“Merrily We Roll Along”
The Music Theatre Company
1850 Green Bay Road
Highland Park, Illinois
Reviewed by Richard A. Eisenhardt
The Music Theatre Company is presenting the Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical “Merrily We Roll Along.” I’ve been told this small equity theatre has been around for three years after Apple Tree Theatre lost the space but this is my first time for the “Music Theatre.”
Unfortunately many Chicagoans haven’t discovered this company and one reason is because publicity in Chicago papers is so expensive.
The show features a large cast of equity performers under some terrific direction by Jessica Redish.
The story to unfold runs two hours and forty-five minutes with a fifteen-minute intermission. The first act runs ninety minutes and it is a difficult show to pull off.
The story is about three friends. One is a writer, another is a musician and another is a lyricist.
Stellar performances are given by Jessie Mueller as Mary Flynn, Jarrod Zimmerman who is a talented leading man who shouldn’t have to go out of town to get work, as Franklin Shepard and Alan Schmuckler as Charley Kringas, Dara Cameron as Beth, Stephanie Herman as Gussie, Joe Galante as Joe and Gabriel Stern who is Frank, Jr., and as he matures from youngster to adult should have a great future ahead of him.
To name a few of the talented ensemble we have Katie Huff, Andrew Mueller, Kevin O’Brien, Molly Tower, Nate Lewellyn and the list goes on.
It is not an easy show to do but the cast with its wonderful director pulls it off. I hope Chicagoans will discover and support this company and I hope it can keep up the quality of its productions.
We find that this is a musical that is told backwards from the end to how they got started. The ensemble plays characters that meet during this time period.
It is a hard show to do and while most of the songs may not be familiar you might remember one or two like “Not a Day Goes By,” “Old Friends,” “Now You Know” and “Our Time.”
“Merrily We Roll Along” runs through May 1st. For performance days, show times and reservations call 847-570-4900. Tickets are $30. Free parking.