New York Producers Catch John Doyle's Merrily We Roll Along in Ohio

By Adam Hetrick
30 Mar 2012

 Malcolm Gets in Merrily We Roll Along
Malcolm Gets in Merrily We Roll Along
Photo by Sandy Underwood

Tony Award winner John Doyle's actor-musician production of Merrily We Roll Along, which is currently playing the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, may be tuning up for a future New York life.

A representative for the production confirmed to Playbill.com that a New York producer had flown to Ohio to check out Doyle's intermissionless staging of the 1981 musical that has a book by the late George Furth and a score by Stephen Sondheim. It is based on Kaufman and Hart's 1934 Broadway play of the same title.

The New York Post reported that producer Richard Frankel, who also produced Doyle's Company and Sweeney Todd on Broadway, was among the producers to attend Merrily, which ends its run March 31 in Cincinnati.

Composer-lyricist Sondheim attended a preview of the production earlier this month. Click here to read Playbill.com's interview with Doyle about the new vision for Merrily.



The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is also where Doyle debuted his actor-musician production of Sondheim and George Furth's Company, which transferred to Broadway in late 2006. The production earned the Tony Award for Best Revival and a nomination for Best Direction. 

Doyle's production trims the two-act musical's running time down to just under two hours, with no intermission. The set is built from stacks of manuscripts of the original score.

The cast features Tony Award nominee Malcolm Gets (A New Brain, The Story of My Life) as songwriter Franklin Shepard; as well as Daniel Jenkins, a Tony Award nominee for Big River, as  songwriting partner Charley Kringas; with Becky Ann Baker (Good People, Assassins) as Franklin and Charley's disillusioned pal Mary Flynn.

Completing the cast of Merrily are a handful of Doyle musical veterans, including Jane Pfitsch as Beth, Leenya Rideout as Gussie Carnegie, Jessica Wright as K.T., Matt Castle as Scotty, David Garry as Jerome, Bruce Sabath as Joe, Lee Harrington as Meg, Fred Rose as Tyler, Matthew Deming as Ru and Ben Diskant as Frank Jr. 

Mary-Mitchell Campbell, who orchestrated and was musical supervisor for Doyle's Company,  is also involved. Tony Award winner Scott Pask (The Coast of Utopia, The Pillowman) designs the set, with costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Jane Cox and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier. Cast member Matt Castle serves as musical director.

For tickets phone (513) 421-3888 or visit CincyPlay.