We got to see Merrily We Roll Along, Sondheim's infamous backwards moving flop, in the movies tonight. I LOVED it. It was incredible to see a show I first saw some 15 years ago at Brandeis in a whole new way. I still have a couple of little quibbles with the book (as a writer, I have an issue with the idea of planting things in the script that only make sense to those who'd seen it already), but overall the show is pretty brilliant.
I will say, that for once, I caught EVERY lyric - even a couple I hadn't heard despite listening to the cast album numerous times. One of my favorites that I'd always heard but never "heard" was during the song "It's a Hit" when Frank and friends are celebrating their new huge hit show. "It's a hit/it's a hit/it's a palpable hit." I've heard the song dozens of times and never made the association with Hamlet and how perfect the lyric is for that moment.
I also love how Sondheim put the reprises of the songs first. When Beth sings "Not a Day Goes By" it's a bitter, sarcastic song filled with anger - though every lyric makes perfect sense in the moment. The "first" time, which comes in the second act, is sung during her wedding to Frank and is filled with love (and, in typical Sondheim style, counterpointed with Mary's disappointed longing).
The cast was fantastic at aging themselves backwards. I loved how Frank's voice got higher pitched and Mary's entire body language became more awkward.
It was just a really special event to get to see this production from the other side of the Atlantic tonight. I can't wait to see what else Fathom events can come up with!