Merrily We Roll Along (Recording)

Louise Gold starred as Gussie, on the Leicester Haymarket Cast album recording, recorded on 28, 29 and 30 April 1993 at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Catalogue number: (Double CD) CDJAY2 1245, (Single CD) CDTER 1225, (Cassette) ZCTER 1225

 

Cast

 Mary - Maria Freidman

Frank Sheppard - Michael Cantwell

Gussie - Louise Gold

Charley - Evan Pappas

Joe - Gareth Snook

Beth - Jacqueline Dankworth

Waitress & Evelyn - Julie Armstrong

Terry & Minister - Jon Clairmonte

Meg - Lucy Dixon

K.T. - Kate Copstick

Ru - Phillip Day

Mrs Spencer - Michelle Fine

Bunker - Daniel Gillingwater

Make-up Artiste & Reporter - Deirdre Forrest

Scotty & Mr Spencer - Matthew White

Dory - Dwan Kastelle

Jerome - Phillip Wrigley

Dresser & Secretary - Karen Skinns

Tyler - Alan Mosley

Frank Jnr - Scott Bradley, Dominic Burr, Matthew Fraser

Party Guests, reporters, TV crew etc - played by members of the company.

 

Production Team

 Music and Lyrics - Stephen Sondheim

Book - George Furth

Based on the original play by George S Kaufman and Moss Hart.

Directed and Staged by - Paul Kerryson

Designed by - Martin Johns

Orchestrations by - Jonathan Tunick

Musical Direction by - Julian Kelly

Executive Producer - John Yap for JAY/TER records

Recording and mixing engineer - John Kurlander

 

Track Listing

Double CD: CDJAY2 1245

 

CD1/Act One

1. Overture  - Orchestra [2’38’]

2. Merrily We Roll Along - Company (The Cast) [3’50’]

3. That Frank - Company (The Cast) [5’34’]

4. Scene - Gussie with Company (Louise Gold with The Cast) [0’31’]

5. Transition 1 - Company (The Cast) [1’13’]

6. Old Friends/Like It Was - Mary and Charley (Maria Friedman and Evan Pappas) [4’08’]

7. Franklin Sheppard Inc. - Charley (Evan Pappas) [5’49’]

8. Transition 2 - Company (The Cast) [0’50’]

9. Old Friends - Frank, Charley, and, Mary (Michael Cantwell, Evan Pappas, and, Maria Friedman) [4’05’]

10. Growing Up Part One - Frank with Gussie (Michael Cantwell with Louise Gold) [3’59’]

11. Growing Up part Two - Gussie (Louise Gold) [2’59’]

12. Transition 3 - Company (The Cast) [0’57’]

13. Not A Day Goes By Act One - Frank and Beth (Michael Cantwell and Jacqueline Dankworth) [2’15’]

14. Now you Know - Scotty, Mary, Tyler, Frank, and Company (Matthew White, Maria Friedman, Alan Mosley, Michael Cantwell, and The Cast) [4’25’]

 

 

 

CD2/Act Two

1.  Entra’acte - Orchestra [1’31]

2. Act Two Opening (Good Thing Going) - Gussie (Louise Gold) [2’00’]

3. It’s A Hit! - Frank, Charley, Mary, Joe, Beth, Theatregoers (Michael Cantwell, Evan Pappas, Maria Friedman, Gareth Snook, Jacqueline Dankworth, and the chorus) [4’05]

4. Transition 4 - Company (The Cast) [0’54’]

5. The Blob - Gussie and Guests (Louise Gold and The Company) [2’35’]

6. Growing Up Act Two - Gussie and Frank (Louise Gold and Michael Cantwell) [3’06’]

7. Good Thing Going - Charley and Frank (Evan Pappas and Michael Cantwell) [2’21’]

8. The Blob Conclusion - Company (The Cast) [1’39]

9. Transition 5 - Company (The Cast) [1’03’]

10. Bobby And Jackie And Jack - Charley, Frank, and, Mary (Evan Pappas, Michael Cantwell, and, Maria Friedman) [4’44’]

11. Not A Day Goes By Act Two - Frank, Beth, and, Mary (Michael Cantwell, Jacqueline Dankworth, and, Maria Friedman) [2’19’]

12. Transition 6 - Company (The Cast) [0’35’]

13. Opening Doors - Charley, Frank, Mary, and, Joe (Evan Pappas, Michael Cantwell, Maria Friedman, and, Gareth Snook) [7’13’]

14. Our Time Part One - Frank (Michael Cantwell) [3’59’]

15. Our Time Part Two - Frank, Charley, Mary, and Company (Michael Cantwell, Evan Pappas, Maria Friedman, and, The Cast) [3’41’]

16. Bows - Company (The Cast) [1’33’]

17. Exit Music - Company (The Cast) [1’44’]

 

 

 

Single CD: CDTER1225

 

1. Overture  - Orchestra [2’38’]

2. Merrily We Roll Along - Company (The Cast) [3’46’]

3. That Frank - Company (The Cast) [3’42’]

4. Transition 1 - Company (The Cast) [1’13’]

5. Old Friends/Like It Was - Mary and Charley (Maria Friedman and Evan Pappas) [3’21’]

6. Franklin Sheppard Inc. - Charley (Evan Pappas) [5’12’]

7. Transition 2 - Company (The Cast) [0’52’]

8. Old Friends - Frank, Charley, and, Mary (Michael Cantwell, Evan Pappas, and, Maria Friedman) [3’53’]

9. Growing Up Part One - Frank (Michael Cantwell) [3’34’]

10. Growing Up part Two - Gussie (Louise Gold) [2’46’]

11. Transition 3 - Company (The Cast) [0’47’]

12. Not A Day Goes By Act One - Frank and Beth (Michael Cantwell and Jacqueline Dankworth) [1’45’]

13. Now you Know - Scotty, Mary, Tyler, Frank, and Company (Matthew White, Maria Friedman, Alan Mosley, Michael Cantwell, and The Cast) [4’07’]

14.  Entra’acte - Orchestra [1’31]

15. Act Two Opening (Good Thing Going) - Gussie (Louise Gold) [2’00’]

16. It’s A Hit! - Frank, Charley, Mary, Joe, Beth, Theatregoers (Michael Cantwell, Evan Pappas, Maria Friedman, Gareth Snook, Jacqueline Dankworth, and the chorus) [4’05]

17. Transition 4 - Company (The Cast) [0’54’]

18. The Blob - Gussie and Guests (Louise Gold and The Company) [1’48’]

19. Growing Up Act Two - Gussie and Frank (Louise Gold and Michael Cantwell) [2’53’]

20. Good Thing Going - Charley and Frank (Evan Pappas and Michael Cantwell) [1’52’]

21. The Blob Conclusion - Company (The Cast) [1’32]

22. Transition 5 - Company (The Cast) [0’45’]

23. Bobby And Jackie And Jack - Charley, Frank, and, Beth (Evan Pappas, Michael Cantwell, and, Jacqueline Dankworth) [4’44’]

24. Not A Day Goes By Act Two - Frank, Beth, and, Mary (Michael Cantwell, Jacqueline Dankworth, and, Maria Friedman) [2’00’]

25. Transition 6 - Company (The Cast) [0’35’]

26. Opening Doors - Charley, Frank, Mary, and, Joe (Evan Pappas, Michael Cantwell, Maria Friedman, and, Gareth Snook) [7’13’]

27. Our Time (Parts One & Two) - Frank, Charley, Mary, and Company (Michael Cantwell, Evan Pappas, Maria Friedman, and, The Cast) [5’25’]

 

 

The Cassette ZCTER, follows the same listing as the Single CD CDTER1245, with tracks 1 to 14 on Side A, and tracks 15 to 27 on Side B.

 

According to the sleeve notes the only additional items included on Double CD: CDJAY2 1245 that are not on Single CD CDTER1245 are: the scene at the party where Gussie attacks Meg and tells Frank they are finished, Michael Cantwell’s Our Time solo, and the Bows and Exit Music at the very end. However, in actual fact, there is also around a further 7 minutes on the double CD that is not on the single CD. This has been arrived at by cutting the lengths of various tracks on the single CD. Although the sleeve notes give the track lengths on the single CD as being the same as the double CD this is in fact not the case. For example, on the track Growing Up part one, the dialog scene between Michael Cantwell and Louise Gold (when Gussie announces that she has “done it” - left Joe) is omitted from the single CD version, as is the spoken dialogue by both Louise Gold and Michael Cantwell on the track Growing Up part two. Although the sleeve notes for the single CD still list Louise Gold’s Gussie as featured on the Growing Up part one track, her part on that track is omitted altogether from the single CD version. Similarly on the track where Evan Pappas and Michael Cantwell sing Good Thing Going, part of Louise Gold’s introductory dialogue, involving the line “You are going to be able to say “I was there when...” is cut.” . It should also be mentioned that on the single CD the two parts of the number Our Time are merged and cut. In the track listing above an attempt has been made to give the actual lengths of the tracks on the single CD (which in around half the cases are not those stated on the sleeve notes).

 

It is perhaps worth noting that in Merrily We Roll Along, Gareth Snook’s character, Joe is that of a producer of Broadway Musicals. It turns out that in the same year that he played Joe in MWRA, Gareth Snook (along with the Queen of West End Musical Directors, Kate Young) produced a charity production of The Hired Man at The Palace Theatre in London, he also worked as a producer on a production of The King Of Comedy.

Michael Cantwell, Louise Gold, Gareth Snook and Michelle Fine would be reunited later that year in another Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins

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Maria Friedman and Louise Gold had previously appeared together in: Kids At Heart, they have gone on to appear together in A Time To Start Living, and, Sondheim At The Barbican. They also appeared separately in Chicago & Company, and may have appeared together in Will-Aid

Louise Gold and Michelle Fine were also reunited on the JAY/TER recording of Stop The World I Want To Get Off.

Louise Gold and Gareth Snook later appeared on the JAY/TER recording of On The Town and Anything Goes (recording) - Website Recommended Album.

Michael Cantwell, Louise Gold and Daniel Gillingwater were reunited several years later in One Touch Of Venus.

Louise Gold returned to The Leicester Haymarket theatre two and a half years later to head the cast (which included Alan Mosley) in Calamity Jane.

Louise Gold, Maria Friedman, Jacqueline Dankworth, Michael Cantwell, Kate Copstick, Lucy Dixon, and, Gareth Snook subsequently appeared on the JAY/TER recording of Cabaret .

Maria Friedman is also featured on The History Of The Musical

John Kurlander was also the engineer on Nunsense (recording)

Julian Kelly was also the conductor on some of the tracks on Simply Musicals, The Great Musicals - Wonderful Tales, The Great Musicals – Dashing Heroes, Blushing Maidens, and, The Best Of The Musicals.

Louise Gold under the direction of Paul Kerryson and the musical direction of Julian Kelly went on to appear in the Sondheim musical Follies

Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick’s own conducting can be found on The Greatest Musicals of the 20th Century.

Lucy Dixon, and, Michelle Fine may have gone on to appear in Dear Ralph.

Jacqueline Dankworth, Maria Friedman, and, Louise Gold’s recording credits include Centre Stage Showtime!, and, The Great Musicals - From Broadway to Hollywood.

Michael Cantwell, and, Louise Gold went on to appear in Mary Poppins, and as part of The Company Of Mary Poppins in a late night FUNdraising special.

Jacqueline Dankworth’s recording credits include The Great Musicals – Laughter And Tears.

Jacqueline Dankworth’s recording credits also include Magic Of The Musicals, on which Julian Kelly’s conducting can also be found.

Gareth Snook, Jacqueline Dankworth, Evan Pappas, and, Deidre Forrest may have previously taken part in Thing A Thon, which Maria Friedman was involved with.

Jacqueline Dankworth, Maria Friedman, and, Julian Kelly’s recording credits include 100 Hits Musicals.

Louise Gold, and, Jacqueline Dankworth’s recording credits include Let’s Go On With The Show – Hit Songs From The West End & Broadway.

Stephen Sondheim of course also wrote the lyrics for Gypsy.

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Review

by Emma Shane

 

This is one of those Sondheim albums where you either love it, or you hate it, and for those of us who love it, it has often been a case of having grown to love it, once one has got accustomed to it. For me this is best illustrated by my own reaction to the song Good Thing Going. The first time I heard Good Thing Going as sung by Louise Gold on the track Act Two Opening, I hated it. The second time I heard it, thought (to borrow a stock phrase from The Muppet Show) “Well it wasn’t that bad”. The third time I heard it, I could appreciate that the song, and in particular Ms Gold’s interpretation of it was very clever, even though it was not to my taste. The fourth time I heard the song (to borrow a phrase from Statler and Waldorf) “I kinda liked it”. And by the time I had heard it five times, I had come right round to admiring and liking the song very much indeed, and to thinking it is one of the most effective pieces of sheer ‘performance’ on the entire CD. The truth of the matter is Stephen Sondheim is such an extraordinary subtle sophisticated song writer, and similarly Louise Gold is such an extraordinary subtle sophisticated singer that sometimes it can take a while for a listener to acquire the insight and understanding, necessary to appreciate the ingenious complex artistry of an individual piece of their work, especially when their incredible talents are combined.

Not all the interpretations on the album, are quite as complicated as that. The three ladies in particular each have their own moment at expressing sweet sincerity combined with potent frustration: Jacqueline Dankworth with the powerful Not A Day Goes By. Maria Friedman does an incredible job with Like It Was sounding as if she really does want it the way that it was, and who, after all hasn’t sometimes felt such a longing. While Louise Gold’s Gussie shows an unexpectedly tender side and sweet voice singing Growing Up, which, besides being a wonderfully deep and meaningful song in its own right, is one of the most beautifully sung pieces on this recording.

There is much more to this album, though, than moving lyricalness, Stephen Sondheim is one of those very versatile songwriters, capable of writing many different sorts of songs, and this album also abounds with some really good, though sometimes quite dark, comedy numbers, such as: That Frank, Franklin Shepard Inc, Now You Know, It’s A Hit, The Blob, Opening Doors, and one of my favourites Bobby And Jackie And Jack. All of these seven stand out in their own individual ways. That Frank is basically a hilarious envious riot about a ‘successful’ man. Sondheim describes the same character in a much more sophisticated manner in Franklin Shepard Inc. Brilliantly performed by Evan Pappas (it would be hard to find anyone who could equal that performance of the song) it is a great number about the frustrations of trying to work in partnership with an entrepreneur who is always on the go with other projects. There is also an amount of sophistication in Opening Doors, although mainly a hopeful song about young people setting out to make their way in the world, they do encounter problems and do not necessarily overcome them. Similarly Its A Hit, although a cheerful upbeat number celebrating a successful opening night, also reminds us of the down side to show business failure. It is put across by Michael Cantwell, Evan Pappas, Maria Friedman, Gareth Snook, Jacqueline Dankworth and the company with much heartfelt feeling. Darker humour can also be found in the deceptively upbeat Now You Know. The tune is upbeat, and this is basically a song about making a fresh start and moving on in life after a trauma (such as divorce). New York’s in set is wickedly portrayed in The Blob. Sondheim is possibly one of the greatest satirical writers to grace the America musical theatre stage, and this number is performed by one of Britain’s finest political satire performers, Louise Gold, here making some brave efforts at fast tempo singing. More political satire can be found in Bobby And Jackie And Jack, sung with great enthusiasm by the moderately good Michael Cantwell, the excellent Evan Pappas and the marvellous Maria Friedman. On the surface the song seems to be just a jolly romp about Richard Nixon loosing a presidential election to the Kennedy clan. But on closer inspection the song turns out to be a political satire about the Kennedy’s, and a great introduction into learning who was who among them all, and in some ways might even be seen as a sort of anthem to them (well if you enjoy political satire it might). It’s also noticeable on this particular track that Maria Friedman does a good job with voices.

