20-year Merrily We Roll Along film adaptation in development

Paul Mescal

An ambitious movie adaptation of Merrily We Roll Along, filmed over twenty years, is in the works.

Richard Linklater first announced the film of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical in 2019.

In 2023, it was revealed Normal People star Paul Mescal is set to appear as Franklin Shepard, replacing original star Blake Jenner.

He is joined by Ben Platt as Charley and Beanie Feldstein as Mary.

More recently, this year, it was announced Mallory Bechtel had joined the cast in an undisclosed role.

Based on the play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, Merrily We Roll Along tells the story of Broadway composer turned film producer Franklin and his two friends. The show is told in reverse chronology over a period of 20 years, starting in 1976 and working back to the 1950s.

Linklater said: “I first saw, and fell in love with Merrily in the ’80s and I can’t think of a better place to spend the next 20 years than in the world of a Sondheim musical.

“I don’t enter this multi-year experience lightly, but it seems the best, perhaps the only way, to do this story justice on film.”

With the film seemingly many years away from release, for now you can listen to the show’s brand new Broadway cast recording.

Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff & Lindsay Mendez feature on the album having starred in the musical’s first Broadway revival last year.

Maria Friedman directed the revival having previously helmed a production in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013.

The original Broadway production in 1981 closed after just 16 performances and 52 previews.

About the author: Jessica White

Recent University graduate Jessica is the newest writer for Stageberry. She's over the moon to be sharing her theatre knowledge and passion for musicals with the online world.


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