Jenna Russell, Mark Umbers and Damian Humbley will star as Mary Flynn, Franklin Shepard and Charlie Kringas, respectively, in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Merrily We Roll Along. Directed by Maria Friedman, the musical will run at the London venue from November 16 through February 23. Opening night is set for November 28.
Merrily We Roll Along has grown in reputation since its unsuccessful 1981 Broadway debut production, which ran for only 16 performances. Moving backwards in time from 1980 to 1955, the show examines the lives of three writers whose friendship is tested by time, events, ambition and fate. Popular songs include “Not A Day Goes By,” “Good Thing Going,” and “Old Friends.” Merrily first premiered in the U.K. in 1992 at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester and starred Friedman as Mary Flynn. The production only ran three weeks. In 2000, Donmar Warehouse produced a revival directed by Michael Grandage which ran for 71 performances and won Olivier Awards for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best New Musical.
In addition to Russell, Umbers and Humbley, the production will co-star Clare Foster as Beth, Josefina Gabrielle as Gussie Carnegie, Glyn Kerslake as Joe Josephson and Zizi Strallen as Meg. The ensemble will feature Matthew Barrow, Martin Callaghan, Amanda Minihan, Amy Ellen Richardson and Robbie Scotcher.
Russell received an Olivier Award and a Tony nomination for her role as Dot in Sunday in the Park with George. Her other notable credits include Guys and Dolls, As You Like It and The Three Sisters. Umbers’ has appeared in Sweet Charity, My Fair Lady, The Browning Version and the BBC’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. Humbley starred in Menier’s productions of The Last Five Years and Little Shop of Horrors.
Merrily We Roll Along will feature choreography by Tim Jackson, musical supervision and direction by Catherine Jayes, set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by David Hersey and sound design by Gareth Owen. Long-time Sondheim collaborator Jonathan Tunick will provide the orchestrations.