Everyone's always debating the merits of Merrily We Roll Along. The original flopped. It marked the end of Stephen Sondheim's stellar chain of collaborations with Hal Prince. Blah, blah, blah. This is a great Sondheim score, up there with Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park With George. And, unlike any of them, Merrily has a real Tin Pan Alley Broadway sound. And the book is interesting. If it had no songs and was a series on Showtime, I'd watch it. The piece has been tinkered with and tinkered with nonstop in productions all over for the three decades since it opened and closed in New York. Enough. Bring it back. James Lapine's production at Encores! was terrific. I hear his 1985 La Jolla Playhouse production was too. I'm sad I missed Susan H. Schulman's York Theatre Company version. Ditto Christopher Ashley's at the Kennedy Center. They keep doing it in London. At some point, one of them has to be the one. Maybe it won't be a blockbuster smash like The Lion King. Duh. It's Sondheim. Just do it. You never know.
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