Yesterday, my pal Mark Evanier wrote about one of his favorite musicals, Merrily We Roll Along. I like it too, though have had debates with friends about it who find it terminally flawed because of its structure. I don’t agree – hence why I like it.
Mark posted a scene from the show, which follows three friends – a songwriting team and a script writer – backwards, from when their work relationships are breaking up to the enthusiasm when they were young, meeting and starting out. You can see his post and the scene here.
There is another scene in the show when the two songwriters are starting out, and audition their songs for a producer. He likes their work, but won’t produce it because he says that the songs are too difficult and need to be “hummable” (something Sondheim railed against his entire career.)
This is that scene and song, “Opening Doors,” which they re-created for a good documentary on Sondheim’s work, Six By Sondheim. The performers are Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, America Ferrera and Laura Osnes.
Oh. One other thing. The person in the scene performing the role of the producer is – Stephen Sondheim!
(Note: the scene is interrupted by a cut away to Sondheim as himself, talking to the actors – as themselves -- about the scene he wrote for the show. That’s not what I’m referring to about him playing the producer. After he finishes discussing what he was writing for Merrily We Roll Along and why, the film cuts back to the scene.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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