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“Merrily We Roll Along,” Backward in Time

Bryan Reesman • Tips & Tricks • April 29, 2019

Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Merrily We Roll Along was a bit of a flop for its original Broadway run, having played for only 16 official performances back in November 1981, but it has nevertheless fascinated a lot of theater-goers (and makers). For a recent production of Merrily We Roll Along at Roundabout’s off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre (which lasted three months) the production had a plot twist, presenting the characters in 1980 and going back in time to when they first met in 1957, instead of having the plot progress the normal chronological way. While still an off-Broadway production, the Roundabout’s Merrily We Roll Along also benefited from the close attention and input from a number of award-winning artists, including scenic designer Derek McLane and, interestingly enough, Stephen Sondheim himself, who had attended many previews, was there on opening night and, according to McLane, “was very moved by it.”

-Bryan Reesman, from “Inside Theater,” PLSN, April 2019, page 26

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