BACK TO THE FUTURE and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG
Posted by: fabjim50 08:52 pm EDT 04/17/24

Manhattan resident, 40 year theatergoer here, and BACK TO THE FUTURE was one of the biggest surprises of my theatergoing career. I expected literally nothing, I thought it would be yet another cheap commercial movie to musical hack job, and it was one of the most entertaining shows I've seen in years. It's not a great musical but it does the job, doesn't take itself seriously, has some fun songs that cleverly interpolate the film score, is genuinely funny, has great leads in Roger Bart & Casey Likes, and the special effects are thrilling. When the Delorean comes out over the audience and turns over, it's jaw dropping. I absolutely loved it, and fear the snobby, elitist Tony voters will shut it out of the Tonys because they're pathetic snobs who couldn't create a show like it if someone put a gun to their head. I think it deserves nominations for Best Musical, Book, Score, Actor, Director, Sets & Sound, but it will probably only get a few of them. The reason it's selling, despite what the critics said, is because audiences love it. The New York theater cognoscente need to be put out to pasture. They kill the industry they're meant to promote. Broadway eats its young.

However, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG I expected to be great and it is. This production is so good that you wonder how in the world it was such a flop in the first place. This is top drawer Sondheim, a fully realized score that works on many levels, and the show is like a puzzle that the audience puts together as it goes along. It's a shame he didn't finish HERE WE ARE, because that could have had the same effect if it hadn't fallen apart in Act 2. (I didn't buy Joe Mantello & David Ives' explanation that since they couldn't get out of the room, they wouldn't be singing. Rubbish. Sweeney Todd wouldn't have been singing "Joanna" while cutting throats. Sondheim just didn't finish it and they were trying to justify it). MERRILY should win best revival, Director & Actor.
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