With one production of Merrily We Roll Along about to open at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, another — featuring most of the original Broadway cast — will take place in New York City on Sept. 30.
Musical Theatre Works, the not-for-profit theatre dedicated to the development and production of new American musical theatre, will offer a one-night-only benefit concert of the Stephen Sondheim musical on Sept. 30 at the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Former "Seinfeld" actor Jason Alexander, who starred as Joe in the original Broadway mounting, will host an evening that will also feature most of the original Broadway cast.
As of press time, the concert line-up will include Jim Walton (Franklin Shepard), Ann Morrison (Mary Flynn), Lonny Price (Charley Kringas), Terry Finn (Gussie), Sally Klein (Beth), David Cady (Jerome), Donna Marie Asbury (Terry), Maryrose Wood (Ms. Gordon), Marc Moritz (Alex), Tonya Pinkins (Gwen Wilson), David Loud (Ted), David Shine (Les), Paul Hyams (Mr. Spencer), Daisy Prince (Meg), Marianne Allen, James Bonkovsky, Liz Callaway, Forrest R. Day, Giancarlo Esposito, Steven Jacob, Abby Pogrebin, Clark Sayre and Gary Stevens. Longtime Sondheim associate Paul Gemignani will conduct the orchestra.
Tickets to the event — priced between $50 and $1,000 — are available by calling Musical Theatre Works at (212) 677-0040, ext. 312. LaGuardia High School is located at 100 Amsterdam Avenue in New York City.
The Kennedy Center production of Merrily, now in rehearsals, will begin previews on July 12 with a cast featuring Raul Esparza (Charley), Miriam Shor (Mary), Emily Skinner (Gussie), Michael Hayden (Franklin), Anastasia Barzee (Beth), Adam Heller (Joe), Sean McLaughlin (Terry), Jason Gilbert (talk-show host Alex), Peggy Yates (Gwen Wilson), Ty Hreben (Mr. Spencer), Sherri Edelen (Mrs. Spencer), Tracey Lynn Olivera (Valedictorian) and Mary Jane Raleigh (one of the girls auditioning). 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.
—By Andrew Gans