Merrily We Roll Along

By Myah and Sarah Schultz


Theater Latte Da’s production of Merrily We Roll Along is captivating and poignant from curtain call to curtain call. While that may sound like a snide dig, it’s anything but; this stirring story told in reverse is bookended with bows to great effect.

Music director Jason Hansen must be commended for his excellent work. The band handled Sondheim’s intricate score with ease, producing a perfectly polished performance, while the actors blended their vocals beautifully, executing each close harmony with razor precision.

Mary (Becca Hart) is perfectly cast. Her singing voice fits the role wonderfully, and she uses it to convey an impressive range of emotions over the course of the show. The audience is never left to wonder what Mary is feeling, because her voice says it all. Rugged at the top of the show and bright at the end, Hart’s vocal performance helps viewers understand her character’s journey from bright eyed youth to alcohol-fueled despondency.

Dylan Frederick excels in the role of Charley. One of Charley’s most dynamic moments is “Franklin Shepard Inc.” Instead of relying on this patter song’s frenzied speed for an easy laugh, Frederick lives in every lyric, adding depth to this potentially flippant song. Already nervous and reluctant to appear on television, Charley snaps when his old friend lets him down. As he unravels, the audience feels all the frustration that’s been building for years and years.

Grant E. Merges’s lighting design dazzles in several scenes. As soon as the house lights dim, rows of lights framing the stage flash rhythmically, dancing to the overture and dropping us immediately into the setting (which I would describe as “showbusiness in the abstract”). Later during “Growing Up,” orange lights flare as Frank’s anxieties boil over. The harsh orange then cools, and we understand that he has made up his mind. Such clever lighting tricks dapple the show, consistently cuing us into each character’s inner turmoil.

A delight from beginning to end and from end to beginning, this show is a must see. Merrily We Roll Along runs until October 30th at the Ritz Theater.

Box Office Tues – Fri: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 12 – 5pm (in performances)
1 hour before performance times

Box Office Phone: (612) 339-3003


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