West End Transfer for Menier Chocolate Factory's Merrily We Roll Along Confirmed
By Mark Shenton
The West End transfer for the Menier Chocolate Factory's current sell-out production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's 1981 Broadway flop Merrily We Roll Along has been confirmed. It will begin performances at the Harold Pinter Theatre April 23, prior to an official opening May 1 for a 12-week run through July 27.
Currently running at the Menier through March 9, where it opened Nov. 28, 2012, following previews that began Nov. 16, it will replace Pinter's Old Times, which will end its scheduled run there April 6.
It is directed by Maria Friedman, who has regularly appeared in Sondheim musicals in London and once starred as Mary Flynn in a Leicester production of Merrily We Roll Along herself, and will feature the same cast as at the Menier, led by Mark Umbers as Franklin Shepard, Damian Humbley as Charley Kringas and Tony nominee Jenna Russell as Mary Flynn.
All three have appeared in Menier productions before: Umbers was seen in Sweet Charity as Oscar /Vittorio, which subsequently transferred to the West End's Theatre Royal, Haymarket; Humbley starred in the UK premiere of Jason Robert Brown's The Last 5 Years at the Menier; and Russell starred as Dot in the West End and Broadway transfers of the Menier's production of Sunday in the Park with George (though the role was originated at the Menier by Anna-Jane Casey).
Also in featured roles are Clare Foster, Josefina Gabrielle, Glyn Kerslake and Zizi Strallen. The cast also includes Matthew Barrow, Amanda Minihan, Kirk Patterson, Amy Ellen Richardson, Ashley Robinson, Robbie Scotcher and Joanna Woodward.
Maria Friedman, a regular Sondheim performer whose roles have included playing Dot and Fosca in the UK premieres of Sunday in the Park with George and Passion, respectively, as well as Mrs. Lovett opposite Bryn Terfel in Sweeney Todd at the Royal Festival Hall, makes her directorial debut. She has also previously played Mary Flynn in Merrily We Roll Along at Leicester Haymarket. The production also includes designs by Soutra Gilmour, lighting by David Hersey, sound design by Gareth Owen, musical supervision and direction by Catherine Jayes, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick and choreography by Tim Jackson.
Merrily will be presented in the West End by Chocolate Factory Productions, Bob Bartner, Scott M. Delman, Just for Laughs Theatricals, Tanya Link, Neal Street Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7622 or visit www.merrilywestend.com for more details.
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