A spokesperson for the Roundabout confirmed that the theatre company will stage a reading of the Sondheim musical in September. Variety reports that the reading, to be directed by Matthew Warchus, will feature Gavin Creel, Lauren Ward and Joey Sorge. Based on the play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, Merrily We Roll Along features a score by 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 presented a one-night-only original cast reunion benefit concert of Merrily in New York City on Sept. 30, 2002. Merrily — under the direction of Christopher Ashley — was also part of the 2002 summer of Sondheim at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Those involved in the upcoming Merrily reading are all Sondheim veterans. Director Warchus helmed the 2001 Follies revival, which was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical and featured Lauren Ward as Young Sally and Joey Sorge as Young Buddy. Gavin Creel, the Tony-nominated Thoroughly Modern Millie actor, starred in the Chicago premiere of Sondheim's latest musical, Bounce, which will also play the Kennedy Center in the fall.