Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, a film documentary about the short-lived 1981 Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along, will have its world premiere at the 2016 New York Film Festival.
Screenings are scheduled for October 9 at 6 PM in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and October 10 at 6:30 PM at the Francesca Beale Theatre. Click here to order tickets.
Lonny Price, who co-starred as lyricist Charley Kringas in the original production, directed and co-produced the film, which features interviews with Sondheim, director Harold Prince, and Price's original co-stars, Ann Morrison and Jim Walton. Kitt Lavoie is credited as scriptwriter.
The innovative musical was based on a 1934 George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play about a group of friends and the compromises they make (or don't) in their pursuit of success. Both the play and the musical used the unusual device of starting in the present and moving backwards in time with each scene toward the characters' idealistic past.
Merrily ran just 14 performances at the Alvin Theatre. 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 film for at least five years.
Read Playbill.com's 2012 story on the project:
"OUR TIME: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT GROWING UP" WILL CHART LIVES OF ORIGINAL MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG CAST
Variety reports that Sondheim is expected to attend one of the screenings, TBA.
The New York Film Festival is scheduled to run September 30-October 16.
Watch a clip from the film, including interviews with Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince: