Broadway | ‘Last Five Years’ makes it to Great White Way, ‘Merrily’ revival filmed and more

The Last Five Years stars Adrienne Warren and Nick Jonas
Adrienne Warren and Nick Joans will star in the Broadway production of “The Last Five Years.”
Photo by Norman Jean Roy/provided

Jason Robert Brown’s two-hander musical “The Last Five Years” has never played Broadway – until now.

Hours before the Tony Awards, it was announced that Nick Jonas (who appeared on Broadway as a child in “Les Miz” and “Beauty and the Beast”) and Adrienne Warren (“Tina”) will lead the first Broadway production, which will receive a limited run in the spring, with direction by Whitney White (“Jaja’s African Hair Braiding”).

“The Last Five Years” received countless regional and amateur productions since its 2002 Off-Broadway premiere (including a number of digital productions during the pandemic shutdown), as well as a well-received film version.

‘Merrily’ revival filmed for future release

The Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of “Merrily We Roll Along,” which will end its limited run on July 7 (rather than recast the roles currently played by Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe, and Lindsay Mendez), was professionally filmed last week – though it is currently unclear when and where the recording will be released.

Four years passed between the filming of “Hamilton,” with its original cast, and its release on Disney Plus. Interestingly, Maria Friedman’s revival of “Merrily” was previously filmed during its original incarnation in London a decade ago and screened in movie theatres in the U.S. (and can be easily found today on YouTube).

Random Sondheim belongings sell for big bucks at auction

Hundreds of items from composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s personal collection were publicly sold last week by the auctioning company Doyle, raising more than $1.5 million from bidders.

The 454 lots up for sale ranged from a gold record for the original cast album of “West Side Story” ($28,800) and a signed musical quotation from “Into the Woods” ($25,600) to a collection of thesauruses ($25,600) and antique Blackwing pencils ($6,400).  

“The audience was largely made up of Mr. Sondheim’s die-hard fans, who had been following the auction closely for weeks, who had come to the exhibition and had really gotten to know all of the different items, and who were ready to bid voraciously for a keepsake of this hero of theirs,” Doyle senior vice president Peter Costanzo told Slate in an interview.

Redmayne’s Tony performance shook viewers

Eddie Redmayne’s haunting Tony Awards ceremony performance of “Willkommen Bienvenue” from Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club continues to generate buzz.Photo by Marc Brenner/provided

The most memorable and viral moment of this year’s Tony Awards appears to have been Eddie Redmayne’s creepy-crawly, physically and vocally contorted, divisive interpretation of the Emcee during the performance of the opening number “Willkommen” by the cast of the Broadway revival of “Cabaret,” which left a large number of television viewers bewildered.

“It was Gollum doing his recital at his kindergarten graduation,” declared the Daily Beast. “It’s something every parent wants to shield their child from,” opined Vulture.

“Eddie Redmayne in ‘Cabaret’ is my new sleep paralysis demon,” tweeted Spencer Althouse of BuzzFeed.

Tunick to conduct ‘A Little Night Music’ with Cynthia Erivo

When Jonathan Tunick won the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations last week for “Merrily We Roll Along,” he noted that it was the first time he had won the award for a Sondheim show. Tunick previously won in 1997 for his orchestrations of “Titanic.”

Tunick orchestrated, among countless other shows, all five of the great Sondheim musicals of the 1970s, including “Company, “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Pacific Overtures” and “Sweeney Todd.” A revised set of Tunick’s orchestrations for “A Little Night Music” for a 53-piece orchestra will premiere this week in a four-performance concert production at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.

Tunick will conduct the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. The cast will include Cynthia Erivo (“The Color Purple”), Ruthie Ann Miles (“The King and I”), Ron Raines (“Follies”), Marsha Mason (“The Goodbye Girl”), Shuler Hensley (“The Music Man”), and Susan Graham (numerous Metropolitan Opera credits).