This film from acclaimed theater director Lonny Price charts the journey of the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" in the 30-plus years since the musical debuted on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre in 1981.
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This is a wonderful documentary, composed chiefly of interviews Stephen Sondheim has given in the past, with the addition of the musical numbers, some specifically filmed for this HBO documentary.
And it is one of those versions I want to address: James Lapine's filmed version of "Opening Doors" from "Merrily We Roll Along." It stars Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, and America Ferrara, and I truly wish this version was available as a full-length film version of the difficult- to-produce musical. It brought back the magic I felt seeing this in a 1982 version in Washington DC and later in a 1983 Los Angeles Equity production. Subsequent revisions of the script and songs have left me feeling flat, including the much-raved-about recent London production. These three actors have the charm and innocence and musical presence that was required of the original roles, and they recreate the period and excitement with thrilling results. During their number, I kept thinking, "Where is this version?! Why isn't there a movie version with this cast?" Kudos to all involved in truly bringing back to life "Merrily We Roll Along" (and to that sly actor singing about songs having "hummable" and "memorable" melodies).
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