The feature-length documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened—a behind-the-scenes look into Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Merrily We Roll Along—will be released digitally March 3 on iTunes Movies. It will be available for purchase ($12.99) and rental ($4.99). Pre-order begins February 24.
Best Worst Thing… is directed by original Merrily We Roll Along cast member Lonny Price and produced by Bruce David Klein with Price, Kitt Lavoie, and Ted Schillinger. Scott Rudin and Eli Bush serve as executive producers. The film features never-before-seen footage and interviews with Sondheim, Harold Prince and original cast members including Jason Alexander, Tonya Pinkins, Jim Walton, Ann Morrison, and more.
Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, according to press notes, is “the must-see chronicle of Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince’s much ballyhooed reverse chronology musical Merrily We Roll Along, which closed after just 16 performances in 1981 but gradually assumed legend status. This alternately heartbreaking and euphoric film focuses on the original cast members, then and now, and the special place this experience holds in their memories."
Merrily played the Alvin Theatre—now the Neil Simon. The film's title is drawn from a lyric in the show: “The best thing that ever could've happened.” Despite the musical’s short run, the cast album is treasured by fans, and several songs have approached standard status, including ”Old Friends,” “Not a Day Goes By,” and “Good Thing Going.” Price, who has transitioned from acting into directing, has been working on the documentary for at least five years.
The film made its world premiere at the New York Film Festival October 9 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
(Updated February 24, 2017)