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Paul Mescal to star in Merrily We Roll Along film

From Williams to Sondheim!

Paul Mescal
© Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Normal People, After Sun and A Streetcar Named Desire star Paul Mescal is reportedly set to star in the multi-decade version of Merrily We Roll Along.

Mescal, who is currently starring in Rebecca Frecknall's production of Streetcar at the Almeida Theatre in London (with press night later this week), will replace Blake Jenner in the movie musical, based on the legendary story-in-reverse show by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth.

Richard Linklater directs the flick, which will also star Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen, Parade) and Beanie Feldstein.

An Off-Broadway production with Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez is currently wowing audiences and critics in a sell-out New York run (the show will transfer to Broadway later this year).

Merrily We Roll Along follows talented Broadway composer Franklin Shepard (played by Mescal), who leaves his career to go and produce films in Hollywood. It is based on the 1934 play of the same name and had a rocky beginning on Broadway, running for 44 previews and 16 performances when it first premiered in 1981.

It has gone on to become one of the most popular works in the Sondheim repertory. The musical is based on the play by Kaufman and Hart.

The musical is set in reverse-chronological order – director Richard Linklater will be shooting now and finishing in two decades time, and then reversing the footage to show the cast literally de-ageing. The award-winning director did something similar with his hit film Boyhood.

It received its West End premiere in 2000, with a revival staged at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2012.

A release date for the flm is to be announced, but we'll keep you posted in about 20 years time.

For those who weren't aware of Mescal's musical chops, the actor appeared in a school version of Phantom – it's well worth a listen.