Rarely Performed Broadway Classic Arrives in the Shire

Engadine Musical Society (EMS) are renowned for producing quality theatre for over 40 years. Recently, their seasons have included big Broadway shows such as Shrek, Wicked and Jersey Boys, all to sell out audiences. However, this October, they are doing something a little different and daring to take on one of Stephen Sondheim’s most challenging works, Merrily We Roll Along.

The musical, written by legendary composer Stephen Sondheim (Into the Woods, West Side Story), has improved with age; the show that flopped in 1981 when it first opened is now receiving rave reviews on Broadway. A cautionary tale about friendship, choice and change, the musical tells the story of three friends (Frank, Charley and Mary) and how their lives, relationships, and dreams change over the course of 20 years.

Meg Day, Director of EMS’ Production:

What made the musical so unique in 1981 was that it is told in reverse-chronology. I think in 1981 this would have been quite a jarring style of story-telling, But in 2023 audiences are very accustomed to following stories with atypical narrative structures. Films like Inception, Memento and musicals like The Last 5 Years have made audiences more adept at following non-linear narratives.

Day argues that the structure of Merrily We Roll Along is what the makes the show special:

When people sit down to watch a musical, they follow the journey of the protagonist as they get from point A to point B. But Merrily We Roll Along is different in that it starts at the end of the characters’ lives, thus making the audience ask how and what occurred in order for them to end up there. It appeals to our inner gossip, but also allows us to reflect on how the choices of each character, however small, affect their future and relationships.

Merrily We Roll Along is production that is full of things to love. Sondheim’s score is both clever and catchy, the script is full of laughter and heartbreak, and it is impossible not to fall in love with the cast of characters.

Day Says:

No one character is perfect in this show. They all have flaws but they also have their strengths, and each one has something to endear you to them EMS has assembled a talent-filled cast of 20, lead by Alexander Morgan as Frank, Stefan Jamal as Charley and Tanya Boyle as Mary. These three characters are so integral to the story and emotion behind Merrily, and these talented performers will not disappoint, each at the top of their game, ready to step into Sondheim’s world and portray these characters with the skill and nuance required to make the audience love them like one of their own friends.

Merrily We Roll Along is produced by Engadine Musical Society and will run at Engadine Community Centre for two weeks from October 20th-29th. Featuring a cast of 20 talented performers from across the Sutherland Shire, St George, and Illawarra regions, Merrily We Roll Along is one of those iconic shows that doesn’t roll around very often, so theatre-goers should not miss the opportunity to witness this seminal work, and Engadine Musical Society’s interpretation of it.

Season Details

Venue: Engadine Theatre
Date: 20- 29 Oct 2023

For more information click Here

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