I think most musical theatre fans know that Merrily We Roll Along will be receiving an Encores! production in February 2012. Directed by James LaPine, the show will star Colin Donnell as Frank, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Mary, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Charley, Elizabeth Stanley as Gussie and Betsy Wolfe as Beth.
What is different to other Encores! runs is that this will not be a production of the original version of the show, but of the 1985 revised version of the show, as Stephen Sondheim confirmed on Playbill today:
Under Lapine’s direction, George (Furth) and I revised it, particularly the first half of the first act, in 1985, when Lapine did it at La Jolla [Playhouse], and this is essentially that version. I’m meeting Lapine tonight and it’s one of the things we’re going to talk about: which aspects of which version we’re going to use. It’ll essentially be the 1985 [script and score], which has additional songs, things like that. George and I got it the way we wanted to, finally, in the 1990s when we did it in Leicester, England, and that’s the version that’s been done since. It was the version that was done down at the Kennedy Center in 2002, and that’s based on the Lapine version.
The article mentions the idea of a Broadway transfer in passing and I wonder what would happen then, if the 1990s version of the show is meant to be the “official” version. Will they make the changes to what gets done at Encores!? At any rate, it is nice to see this show get another high profile outing that could lead to a Broadway revival.