the show was an abject failure when it opened on Broadway in 1981. That said, years’ later Merrily We Roll Along became a cult favorite and now enjoys regular productions across the country.