Hey, Old Friend: Gartshore, Liberman and Olivera Are Trio in Signature's Merrily

News   Hey, Old Friend: Gartshore, Liberman and Olivera Are Trio in Signature's Merrily Signature Theatre's new production of Merrily We Roll Along, starting Sept. 4 in Arlington, VA, will feature Will Gartshore as composer Franklin Shepard, Erik Liberman as lyricist Charlie Kringas and Tracy Lynn Olivera as writer Mary Flynn.
Erik Liberman
Erik Liberman

Artistic director Eric Schaeffer, who will direct at Signature's MAX space, announced the casting July 10. Merrily marks the 17th Sondheim production staged by Schaeffer.

The musical was a 1981 Broadway flop that — after it was revised and rewritten by composer-lyricist Sondheim and librettist George Furth in 1992 — found new life around the world. It's inspired by the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play of the same name, which tells the story of showfolk from current day to humble beginnings (that is, the story is told in reverse).

Performances will continue through Oct. 14.

Gartshore is one of Washington, DC's major theatre names. In 2006 and 2007, Gartshore was awarded the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor, winning for his performances as Bobby Strong in Urinetown, The Musical, and as John Wilkes Booth in Sondheim and Weidman's Assassins, both at Signature Theatre.

Actor-singer Erik Liberman made his Broadway debut in 2007 in Harold Prince's LoveMusik. He received Theatre LA Ovation and Backstage West Garland Awards for his performance in Reefer Madness! and appeared in the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and Garland Award-winning revival of A Clockwork Orange. Tracy Lynn Olivera is the Signature regular who appeared in Allegro, for which she received a Helen Hayes nomination, Follies, Side Show, Sweeney Todd, Company in Concert, and Mack and Mabel in Concert. At the Kennedy Center she has performed in Sunday in the Park with George, Passion and Merrily We Roll Along. She was seen most recently in the world premiere musical Meet John Doe at Ford's Theatre.

Merrily will also feature Tory Ross (as Gussie Carnegie), Chris Bloch (Joe Josephson), Bayla Whitten (Beth) and Michael Bannigan (Frank, Jr.). The ensemble includes Kate Arnold, Mark Chandler, Matt Conner, Adam Cooley, Rebecca Cznadel, Jenna Edison, James Gardiner and Emily Levey.

The creative team consists of Signature's resident musical director Jon Kalbfleisch; choreographer Karma Camp and set designer Jim Kronzer (both Signature artistic associates); costume designer Robert Perdziola; and lighting designer Chris Lee.

"Turning the traditional show business musical on its head, Merrily We Roll Along is a compelling Broadway fable about friendship, compromise, and the high price of success," according to Signature notes. "Written with the theatrically challenging concept of beginning the story in the present and moving backwards in time, the work traces the relationship of a jaded, wealthy composer Franklin Shepard and his two estranged friends through good and bad times and choices, and ends in a rueful climax as the three best friends at the start of their careers face their bright future together."

The score includes such songs as "Not a Day Goes By," "Old Friends," "Good Thing Going" and "Merrily We Roll Along."

Single tickets go on sale Aug. 1. For more information about Signature's season in its two-venue home in Arlington, VA, visit www.signature-theatre.org.