I'm taking a friend to see it in April. She goes to a fair amount of musical theater but has almost no knowledge of Merrily--is the backwards storyline something I should tell her about beforehand, or something to let her figure out for herself?Looking forward to seeing what reactions this production gets, especially with the Fiasco company.
antonijan said: "The backwards story telling is interesting....hopefully it goes on tour. Any other backwards storytelling type musical you can think of?"“The Last Five Years” comes to mind.
So I was there tonight, but like I said earlier, Im a terrible person to give a review. I have no real experience with the material or previous productions.I did think this was pretty good. Strong voices all around. It did start to drag a bit towards the end. Saw several people around me checking their watches or ask what time it was. Everyone Jessie Austrian as Mary and Emily Young as Gussie were the two stand outs for me. And Manu Narayan singing Franklin Shepard, Inc. was by far the biggest crowd pleaser of the night. Took a picture of the stage if anyone was curioushttps://imgur.com/a/Y0ckhlK
Thanks for the pic! Is there a small band or just a piano? Based on the podium in the pic, it looks like they're going back to the "Hills of Tomorrow" graduation theme, but I was under the impression that Sondheim doesn't usually allow that.
Well, the podium makes me think they're starting it with "Hills of Tomorrow"/graduation scene! (edit: ha, ljay beat me to it!)
Glad I'm not the only one really curious about that!
Pic of the band setup/list on Instagram:Piano, 2 Reeds, 2 Trumpets, Guitar, Bass, DrumsAlso "Merrily will be performed without an intermission"! https://www.instagram.com/p/BsjeLyvD8gx/
Yes there was a full band. The podium is just at the beginning with Frank speaking at a graduation. He speaks about being 43 but still feeling like hes 18. Like I said I am unfamiliar with past productions so hopefully that helps. Its a short scene and then it transitions to the party after Franks movie premiere.also yes no intermission. That may be why it seemed to drag towards the end. I thought there was an intermission so I was expecting it to come and the show just kept going. I finally figured it out
Thanks for info! I am relieved that there is an actual band, unlike their production of Woods.I am not sure what to think of no intermission, Merrily isn't a quick show.In regards to the graduation speech, do you recall if there was a graduation song (The Hills of Tomorrow)? Or was it just the speech throughout the opening/title song.Also, was there an overture?
ljay889 said: "Thanks for info! I am relieved that there is an actual band, unlike their production of Woods.I am not sure what to think of no intermission, Merrily isn't a quick show.In regards to the graduation speech, do you recall if there was a graduation song (The Hills of Tomorrow)? Or was it just the speech throughout the opening/title song.Also, was there an overture?"I don’t recall their being any song associated with the graduation speech, and glancing at the playbill confirms that. No overture either. Here’s a picture of the scenes/musical numbers from the playbillhttps://imgur.com/a/1zP6gCX
Thank you! Wow, "Rich and Happy" instead of "That Frank." I am surprised Sondheim allowed that. I am definitely gaining more interest in this production now.
Thanks for posting this info. We have tickets in April and I'm excited! What's the current running time?
The show begins with the cast wandering casually on stage--house lights are still up--selecting costume items from the attic-of-memory stage-set, chatting with the audience, etc. Very Fiasco. The charming Jessie Austrian (Mary) welcomed us and told us to unwrap our candies and then the show began, with Ben Steinfeld taking his place behind the podium and everybody else finding a place to sit among the nooks and crannies of the on-stage bric-a-brac.Franklin is giving a speech and the crest on the podium suggests a commencement speech but there is no specific allusion to the context and no-one sings 'The Hills of Tomorrow'.As always with 'Merrily'--or any Sondheim show--the familiar tunes sung by talented performers give me a thrill of delight and the show begins well, with 'Rich and Happy' presented in a typically boisterous, playful staging. Snatches of dialog introduce us to the principal characters and the estrangement of our two leading men. It's a small cast and the sense of a crowded Hollywood party might be lost on a first-timer, but the energy is high--as are the characters: the bursts of musical energy are preceded by everybody snorting lines of coke. And then we're off to the races, with the tale of friendship, betrayal, ambition and loss told in reverse chronological order. The performances are strong and the 7-piece 'band' does a good job. If 'Merrily We Roll Along' is your favorite number in this show, be sure to listen hard in the first act, because that's it's one and only appearance--the reprises are all cut. In general, the transitions have been tightened almost to the vanishing point, save for 1973/1968 (IIRC) which is a more extended ballet and includes a really nice bit of business in which Mary sobers up, slims down and really does get younger right in front of our eyes.There is no intermission and yet the show *does* still drag a bit--any time the music stops. The scene in in Beth's parents' apartment (1961) seemed long-ish. It's meant to show us their youthful poverty and how idealistic and un-motivated by money the young Franklin was, but it could be shorter. As Schubox mentioned, 'Franklin Shephard Inc.' was the hit of the evening, with waves of sustained applause. 'Now you know' was also terrific. I was disappointed in the first appearance of 'Not a day goes by'. Brittany Bradford (Beth) has a lovely voice, but the pacing seemed off to me, and the song didn't seem set up properly--it was somehow swallowed by the action around it. I've never had an issue with the show's chronology. It's not difficult to follow and it gives Sondheim rich opportunities for the emotional ambivalence at which he is such a Master. Only Sondheim could write a straight-up love song like 'Not a Day Goes By' and then craft a show in which the lyrics are rendered so heartbreaking-ly sad. And 'Our Time'? How does a song rife with optimism and the thrill of young dreams leave everybody (well, everybody within earshot of me last night) either sniffling or sobbing? Over-all, a solid B+/A-. I will go again.
amaklo said: "Thanks for posting this info. We have tickets in April and I'm excited! What's the current running time?"Their site says 1 hour 45 mins, but I think it may have run a little longer. They started 5-10 mins late as well.
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