“Merrily We Roll Along” graces the stage at the Wallis Annenberg, as the story, written by George Furth comes to life, recalling Broadway playwrights and actors following their dreams through the decades. The show features memorable first rate songs in true Sondheim style, that one can’t help but hum long after show’s end, including “Our Time,” “Old Friends,” and “Not A Day Goes By,” my particular favorites.
One of the three main characters, Charley Kringas, a song lyricist, is impeccably played by Wayne Brady, all the while, the audience senses an almost autobiographical chronological nature of the storyline. His two best friends Franklin Shepard (Aaron Lazar), a Broadway composer; and Mary Flynn (Donna Vivino), a journalist, set out to conquer Broadway and take the world by storm.
This story, adapted from the original play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, runs backward, quite effectively showing the cast/ensemble from decades current to past, in all their glory. As we travel back in time, to a kinder, gentler, more idealistic era, we live vicariously through this trio’s hopes, dreams, fears and joys. As they belt out “Our Time,” a wave of youthful optimism and idealism permeates the stage, before reaching jaded middle age. This show is blessed with a great score, and the cast’s renewed energy and sense of wonder as they go back in time animates every frame, sure to leave one teary eyed in nostalgia for the ‘roads not taken,’ and regrets along the ride.
Through December 18th
Bram Goldsmith Theatre