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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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“Merrily We Roll Along:” Broadway’s Biggest Revival

The star-studded cast has brought unseen success to the Broadway show.
Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez star in the “Merrily We Roll Along” Revival.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube CBS Sunday Morning

Currently located at the Hudson Theater is Broadway’s newest hit and revival, “Merrily We Roll Along.” Originally a novel by George Furth, the musical has gone through many phases throughout its history. The novel was adapted into a musical by famous composer and lyricist Steven Sondheim in 1981. With just 16 performances and mostly negative reviews, the show closed after two weeks of being on Broadway. Over 40 years later, “Merrily We Roll Along” has returned with unprecedented success. 

The musical — which re-opened in October 2023 — is a rich story full of love, loss and fame. Most audience members were drawn to the show due to the star-studded cast, with leading roles played by Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez. The three actors have wonderful chemistry, creating an electric environment both on and off the stage. When watching from the audience, the story they portray feels authentic to the actors themselves. 

The plot follows three lifelong friends, Franklin (Frank) Shepheard, Charley Kringas and Mary Flynn. The structure of the show tells the story of the three friends in reverse chronological order over 20 years, each song and scene giving the audience more backstory on how the three friendships became estranged and how they have all changed. The structure provides a unique musical, becoming something many people have never seen before. 

The cast itself is a large contributor to the success of the show. Daniel Radcliffe, most known for his role as Harry Potter in the “Harry Potter” franchise, is a standout on stage. His singing voice may be a surprise to some audience members, considering he is not necessarily trained in musical theater. Radcliffe’s comedic timing and hilarious character resulted in frequent laughs from the audience. 

Broadway and musical theater legends Groff and Mendez shine through in their voices, with each song showing their talents. 

The show specifically focuses on Frank’s evolution, beginning with the height of his fame and success. Everything appears to be just how he wants until it is revealed that he is no longer friends with Charlie, is on the rocks with Mary and has lost contact with his son. The show becomes a bittersweet reflection on the memories they all once shared. “Merrily We Roll Along”’ is an insightful study of human nature and how success can impact one’s life and the people they care about. 

The revival of “Merrily We Roll Along” follows a vastly different path than its predecessor.  In one week, the show grossed $2 million, and by the time the show ends its run, there will be 342 shows performed. 

The trio ended the show with an announcement for the organization Broadway Cares. The organization raises money for individuals battling HIV/AIDS and provides support for actors who are affected by other critical health issues. The cast wishes to support Broadway Cares in raising public awareness of HIV/AIDS and compassion for individuals affected by the disease. 

Overall, “Merrily We Roll Along” is one of a kind. It will make audiences laugh, cry and reflect upon their own lives. Only on Broadway for a limited time, audiences will only be able to see the show until July 7.

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About the Contributor
Celina Mullady
Celina Mullady, Asst. Culture Editor
Celina is a junior history major with a minor in legal studies. Currently, in her second year with The Torch, she is serving as Assistant Culture Editor. Outside of The Torch, she is involved in SGi in the LGBTQ+ committee. In her free time, you can find Celina reading, watching movies, crocheting and listening to her favorite artists, Harry Styles and Phoebe Bridgers. Celina can be reached at [email protected]
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