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Tony Awards Highlights: ‘The Outsiders’ Wins Best Musical, ‘Stereophonic’ Best Play

Tony Awards Highlights: ‘The Outsiders’ Wins Best Musical, ‘Stereophonic’ Best Play


Lindsay Mendez, Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe within the Broadway revival of “Merrily We Roll Along.”Credit…Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

“Merrily We Roll Along,” lengthy thought-about one of the vital storied flops in Broadway historical past, discovered redemption on Sunday when it gained the Tony Award for finest musical revival, belatedly establishing it within the pantheon of Stephen Sondheim masterpieces.

The award, though broadly anticipated, nonetheless represents a miraculous rehabilitation for a troubled title. The unique manufacturing, in 1981, closed simply 12 days after opening, dogged by horrible evaluations and stories of viewers walkouts. The present manufacturing — which includes a main film star, Daniel Radcliffe, alongside two common Broadway performers, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez — has been a worthwhile hit met with near-universal acclaim, sold-out homes and excessive common ticket costs.

“Merrily,” in regards to the implosion of a three-way friendship over a 20-year interval, options music and lyrics by Sondheim and a ebook by George Furth. It relies on a 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and the unique manufacturing was directed by Hal Prince. The debacle was infamous sufficient that it grew to become the topic of a 2016 documentary, “Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened.”

But the present lived on and has been repeatedly reworked within the many years since as a result of, regardless of its troublesome delivery, a cadre of passionate followers has lengthy discovered it profound and, with a broadly admired rating, worthy of reconsideration.

Much has modified, along with rewrites, to remodel the present from failure to success. The present unfolds in reverse chronological order, a tool that was much less acquainted to audiences within the early Eighties than it’s now. To painting characters who begin the present of their 40s and finish it of their 20s, the unique solid was made up of adolescents and younger adults. Later productions have gone the opposite method, typically counting on actors who’re older, which has proved extra emotionally efficient for theatergoers.

The present manufacturing’s starry, interesting solid, who additionally carried out in a 2022 Off Broadway run at New York Theater Workshop, helped make the present a must-see even earlier than audiences found that they appreciated the story and the songs and located the present each affecting and clever.

The Broadway revival opened in October and is scheduled to finish its run on July 7. It is a ardour venture for its director, Maria Friedman, a British theater artist who’s steeped in Sondheim’s oeuvre and who has spent many years refining her tackle the present. In 1992, she performed the feminine lead in a small manufacturing, and since then she has directed it seven instances (3 times in England, as soon as in Japan and 3 times within the United States).

“Merrily” has additionally benefited from a tragedy of timing: The reputation of Sondheim’s work has spiked since his dying in 2021.

Reviewing the revival for The New York Times, the chief theater critic, Jesse Green, praised the manufacturing, writing, “After 42 years within the wilderness and the dying of Sondheim in 2021, ‘Merrily’ is now not misplaced. Maria Friedman’s unsparing route and a thrillingly fierce central efficiency by Jonathan Groff have given the present the exhausting shell it lacked. Now heartbreaking within the poignant sense solely, ‘Merrily’ has been discovered at nighttime.”

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