PHOTO CALL: John Doyle-Helmed Actor-Musician Merrily We Roll Along, Starring Malcolm Gets
By Matthew Blank
Tony-winning director John Doyle lends his actor-musician touch to Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Merrily We Roll Along, which begins performances March 3 at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Tony Award nominee Malcolm Gets, Daniel Jenkins and Becky Ann Baker star.
The 1981 musical, which has a book by Furth and a score by Sondheim, is based on Kaufman and Hart's 1934 Broadway play. Merrily We Roll Along will officially open March 8 for a run through March 31 in the Robert S. Marx Theatre.
Merrily famously travels backwards in time to navigate the bumpy history of three friends who start their careers in showbusiness together. Doyle previously staged Merrily in a similar manner at the U.K's Watermill Theatre in 2008.
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.
The 2012 staging of Merrily marks Tony nominee Gets' second pass at the role of songwriter Franklin Shepard – he previously played the role Off-Broadway in the 1994 York Theatre Company staging of Merrily, which introduced revisions by Sondheim and Furth since its 1981 Broadway run. Doyle's production will reflect the 1994 York revisions.
Gets (A New Brain, The Story of My Life) also collaborated with Doyle in the American premiere of his Rodgers and Hart actor-musician musical Ten Cents a Dance at the Williamstown Theatre Festival last summer.
Jenkins, a Tony Award nominee for Big River, portrays songwriting partner Charley Kringas; with 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.
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