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Merrily We Roll Along (1993 Leicester Cast) Cast Recording

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, March 11, 1997
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture
  2. The Hills of Tomorrow Merrily
  3. Merrily (1979-75) Old Friends Like It Was
  4. Merrily (1974-73) Franklin Shepard, Inc.
  5. Old Friends
  6. Not A Day Goes By
  7. Now You Know
  8. It's A Hit!
  9. Merrily (1964-62) Good Thing Going
  10. Merrily (1961-60); Bobby and Jackie and Jack
  11. Not A Day Goes By
  12. Opening Doors
  13. Our Time
  14. The Hills


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 11, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Jay Records
  • ASIN: B000005BGV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,129 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG was one of Sondheim's biggest flops when it first opened on Broadway in 1981. It suffered from a variety of problems, probably the biggest being that the fascinating concept of the show - relating a story in reverse chronological order - led to a host of difficulties that required more time to solve than the tryout period allowed. Over the next dozen years, Sondheim and book-writer George Furth (along with assistance from a new director, James Lapine), modified the show. The show is drastically improved by the revisions.
While Sondheim and Furth have made a few minor revisions since the Leicester Haymarket production (mostly in shortening a few rhythms in the transitions, changing some introductory dialogue, and axing some dialogue in "It's a Hit!"), the Leicester recording is far superior to the recording of the final version of the show produced by Varese Sarabande.
CHANGES FROM THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION:
Some neat concepts from the original production have been left by the wayside to improve the overall structure. Gone is the opening scene at the 1980 Lake Forest Academy graduation ceremony and the accompanying "The Hills of Tomorrow." The title song is now presented as a prologue so that the audience can concentrate on the lyrics' message. The music of the 1979 (now 1976) scene has been heavily revised (including a new melody called "That Frank") to integrate more plot into the lyrics. The 1975 scene has been eliminated, although Mary's music survives intact as the first part of an expanded 1973 scene. A great new song, "Growing Up," Frank's rationalizations for changing his goals and values, has been added to the 1968 scene. Beth now sings "Not a Day Goes By" in the 1966 (now 1967) scene instead of Frank.
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Format: Audio CD
The original 1981 production played 6 weeks of previews before opening to crushingly bad reviews. Two weeks later it closed. The day after the final performance the cast assembled at RCA's New York studios to record the cast album. In 1985 a revised production directed by James Lapine opened at the LaJolla playhouse and received encouraging reviews. More revisions lead to other productions and 1992 it was given a production at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester and that production was given a lavish 2 CD recording by John Yap and issued on TER in England and later on JAY in the U.S. This was followed in May 1994 -just a few weeks after PASSION opened on Broadway - by an off-off-Broadway York Theatre Company revival that received generally better reviews than the original received. It was recorded by Varese-Sarabande. Both the Leicester cast and York casts use the revised version with an altered tune stack.

1. OVERTURE - In 1981 the Overture was a complete piece. In the revised version it cuts off midpoint and segues into the title song.

2. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG - The original production began with Frank coming back to his former high school to mark 25 years since his graduation. His speech - a caution to the students to be prepared for compromise and frustration was challenged by the students who launched into the title song. As noted above, the revised version begins with the cast singing the song but without any context.

3. THAT FRANK/RICH AND HAPPY - The party scene. In the original Frank's new movie was terrible though none of the guests would tell him to his face. In the revised version the movie is a success. In THAT FRANK the party guests, Mary excepted, sing of Frank's seemingly endless talents.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording only helps to prove that Maria Friedman is the no. 1 British interpreter (if not the no. 1 international interpreter of all-time) of the music of Stephen Sondheim. Her comic timing is immpeccible, and she is larger than life in her singing (especially in "Now You Know"). Louise Gold has an Ethel Merman-y quality to her voice, and this is a great new reading of the character of Guessie (she is, after all, a Broadway head-liner), as opposed to the purring sex-kitten of all of the other Guessies out there. And her rage in the dialgoue excerpt on the first disc is clear. This woman is one heavy-duty actress. We see that Guessie isn't really the only one out of the main characters to become bitter and disilliusioned, as many people make the mistake of believing. Jacqueline Dankworth does not just sing the heart-wrenching "Not a Day Goes By," she acts it. And she acts and sings the hell out of it. She has definately inherited her mother's talent (but is decidedly different in her performance style). As you can see, all of the women on this recording are effervescent, and the men rise up to the challenge (particularly the Joe Josephson of Gareth Snook and the Charlie of Evan Pappas). And there is Frank, menacing as always. This CD is the best out there, with a large amount of dialogue, and all of the score. Here is the definitive, no-questions-asked, no-holds-barred version of MERILLY WE ROLL ALONG on CD. Buy it today!
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By A Customer on November 19, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Having listened extensively to all recordings of "Merrily We Roll Along," I say with confidence that this is by far the best, most complete recording.
The performances are all wonderful. I enjoy Maria Friedman's work on here most of all. I can clearly hear her transformation from a depressed drunkard back to a hopeful youth through the recording. Her expressive voice and striking acting choices always make her a joy to even listen to.
This CD has the best orchestrations I have heard. The underscore to "Franklin Shepherd Inc" has finally been cleaned up to the point where it sounds like an actual song, and the overall feel of the show has a real edge.
The tempos are up and the performers sound like they don't have guns being held to their heads in the recording studio. The performances a lucid and dynamic. The overall feel of the show, for the first time, has a smooth and consistent feel just from listening to the recording.
This may not be my favorite piece of Sondheim, but it is his brassiest score. This quality, lost in the off-broadway recording, is really restored here.
This CD is personal treasure and a must for Sondheim fanatics. However, this recording is by far the most accesible recording of this most difficult show.
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