Merrily We Roll Along


Writers: George Furth Stephen Sondheim


Show Information

Based on the Play/Book/Film
George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's 1934 play, Merrily We Roll Along
Number of Acts
First Produced
Comedy, Dark Comedy, Historical/Biographical
Time & Place
Various locations in Los Angeles & New York, 1976-1957
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Musical Staging
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Mostly Male Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes young adult, adult, mature adult, child characters


Based on George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s 1934 play of the same name, Merrily We Roll Along follows the successful career of Broadway composer turned Hollywood producer Franklin Shepard backward in time. Throughout the course of the show, during which time regresses from 1976 to 1957, we learn how Frank accomplished this - with the help of his best friends Charley (who writes the books and lyrics) and Mary (who is a writer in her own right and is always around for support and guidance). The trio of friends are inspired to become big players in American musical theatre and book writing and to “change the world” after witnessing the Russian Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, orbiting the earth on a cold October night. However, over time, Franklin learns what the cost of fame and fortune is, losing and alienating his beloved friends and family along the way and giving up his original dreams for ones with more financial and fewer emotional benefits. Those who began the journey with him do not end up at the end of it with him, and though Franklin has fame, fortune, and success, he ultimately realizes that he has left himself with nothing of any value.

Lead Characters

Merrily We Roll Along guide sections