All but two minor roles — those of "Mary's Roommate" and the "Sound Manager" — have been cast for the upcoming production of Merrily We Roll Along, the fourth of six Stephen Sondheim musicals to play the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater.
Part of the acclaimed Sondheim Celebration that has already presented Sweeney Todd, Company and Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along is set to begin performances on July 12. As of press time, the cast comprises Michael Hayden (Franklin Shepard), Miriam Shor (Mary Flynn), Raúl Esparza (Charley Kringas), Emily Skinner (Gussie), Adam Heller (Joe), Anastasia Barzee (Beth), Jason Gilbert (Tyler), John Jellison (Terry), Sherri Edelen (Scotty), Mary Jayne Raleigh (Dory), Sean Mclaughlin (Ru), Keith Byron Kirk (Jerome), Thursday Farrar (KT), Tracy Lynn Olivera (Meg Kincaid), Edgar Godineaux (Bunker), Ty Hreben (TV Newsman), Amy McWilliams (TV Newswoman), Jason Gilbert (Make-up Artist), Mary Jayne Raleigh (Stage Manager), Sherri Edelen (Evelyn), John Jellison (Mr. Spencer), Peggy Yates (Mrs. Spencer), Edgar Godineaux (Pianist), Ty Hreben (Photographer), Amy McWilliams (First Girl) and Keith Byron Kirk (Minister).
Based on the play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, Merrily We Roll Along features a score by Stephen Sondheim and a book by George Furth. Concerning the lives of three friends — composer Franklin Shepard, lyricist Charley Kringas and writer Mary Flynn — the musical is told backwards in time and boasts such classic Sondheim tunes as "Like It Was," "Not a Day Goes By," "Good Thing Going," "Now You Know," "Our Time" and "Old Friends." The musical bowed on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on Nov. 16, 1981, where it ran for only 16 performances. The original cast included Jim Walton, Ann Morrison, Lonny Price, Terry Finn, Jason Alexander, Tonya Pinkins, Daisy Prince and Liz Callaway. Musical Theatre Works will present a one-night-only original cast reunion benefit concert of Merrily in New York City on Sept. 30.
Christopher Ashley — who helmed the Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show — directs the Kennedy Center Merrily, which runs through Aug. 24. Merrily is one of six Sondheim musicals being offered this spring and summer; the other five titles include Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, Passion and A Little Night Music. Tickets for Merrily range from $29-$79 and can be purchased by calling (800) 444-1324. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located in Washington, D.C., at 2700 F. Street. For more information, go to www.kennedy-center.org.
—By Andrew Gans