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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter

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Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 03:48am
Maria Friedman, whose production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Merrily We Roll Along will transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre in Southwark to the Harold Pinter Theatre in April, when the acclaimed revival of Old Times (with Kristin Scott Thomas, Lia Williams and Rufus Sewell) ends its limited run.

Merrily will be at the Chocolate Factory till March 9. The cast, led by Mark Umbers, Jenna Russell, Damian Humbley and Josefina Gabrielle, will transfer to the Harold Pinter.



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jaqs
Broadway Star
joined:1/24/08
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 04:00am
Really pleased for them and look forward to seeing it again.
I hope it finds a reasonable audience.

This year feels to be shaping up so much better than last for musicals, with this coming in, Chorus line having terrific buzz, Mormon selling well, and Once and Charlie still to come.
AnythingGoes23
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joined:11/21/11
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 04:19am
It will struggle. But it's probably more of a stepping stone to get it to Broadway.

The thing with the Menier revivals coming in, sorely missed and bar La Cage, is it needs a name to get audience levels in to make the public more engaged and the theatre fans pay to see it again.

Thoroughly best of luck to the show though its superb.
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bob8rich
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joined:10/19/03
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 05:07am
This is fantastic news - can't wait to see it again. It's one of the most amazing things I've seen for years and is more worthy of a stage in a West End house than the majority of shows that are already playing in the West End.

Don't agree that last year was a poor year though - in fact I saw more fantastic musical theatre productions in 2012 than in just about any year of the 40 odd years I've been going to the theatre. Admittedly, they were mainly in Fringe venues - the West End only had a handful of shows that blew me away. But, to be honest, it's looking pretty much the same to me for 2013 - most of the upcoming shows that excite me are going to be in Fringe theatres. The only already announced musicals going into West End houses that particularly arouse my interest are Once and Merrily (plus A Chorus Line, which has already opened and I am very keen to see).
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Jonwo
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 01:32pm
I imagine Merrily will have a short run but that should be enough to enable a Broadway transfer.
Stewart A
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 01:44pm
I hope Merrily transfers well to a bigger theatre - I loved the intimacy of the show at the Menier when I saw it in December and almost felt like I was in the show. I remember seeing Company at the Donmar in 1995 and it was one of the best trips to the theatre I had ever had. However, when I saw the show again a few months later at the Albery I didn't enjoy it as much and it lost its magic in a bigger theatre. I'm glad Merilly has got a transfer though as it was a brilliant show.
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abitoftap
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 01:55pm
The Pinter isn't particularly big. The Merrily set is pretty wide, so will probably gain depth rather than width!
We saw the Newbury Sunset there and it was fine.
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ClapYo'Hands
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/8/13 at 09:02pm
Happy news indeed!
AddisonMizner
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/10/13 at 09:33am
I just wanted to say that I saw yesterday’s matinee (9th February) of “Merrily We Roll Along” at the Chocolate Factory and thought that it was just STUNNING!

I know the score to this show very well and absolutely love it, but I have never seen any of it performed in context before (this is my first time seeing a production of the show) and it broke my heart! Upon leaving the theatre, I was in a rather strange mood, something which is still pervading me today. As the action is played out backwards, the songs and almost all of the dialogue have an added poignancy, therefore packing a real emotional punch that left me with tears in my eyes much of the time. For example, “Not A Day Goes By” was/is a very touching moment when first heard sung by Beth to Frank outside the court, but then hearing it sung later in the show by the same characters at their wedding is just gut-wrenching! I couldn’t contain myself and was in tears. I also found myself getting teary during “Good Thing Going”. It sums up Frank and Charley’s relationship perfectly but they do not know yet what the audience know and it was just beautiful. It is also emotional because this is the first time we hear the song in its purest form, as it was originally intended before it is manipulated into a distasteful dance number for their show “Musical Husbands”, much like their relationship is changed for the worst. And don’t get me started on “Our Time” – wonderful!

I thought the three leads (Mark Umbers as Frank, Damian Humbley as Charley and Jenna Russell as Mary) were all stunning in their respective roles; perfectly encapsulating their characters at any specific moment in time, and the chemistry between them was electric. I have read much about Frank being an extremely unlikable character in the musical, but this does not come across at all in Mark Umbers’ brilliant performance, and I was with him from the very outset. He does an excellent job with Frank! Damian Humbly was equally as brilliant and his “Franklin Shephard Inc.” was a real highlight, while Jenna Russell was very moving, bringing Mary’s alcoholism to vivid life in the earlier scenes, but portraying a wonderful sense of innocence, naivety and hopeful optimism in the latter. The rest of the ensemble cast were wonderful as well, with a special mention to ZiZi Strallen and Clare Foster.

If I had one criticism, it would be the use of Frank’s child in the last reprise of the title song. I don’t understand why he has been used in this specific moment. It didn’t add anything for me and was just jarring.

However, this cannot spoil what was an otherwise FLAWLESS performance. I look forward to seeing “Merrily” again upon its transfer to the Harold Pinter. It is certainly one of the only shows worth going to London for at the moment.
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theatrepaul
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/16/13 at 03:37pm
Is the transfer definite? Still nothing confirmed on the Menier website??
rockyhorrorfan
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/17/13 at 12:30pm
When I mentioned the news about the transfer on Twitter I got a reply from Josefina Gabrielle saying she hoped to see me there so I'd say it's pretty definite.
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abitoftap
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 2/21/13 at 03:35am
If you didn't get to the Menier, just got this great offer:

https://www.menierchocolatefactory.com/online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=22080CB8-71BF-4545-8FE3-4275A618C73C

chocolate gets top price seats at £35, 2nd May to 1st June..book by March 15th.

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FrontRowDress
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joined:3/20/12
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 4/25/13 at 06:48am
Front row seats are only £10, seem to be released on-line around 10.30am on the day of the performance. Nabbed a pair for tonight so I'll report back on what they are like.
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theatrepaul
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joined:1/29/10
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 4/25/13 at 05:55pm
Wow that's a great deal. Saw it twice at Menier but am seriously tempted
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FrontRowDress
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 4/26/13 at 02:08am
Same here theatrepaul, I just couldn't resist. Rows A & B have been removed to make way for the orchestra, so row C is the front. There's loads of leg room and the stage is low. An absolute steal at £10, presumably they'll be £20 after previews, even that's a bargain.

Updated On: 4/26/13 at 02:08 AM
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FrontRowDress
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 4/26/13 at 03:11am
Well I've filed a full report on the blog at the link, which basically distills to the perfect show. Maybe it never was the disaster it was made out to be. Maybe Sondheim was so far ahead of his time that it has taken the rest of us thirty years to catch up. Maybe Maria Freidman has found her true milieu.

Exactly what we needed in the West End.
Merrily We Roll Along
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theatrepaul
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 4/26/13 at 05:32pm
Was it easy enough to get one of the cheap tickets?
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FrontRowDress
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 4/26/13 at 05:46pm
Yes, just check the web-site from 10.30am onwards, I noticed the outer edges were still available at 6.30pm this evening.
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theatrepaul
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Merrily Rolls Along To The Pinter
Posted: 4/29/13 at 12:32pm
Brilliant, so it's online rather than a need to go and queue

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