|It's the cast.|
|Last Edit: TheOtherOne 10:34 am EST 01/31/23|
|Posted by: TheOtherOne 10:32 am EST 01/31/23|
|In reply to: re: Krystal Joy Brown as Gussie - Chazwaza 10:57 am EST 01/29/23|
|"I am baffled by anyone who thinks this version, let alone this production has "finally" made Merrily work, or fixed it, whatever else I've heard about this. Even as a production goes, several others have made a stronger go at and case for this version of the show. I don't get why this one is getting the praise."
The three leads gave expert performances. Several others (Katie Rose Clarke and Reg Rogers come instantly to mind) were excellent as well.
Other factors come into play. By now, most people accept that the book will never be entirely satisfying and are willing to look past its shortcomings to fully appreciate what the show has to offer. I am quite envious of your (and Alan and Toros's) loyalty to the show as it was originally presented because I prefer the score as it is heard on the OBCR, but the changes you feel have worked against it were made by Sondheim and Furth. Your well-expressed disappointment in subsequent productions reminds me of the old line about shows being "fixed to death." It seems as though efforts to strengthen the piece in some ways weakened it in others, but again the changes were made by Sondheim and Furth. (Did Sondheim revise it any further after Furth's passing? Please answer if you know.) Sondheim's choices are rarely second-guessed, especially not in the aftermath of his death, which is probably another factor in this revival being so well received: he is still being mourned. Seeing this cast bring these characters to life feels like a well-deserved tribute to him.
I was always sorry that Sondheim needed to see his shows outside of Harold Prince's visions for them. Ultimately I believe what you miss in the revised show is much of what Prince brought to it. If he had been a part of the revision process you might have been more satisfied with the result...
...but maybe not. Perhaps we've accepted that Merrily We Roll Along will always be best appreciated as the show we love in spite of its flaws, whatever flaws they may be, and this production, particularly this cast, successfully made the case for that.
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