Capsule Reviews

Merrily We Roll Along

A BROADWAY MASTERPIECE REIMAGINED! Brace yourselves, theater lovers, because the revival of ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ now running at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre is an absolute triumph! With Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe, and Lindsay Mendez leading the charge, this production breathes new life into a timeless classic that has long been awaiting a production worthy of its material. Viewers of original 1981 Merrily cast member Lonny Price’s celebrated documentary “Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened,” recounting how the original Broadway production flopped, might not have expected how director Maria Friedman’s new take on the musical would ‘get’ what Merrily is, and allow it to soar. But those lucky enough to grab a ticket should get ready for an unforgettable journey through friendship, ambition, and the passage of time (in reverse chronological order, of course).

Jonathan Groff’s portrayal of Frank Shepard brings unparalleled depth to this complex character, making us feel every twist and turn as his own actions perpetrate an unfortunate end to his relationships, platonic and romantic alike. Daniel Radcliffe, as Charley Kringas, is equally impressive. His transformation from a wide-eyed dreamer to a man grappling with success and the decay of his oldest friendship is a testament to his versatility as an actor, as well as his charismatic presence and impeccable comedic timing. Lindsay Mendez as Charley and Frank’s lifelong friend, sardonic writer Mary Flynn, gets to show off her extraordinary vocal range, and strikes a perfect balance between wit and vulnerability.

Krystal Joy Brown shines as the glamorous and ambitious actress Gussie Carnegie, showcasing her extraordinary range and commanding stage presence. Even amidst the high wattage of Radcliffe/Groff/Mendez, Brown manages to stop the show at the top of Act Two with “Gussie’s Opening Number.” 

Stephen Sondheim’s haunting melodies and poignant lyrics, and Jonathan Tunick’s brilliant orchestrations, sweep the audience into a sea of emotions. The plot finally feels deserving of his work, now earning the emotional depth the score affords it. This production is a celebration of friendship, dreams, and the enduring power of Sondheim’s music.