Clearly it is quite an album, especially if you admire the sophisticated satire of Sondheim’s lyrics, and want to hear them performed by sophisticated talented performers. That said, some people may prefer to hear even Sondheim’s satire sung more directly, than some of the artistes on this album do it. Louise Gold is a particularly good example here, of a performer who’s clever interpretations of Sondheim’s highly intelligent work, may be too subtle and sophisticated for some listeners. It is also the case that when listening to the album one may need to persevere for a while, you will not necessarily ‘get it’ the first time, or even the second or third time. That said, if you admire the kind of performers who appear on this album, especially either: Maria Friedman, Louise Gold, or Evan Pappas, then it is certainly an album well worth getting, because they have some terrific material to display their talents with.

This leaves one with the important question, when considering the CD, of whether it is worth getting the Double CD or if the Single will suffice. By and large the single CD does give a very good summary of recording, and of all the great performances. Of the four tracks that are cut completely I think that 3 of them one can certainly do without. The only one which I really miss on the single CD is the half a minute scene from the party, where Gussie tells Frank they are finished. If one of your main reasons for choosing this CD is that you are a fan of Louise Gold’s, then this scene makes the double CD something of a must, as she has a superb half a minute displaying her dramatic acting skills as Gussie gets her revenge on Meg, and Frank. Then there is the matter of the 7 minutes made up of cuts from various tracks, most of these are dialog bits, and the songs are certainly listenable and understandable without them. However, this is a cast album recording of songs from an actual show, made by a group of actors who were actually in the production, and personally I think the dialog excerpts help to give one an idea of what it must have been like to see them perform this show. In addition some of these actors, such as Evan Pappas, Michael Cantwell, and Louise Gold, really do speak good dialog rather well, with much feeling, so it is a shame not to hear them do so. Therefore although the single CD is certainly satisfactory in giving a good summary and flavour of the show, it is much more than a mere “highlights” album; if you can afford it, then the double CD is just that bit better and well worth having; especially if you are a fan of either Louise Gold or Michael Cantwell, in particular. But the single version is certainly better than not buying it at all.

 

Critics Comments

  “The off-Broadway cast recording (Varese-Sarabande) has immense clarity and authentic American accents, something distinctly lacking in the Leicester Haymarket recording (TER), aside from the excellent Evan Pappas and a sparky Louise Gold. Still the Leicester actors make up for that in sheer guts, giving this recording an edge on its rival.” David Benedict, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, July 1996, pages 50 to 53 (Article titled: Building A Library: Musical Theatre Works Of Stephen Sondheim).

 "Well mostly Louise Gold sings the hell out of  ‘Good Thing Going’ as Gussie in Merrily doing the stage version of ‘Good Thing Going’, which is mostly not a good thing, but it is very very funny, as you see this nice sensitive song sung at the piano by these two guys becoming anything but sensitive in her approach to it" Gordon Carruthers (Castrecal List Member)

 

Links about Merrily We Roll Along (Recording)

 JAY Records page for this recording: http://www.jayrecords.com/jay/site/pages/recordings/merrilyweroll/recording.htm

Eur.Com Musicals listing for this recording: http://www.eur.com/musicals/rec.cfm?TNumber=407&RNumber=1496

 Sondheim Guide page for Merrily We Roll Along: http://www.geocities.com/sondheimguide/merrily.html

About Maria page for Merrily We Roll Along: http://www.aboutmaria.com/merrilywerollalong.html

Cast Album.org database’s entry for this album: http://www.castalbums.org/recordings/1624

Hit That CD’s review including one for this album: http://www.germanbooks88.com/music61/hit_that_cd_single_import.html

FYE.com’s page for the album: http://www.fye.com/Merrily-We-Roll-Along--1992-Leicester-Haymarket-Theatre-Cast---Complete--Front-Page_stcVVproductId1083858VVcatId455366VVviewprod.htm

 

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