Merrily We Roll Along
CREATIVE AND PRODUCTION TEAM
Cohan Le May
Voice and Dialect Coach
Associate Costume Designer
Associate Set Designer
Production Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Managers
Head Of Staging
Mieke Singh Dodd
Technical Manager / Head Electrician
Deputy Head Electrician
Lighting Programmers and Operators
*Third year BFA (Design and Production) student
Head of Music Theatre
Head of Production
Music Theatre Third Year Coordinator
Production Academic Mentors
Kat Chan, Elise Glass, Niklas Pajanti, Andy Turner, Joy Weng
VCA Production Academic Staff
Anna Cordingley, Martyn Coutts, Jo Evans, Amanda Hitten, Lisa Mibus, Matt Scott
Merrily We Roll Along begins in 1976 and travels backward in time to 1957, historically a period of huge social and cultural change.
George Furth and Stephen Sondheim wrote Merrily in 1980/81. Sondheim's score was composed as a response to producers and critics who criticised his lack of 'tunes you can hum'.
The show opened on Broadway in 1981 without benefit of an out-of-town tryout and was poorly received, with walkouts and disastrous reviews (though many praised the score as exceptional). It closed after 16 performances and 52 previews. Over the years Furth and Sondheim kept tinkering, making crucial structural and musical changes to subsequent smaller productions till an Off-Broadway revival in 1994 became the definitive version of the show.
Sondheim said Merrily is a cautionary tale about taking the expedient path through life, that follows three friends bound together by their idealism. In fact, the piece thematically interrogates the notion of idealism against the growing capitalism of the “Me” generation in this period of history.
We meet Franklin Shepard a successful Hollywood Producer on the evening of his film premiere 'Darkness Before Dawn'. He seems to have all the outward trappings of success and yet his private life is crumbling down around him. Sondheim poses the question 'How did he get to be here?', then sends us rolling back a few years at a time to discover all the game changing moments that lead he and his friends to this point.
Stephen Sondheim had the most profound influence on contemporary musical theatre, so it’s a great honour to have been in rehearsal with one of his works, especially only months after his death. There has also been an intriguing irony working on this show in a world where we are seeing the worst effects of capitalism, and through an election period where once more we were asked to choose between idealism and capitalism as though the two were mutually exclusive.
I would like to express my gratitude to the entire Merrily company - the creative team, the design and production teams - without all your support the travelling wouldn't have been half as fun.
- Jason Langley, Director