Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Merrily We Roll Along
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2018-02-07

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Score: Stephen Sondheim; Book: George Furth

At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. . Tickets: 773-777-9884 or PorchlightMusicTheatre.org; $33-$60. Runs through: March 11

Merrily We Roll Along is a nearly forgotten musical where the songs are better known than the 1981 Broadway flop that spawned them. Think back to all the times you've heard lounge singers warble "Not a Day Goes By" or "Good Thing Going," or a gay chorus trying not to mess up "Old Friends" or "Our Time."

So thank your lucky stars that Porchlight Music Theatre has given Merrily We Roll Along another spin in a spectacular and genuinely moving revival. Not only can you treasure hearing Stephen Sondheim's brassy score in context with George Furth's revised 1994 book, you can judge for yourself whether this sweet-and-sour look at creative New Yorkers' friendships falling apart is worthy of a redemption.

Porchlight artistic director Michael Weber finds a perfect framing device to tame the show's potentially confusing backwards trajectory ( also a feature of Kaufman and Hart's 1934 play that inspired the musical ). After catching a cable broadcast of his 1976 film Darkness Before Dawn, the leading man of composer and film director Franklin Shephard ( a handsome and talented Jim DeSelm ) flashes back to the turning points of his ruined relationships.

Weber's vision to firmly root the show to specific times and places is also greatly enhanced by the flood of doctored historical digital projections by designer Anthony Churchill, plus the parade of fun/glamorous period costumes by designer Bill Morey. Audiences claiming to be confused, as seen in the 2016 documentary film The Best Worst Thing That Ever Happened focusing on the original production, really can't complain here.

Weber and his amazingly talented cast clearly love this rich and challenging material. They all nearly fill in the missing blanks of Furth's very caustic script involving Frank's friends like the unbearably high-minded playwright Charley Kringas ( a rightfully idiosyncratic Matt Crowle ) and the alcoholic author-turned-critic Mary Flynn ( a heartbreaking Neala Barron ).

Other characters are also welcomingly complex. This is especially true of the ambitious Broadway star Gussie Carnegie ( a seductive and resentful Keely Vasquez ), and with Frank's betrayed first wife, Beth ( a lovely Aja Wiltshire ).

Yet the early anger injected into Merrily We Roll Along can be tough to initially warm up to. Yet the musical's backwards journey to more optimistic times make all the brighter and happier scenes much more weighted with rue and regret.

Merrily We Roll Along can emotionally sucker-punch audiences, especially those who are willing to look back at the missteps of their youth. Be thankful that Porchlight is giving Merrily We Roll Along another well-deserved chance to share its many musical glories.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

BAC Announces Season of Inclusion, Productions to Focus on Diversity 2019-08-21 - ( Chicago, August 20, 2019 ) — The Beverly Arts Center announces the productions for their upcoming 2019-2020 season, dubbed the "Season of ...


Gay News

Muslim performers' event Aug. 30-31 2019-08-21 - On Aug. 30-31, at 8 p.m., the Muslim Writers Collective will host a program at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., with artists ...


Gay News

Bechdel Fest 7 set for Aug. 25-28 2019-08-21 - Broken Nose Theatre ( BNT ) has announced the full line-up for Bechdel Fest 7: Momentum—the company's annual festival of new short plays ...


Gay News

About Face names new associates 2019-08-21 - About Face Theatre has announced the addition of five new artists to the company's roster of artistic associates. Along with Artistic Director ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW You Can't Fake the Funk 2019-08-21 - Author: Daryl D. Brooks At: Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St. Tickets: BlackEnsembletheater.org, 773-769- 4451; $55-65. Runs through Sept. 22 Enjoyment ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW All Quiet on the Western Front 2019-08-21 - Playwright: adapted by Matt Foss, from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque At: Red Tape Theatre at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Fly Honey Show 2019-08-21 - Authors: Erin Killmurray ( concept ), Mary Williamson and Shannon Matesky. At: The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: http://www.theflyhoneyshow.com/events; $22.50-$45, ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-08-21 - The Band's Visit, Cadillac Palace, Sept. 3-15—Critics' Picks rarely promotes shows not yet open, but this disarming, tender, compassionate and entertaining musical must ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Women of 4G 2019-08-21 - Playwright: Amy Tofte At: Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. Tickets: TheFactoryTheater.com and BabesWithBlades.org; $20-$28. Runs through: Sept. 14 It is ...


Gay News

Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-21 - Lips, billed as "the ultimate in drag dining," is locating its fifth location in Chicago. The South Loop venue, opening to the public ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.