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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Ashland University Theatre Department presents ‘Merrily We Roll Along’

Actors are ready to share thought-provoking story 
Ellie Lohr
The Ashland University theatre crew rejoices on stage after a play is completed.

 Ashland University’s Theatre Department has a “Good Thing Going” with their rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Merrily We Roll Along.” 

Performances are Feb. 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre. 

The book was written by George Furth and includes music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. 

Originally based on a play in the 1930s, “Merrily We Roll Along” tells the story of an ambitious group of friends who want to make it big in show business. Told backwards from 1986 to 1957, it’s an emotional journey of a composer and two writers’ changing friendship. The show explores how defining moments, decisions and desires can test comraderies’ strength.  

According to Associate Professor of Theatre and the Director of the production, Teresa Durbin-Ames, the show’s themes of friendship, change and dreams are important for college students to analyze and explore.

Durbin-Ames chose the show because she believes all musical theatre majors should have the chance to work on at least one of his productions in their college careers. While it is a small cast, the music is complex and challenging. 

Junior Leanna Uselton, who plays Gussie Carnegie, is a big Sondheim fan. She mentioned that the way he writes sounds similar but has subtle changes throughout. There are minor nuances in his lyrics, rhythms and harmonies, which can be difficult to distinguish on top of the stacked vocal parts. 

“His music is a lot like problem-solving,” Uselton said, “He was a very big puzzle dude and so you kind of hear it in his music.” 

The protagonist, Franklin Shepard, is played by senior Tobin Grendyzski. He’s proud of the work everyone has put in and is excited for people to see the production.  

After the curtains close, both Uselton and Grendyzski hope audience members will reach out to some old friends to relive old memories and reconnect.   

Grendyzski stated, “If you keep asking yourself how’d you get to be here, are you going to regret what you did? Will you live with those regrets, and will you grow as a person and say, ‘Yes I regret them, but I learned?’”  

No tickets will be offered at the door, but they are available for purchase at the AU Campus Store or online. 

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