Daniel Radcliffe to star in Off Broadway 'Merrily' Revival

Actor Daniel Radcliffe will star in an Off Broadway revival of ‘Merrily We Roll Along,’ a Stephen Sondheim musical that flopped on Broad...

Actor Daniel Radcliffe will star in an Off Broadway revival of ‘Merrily We Roll Along,’ a Stephen Sondheim musical that flopped on Broadway but in the decades since has become an oft-produced and beloved show .

The new production, directed by Maria Friedman, will certainly be difficult to obtain, given Radcliffe’s fame and the size of the room: it will be staged at the end of this year by the non-profit New York Theater Workshop on its 199-seat main stage in the East Village.

Sondheim, in an interview a few days before his death last November, said he was looking forward to the production. Friedman, a British musical theater star with a long history of performing in Sondheim musicals, first directed ‘Merrily’ at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London in 2012; this production, hailed by The Guardian with a five star reviewmoved to London’s West End in 2013, and Friedman then directed a run at the Huntington Theater in Boston in 2017.

“Merrily” is a quirky show, written in reverse chronological order, about a trio of artists whose close friendship and shared dreams unravel over the years. The musical, featuring songs by Sondheim and a book by George Furth, was shown on Broadway in 1981; it closed 12 days after opening. The shortened Broadway run was the subject of a well-received documentary film in 2016, “The worst thing that could have happened”; Richard Linklater is now spend 20 years making a film adaptation of the musical with Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein.

Ben Brantley, then co-chief theater critic of The New York Times, called “Merrily” “the beloved problem child of Sondheim musicals.” He saw Friedman’s production in London, where he called it “tighten the heart“, and in Boston, where he tried it”transcendent.” The show, with an admired score and a critically acclaimed book that turns into a rooftop moment where the three main characters meet, has been reimagined many times; Jesse Green, the current Times chief theater critic, once described himself as “someone who would happily frequent a dedicated ‘Merrily’ repertoire theater, perhaps on this rooftop, playing only reworked versions in perpetuity.”

The New York Theater Workshop, better known as the birthplace of “Rent,” said Monday its production of “Merrily” will run “late 2022”; he did not announce any dates. Radcliffe will play Charley Kringas, lyricist and playwright; the theater has not announced any other cast members.

Radcliffe, who rose to fame playing Harry Potter on film, has starred in several Broadway and Off Broadway rooms; he also has starred in a 2011 Broadway revival from the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”.

The production “Merrily” is the last show chosen by James C. Nicola, artistic director of the New York Theater Workshop since 1988, and which is plans to retire in June. Nicola saw the original production on Broadway, and in the decades that followed, he said, the series “strangely, strangely managed to fit into my own life”.

“I had never heard or read any artwork that seemed to understand me — in fact, all of us Boomers at this point in our lives,” he said over email. “‘Merrily We Roll Along’ magically entered my life again.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Daniel Radcliffe to star in Off Broadway 'Merrily' Revival
Daniel Radcliffe to star in Off Broadway 'Merrily' Revival
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