STEPHEN SONDHEIM
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Quick Review: 'Merrily We Roll Along'

May 19
3:36 PM 2004
Stephen Sondheim's venerated 1981 flop gets a respectable airing by the little theater company that could, Gallery Players in Park Slope, Brooklyn. All the leads are Equity members, most of the ensemble are not; they all sing beautifully.

In this backward-told tale of friendship, showbiz aspirations and selling out, Michael Hunsaker, Nicholas Sattinger and Anne Gaynor are physically well-matched to their roles and nail the personalities of, respectively, conflicted golden boy Frank, nerdy Charley and embittered eternal bridesmaid Mary.

Choreography is the most amateurish element, relying too much on parading in formation and hackneyed dance steps. The frequently reconfigured stairs and paned partitions provide sufficient scenery, and colorful costumes suitably reflect '60s and '70s styles of both the hip and unhip.

Undaunted by Sondheim's demands, the young cast puts on a show that can endear those experiencing Merrily for the first time; the cult legions may observe an occasional pacing or blocking gaffe but should be pleased with the musicality.

GRADE: B

Through May 23 at 199 14th Street in Brooklyn; 718-595-0547, www.galleryplayers.com for tickets & information.

 

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