Krystal Joy Brown shines in Broadway's 'Merrily We Roll Along'

Sandy Kenyon Image
Monday, October 23, 2023
Krystal Joy Brown shines in Broadway's 'Merrily We Roll Along'
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Sandy Kenyon has more on Stephen Sondheim's musical featuring Krystal Joy Brown.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A milestone in the career of Stephen Sondheim came Sunday night almost two years after the composer's death.

The final show he worked on: "Here We Are" opened off-Broadway at The Shed in Hudson Yards.

Meanwhile, one of Sondheim's few flops, Merrily We Roll Along" is playing to packed houses on Broadway after critics urged theatergoers not to miss it.

One of the best moments in this job for me came when I was surprised and delighted by a show I didn't know much about and didn't really care to see.

I'm not a huge Sondheim fan, because I prefer more traditional show tunes, but I went to see this one to watch Krystal Joy Brown, who is prominently featured alongside the stars as "Gussie Carnegie."

The time has come for this musical more than 40 years after "Merrily We Roll Along" flopped on Broadway.

"I think this is the right time, the right place, and the right people for this production," Brown said.

Brown plays a Broadway star who marries Jonathan Groff's character, "Frank," a composer who writes musicals with a pal, played by Daniel Radcliffe. Both are friends with a critic portrayed by Lindsay Mendez.

The show examines how life changes all of them by telling their story backward.

"We actually start when everyone is in their 40's and we go back to when everyone is in their 20's," Brown said.

What seemed so confusing originally has now been made more clear.

"It's really been a piece of art that breathes and moves and changes," she said.

Brown is killing it every night.

Living the words of "Good Thing Going," inspired by those who have come before her.

Lena Horne and Eartha Kitt are on the walls of her dressing room alongside other powerful females.

"It's nice to come in and just kind of draw inspiration from these women. They really had to forge their own path, and being a woman in entertainment has always been hard, but especially then, and then on top of that being a Black woman. That is an extra I think challenge of fortitude," Brown said.

Here performer and part become one. Brown is living proof of the words she sings every night.

"Growing up means admitting the things you want the most," she sang.

"Allowing yourself to dream is something I feel, like, has taken me far, and I hope can continue to take me even further," she said.

Brown and the rest of the cast get so much love from theatergoers. Some have tears in their eyes at the end. Brown thinks that's because the show resonates with people in such a deep way. I know it did with me.

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