Sondheim Actor/Musician: Worn Idea

MerrilyWeRollAlongRegarding my posting yesterday that director John Doyle will be applying his actors-play-instruments approach to Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along,” a LW reader who calls himself Sondheim Aficionado responded: ‘Another Doyle-orama? Though there is solace to be drawn from the fact that Mr. Sondheim’s beautiful stage works will surely live on after him, it is bafflingly short-sighted of the powers-that-be to continue leaning on this formula. Professional loyalties aside, this decision will rob ‘Merrily’ of the breathing room and space it needs to find itself. Randomly clamping the wheezily-worn actor-musician format onto the show does a disservice to Mr. Sondheim’s work. Since the parameters of the concept are so hyper-specific, the material will ultimately have to hew to the concept, and not the other way around. This show, never having been given its due, deserves to be freely explored, not chained to a pre-fab strategy that will produce reductive and self-conscious directorial and musical choices. The actor-musician approach, born originally out of necessity, is now the elephant in the room that noone wants to see. Sad.’

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