James Lapine, who directed an earlier revised version of Merrily at La Jolla Playhouse in 1985, will return to the property as director of the concert version of the 1981 commercial flop that is a favorite among Sondheim fans. (There had been talk in recent seasons that Lapine might direct Merrily on Broadway.) Dan Knechtges will provide musical staging.
The cast will be headed by Colin Donnell (Anything Goes) as songwriter Franklin Shepard, Celia Keenan-Bolger (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as magazine writer Mary Flynn, Betsy Wolfe (Tales of the City) as Franklin's wife Beth and Elizabeth Stanley (Million Dollar Quartet) as Gussie Carnegie, the star of Franklin Shepard and Charley Kringas' first Broadway hit. The role of Kringas has yet to be cast.
Merrily We Roll Along, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, "is a musical about friendship and the compromise of youthful ideals, based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart," according to Encores! notes. "Merrily We Roll Along begins in 1980 and moves backward in time, from 1980-1955, telling the story of three friends whose friendship is tested by time, events, ambition and fate. It charts the rise of a songwriting team during the years of Sondheim's own early career, and includes some of his most brilliant and bruising songs." The score includes "Not a Day Goes By," "Old Friends," "Our Time" and "Opening Doors." The officially licensed script is the 1985 rewrite. Performances will play Feb. 8-19, 2012.
Rob Berman is musical director of Encores!
For tickets visit the City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th avenues), call CityTix at (212) 581-1212, or online at www.NYCityCenter.org. Tickets start at $25.