“How did you get to be here, Mr Shepard?” Franklin Shepard has made it to the top: a wealthy LA movie producer, he rubs shoulders with Hollywood’s A-list. But he desperately wishes things had turned out differently. Where did his life veer off course?
As it wheels back through the landscape of Franklin’s past, his choices and their consequences, Merrily We Roll Along explores the forces that shape our lives: success and what it costs, friendship and what it can bear, dreams and what they become.
Leading independent music theatre company, Watch This (Assassins, Pacific Overtures) is thrilled to follow its most recent sell-out season of Company with another witty and deeply moving collaboration between Stephen Sondheim and George Furth. Directed by Sara Grenfell, Musical Direction by Cameron Thomas and Choreography by David Wynen, an outstanding ensemble cast is led by Lyall Brooks (A Prudent Man, North by Northwest), Nicole Melloy (Dusty, Loving Repeating), Nelson Gardner (Ned – A New Australian Musical, Beauty & the Beast), Cristina D’Agostino (Matilda – The Musical, Strictly Ballroom – The Musical) and Sophie Weiss (The Full Monty, The Sound of Music).
Merrily We Roll Along marks Watch This’ fifth year of operation and sixth major production, having toured both Assassins and Company regionally. Since bursting onto Melbourne’s theatrical scene, they have accrued an impressive 12 Green Room Award nominations alongside their commercial cousins, with a win for Best Supporting Actor for Adrian Li Donni (Pacific Overtures).
Merrily We Roll Along is based on the original play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart/ Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick/ Originally Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince/ Originally produced on Broadway by Lord Grade, Martin Starger, Robert Fryer and Harold Prince in association with Ruth Mitchell and Howard Haines.
Licensed exclusively by Music Theatre International (Australasia). All performance materials supplied by Hal Leonard Australia.
News & Reviews
Sung acoustically, this production is intimate and streamlined.
Gardner captures Charley’s earnestness, commitment and moral code and delivers with skill and passion Charley’s song, Franklin Shepard Inc., a scathing, rapid-fire attack on Frank’s relentless ambition … Melloy’s vocal skill does justice to Sondheim’s music and she successfully expresses a range of emotion as the insecure and lovelorn Mary …. Sophie Weiss brings vocal warmth and control to the role of Beth, Frank’s first wife, and her rendition of Not A Day Goes By is moving, while the number, Bobbie and Jackie and Jack, her trio with Gardner and Brooks, is a clownish highlight. The big pay-off is the final song, Our Time …
Brooks’ brazen theatrics and Melloy’s nuances of character really hit the mark … The signature tune Merrily We Roll Along is a real crowd pleaser, while I also took a shine to Our Time …. If one thing turns back the clock, it is [Emily Collett’s] costumes and costume changes, which work a treat … Plaudits go to director Sara Grenfell and Cameron Thomas for his musical direction.
Gardner as the thoroughly decent, quietly exasperated Charley […] brings total authenticity and precision to the role, nailing the fiendish ‘Franklin Shepard Inc.’ and suggesting the declining years with subtly and nuance.
Suitable for ages 14+