November 29's performance of Merrily We Roll Along at the Hudson Theatre featured a mini reunion of 10 members of the musical's original cast, and for a good cause.
With Red Bucket fundraising currently underway for Broadway nonprofit Broadway Cares, the starry Sondheim revival auctioned off a special "Old Friends" sweatshirt signed by the current Broadway cast on the front and the 1981 original Broadway cast of the musical on the back. The highly collectable treasure nabbed well over $10,000 for Broadway Cares. See just how much in the video below.
The OG Merrily cast members were on hand to mark the 42nd anniversary of the original production's opening night, November 28, 1981. Being in the audience for the smash hit revival must be a bittersweet experience. Though the current production of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical is regularly one of Broadway's top grossers, the original production famously lasted just 16 performances, becoming the end of Sondheim and director Hal Prince's landmark partnership.
The musical was heavily revised in the years following its first Broadway outing, and that revised edition is being used for the current revival, directed by Maria Friedman. The A-list cast is led by Daniel Radcliffe as Charley Kringas, Jonathan Groff as Franklin Shepard, and Lindsay Mendez as Mary Flynn, along with Krystal Joy Brown as Gussie Carnegie, Katie Rose Clarke as Beth Shepard, and Reg Rogers as Joe Josephson. Max Rackenberg and Brady Wagner share the role of Frank Jr.
The production features choreography by Tim Jackson, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, scenic and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Amith Chandrashaker, sound design by Kai Harada, hair and wig design by Cookie Jordan, music supervision by Catherine Jayes, music direction by Joel Fram, and music coordination by Kristy Norter.
With a book by Furth—adapted from the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play of the same name—and a score by Sondheim, the musical tracks the lives of three friends navigating the entertainment industry over three decades in reverse chronological order. Sondheim's score includes such songs as "Old Friends," "Now You Know," "Franklin Shepard, Inc.," "Good Thing Going," and "Not a Day Goes By."
This current production was originally staged at London's Menier Chocolate Factory in 2012 and later transferred to the West End, where it won an Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. Huntington Theatre in Boston gave the staging its North American premiere in 2017.