//Ad libs: Good thing going

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Good thing going

If I'd known they were going to change shows, I would have worn earrings.

I'm thrilled to hear that TheatreWorks is replacing its last show of the season, trading in Sondheim's "Follies" (for budget reasons, I hear) for his "Merrily We Roll Along," which will open next April.

"Merrily" is just about my favorite show, an intricate work with rich, emotional music and themes. It doesn't get done nearly enough.

The story of three friends rolls backwards in time, granting unique insight into the ways youthful aspirations -- and love -- harden over the years. So much can get lost along the way, and this is reflected in the music. "Good Thing Going," for instance, starts out as a poignant ballad. But in the search for a Broadway hit it gets vamped into a blaring blast of a song. Very sneaky how it happens.

Two years ago, I played Beth, the innocent young singer-turned wronged wife, in a production of "Merrily" in Sunnyvale, and she's still my favorite role. (I even enjoyed having the evil Gussie throw a drink on me every night -- it was worth it to get to sing "Not A Day Goes By.")

This "Merrily" is a revival for TheatreWorks, and frankly (oh, terrible pun), I'm eager to see what they do with it.

Pictured: The CD cover from the 1994 Off-Broadway revival cast of "Merrily"