Doyle in Merrily Discussions, While London May See Night Music and Gypsy

News   Doyle in Merrily Discussions, While London May See Night Music and Gypsy
 
Director John Doyle, who has made a name for himself directing innovative Broadway productions of the Stephen Sondheim musicals Sweeney Todd and the current Company, is in talks to mount a new version of Sondheim's lesser-known Merrily We Roll Along.
Director John Doyle
Director John Doyle Photo by Aubrey Reuben

"We're looking at, for 2008-09, the possibility of Merrily We Roll Along," John Breglio, Sondheim's lawyer and representative, told Playbill.com. He said that it hadn't been decided if the production would originate in London or New York, but that it would probably start in London. "John [Doyle] likes to start his shows over there."

It was also unclear whether Doyle would approach Merrily with his usual directorial modus operandi, in which the cast also acts as the orchestra. Actors in both Sweeney Todd and Company have doubled as instrumentalists. Doyle has, on occasion, abandoned this staging method.

Merrily, based on a Kaufman and Hart play, concerns a trio of friends who drift apart as they pursue their different ideas of success. The plot travels backwards in time from 1980 to 1955. It debuted in 1981 on Broadway and closed after only a handful of performances. It has not been seen on Broadway since, though regional, London and Off-Broadway productions have been frequent.

Breglio also said that a new production of Sondheim's A Little Night Music was on the horizon. "It's not totally set yet, but I think we're going to do A Little Night Music in London. I was just back from London a couple weeks ago." Which London theatre the revival will call home has not been established. Breglio declined to reveal the show's director.

Sondheim revivals have arrived with steady frequency in recent years. In addition to Sweeney Todd and Company, Broadway has seen new productions of Pacific Overtures and Assassins. A new London production of Sunday in the Park With George is due to begin previews on Broadway Jan. 18, 2008, at Studio 54 with an official opening scheduled for Feb. 14. In addition Patti LuPone is scheduled to play Rose in a City Center presentation of Gypsy directed by Arthur Laurents. It will begin performances July 9 for a limited run through July 29. The official opening night will be July 12. Breglio said there was a "possibility of a West End production after that."

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