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      Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

      Released Nov 18, 2016 1h 37m Documentary TRAILER for Best Worst Thing That Could Have Ever Happened: Trailer 1 List Best Worst Thing That Could Have Ever Happened: Trailer 1 Best Worst Thing That Could Have Ever Happened: Trailer 1 2:26 View more videos
      95% Tomatometer 21 Reviews 78% Audience Score 250+ Ratings Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" opened in November 1981 to scathing reviews and closed after just 16 performances. Despite its inauspicious beginnings, the musical's score has grown to become one of the composer's most beloved. Archival footage of the rehearsals along with interviews with the cast -- as well as Sondheim himself and director Harold Prince -- tell the tale of this infamous production. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (21) Critics Reviews
      Richard Brody New Yorker Price's film is a fascinating and moving combination of a backstage musical documentary and a first-person story of youthful dreams and long, knocked-around life arcs. Mar 27, 2020 Full Review J. R. Jones Chicago Reader More impressively, Price has incorporated the retrospective theme into his documentary with a second act in which the performers reveal the different directions life has taken them since they appeared in the show. Mar 31, 2017 Full Review Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune If you have any Broadway or Sondheim or show business in your bloodstream, you should go. Rated: 3.5/4 Jan 12, 2017 Full Review David Reddish Queerty In other words, The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened essentially is Merrily We Roll Along, executed with success. Rated: 4/4 Mar 20, 2022 Full Review Steven Prokopy Third Coast Review Fans of the theater and musicals will rejoice at the level of access and depth of emotion that the film gives us. And it's a crazy, often surprising story on top of that, so lovers of drama should be satisfied as well. May 1, 2020 Full Review Michael D. Reid Victoria Times Colonist (B.C., Canada) If you're a musical-theatre geek who once listened endlessly to Stephen Sondheim showtunes while gazing at framed playbills on your bedroom wall, this is the movie for you. Rated: 4/5 Feb 6, 2017 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member Art reflects life reflects art and back again. A look at the lives and careers of the youthful cast of Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along," a show that chronicled the career of a musical composer turned Hollywood producer. A sometimes inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking must for anyone whose had, almost had or plans to have a career in the performing arts. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member Required viewing for musical theatre fans Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/30/23 Full Review Audience Member I was in the orchestra for this wonderful musical. I was 27 at the time so I was the old guy. Lonny did a wonderful job capturing the excitement surrounding the piece. This was not the formula stuff that was most often found on Broadway. A with most of Sondheim's work it was new and daring. Although it is played as an underscore in much of the movie, what was not mentioned was that this show had IMHO, one of greatest overtures in Broadway history (by one of the greatest orchestrators ever - Jonathan Tunic). I will never forget the day Jonathan brought in the overture and that amazing orchestra just ripped through it on the 1st reading while Maestro Sondheim listened. The tune "Good Thing Going" was given to the tuba as a solo and Sondheim just looked at Tunic and smiled. I'll never forget that look as long as I live. I was a trumpet player. My life was jingles, followed by recording dates followed by a Broadway show at night. I can't say I know anything about Broadway but I innately knew that I was a part of something special and bigger than myself. Oh and Lonny, we also worked on "Baby" together with the great Liz Callaway. Lonny, you done good! This was a film that should have been made about a show that history as shown was a brilliant work by one of the greatest composers ever. Thank you! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/07/23 Full Review glenn g COMPANY LOVES MISERY - My Review of BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED (3 Stars) In 1981, Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince, both Broadway legends, launched a musical called MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, and it closed after a mere 16 performances, making it the rare and unexpected flop in their respective careers. Told in reverse chronology, the show starred a group of young actors playing middle aged characters at the start who appear younger and more innocent as the story unfolds, ending on a more refreshing note than how it began. This conceit ingeniously carries over into the documentary by original cast member Lonny Price as he has his fellow actors looking further and further back at their memories until we're left with that short period where they felt like the world was their oyster. For musical theatre geeks, this film will be catnip to them. Some of the original cast have gone on to enormous success, most notably Jason Alexander, but most did not. BEST WORST THING operates in that bittersweet spot where people persevere despite having their dreams crushed. I wasn't familiar with the musical, but what I heard in the film sounds VERY, VERY 1970s white. There's a person of color in the cast, but she's given very short shrift. This is the story of a bunch of white theatre kids who couldn't believe their luck when an open call went out to star in an original musical by two of the genre's greats. Luckily there was much footage of the audition and rehearsal process, and the cast's excitement is palpable. We're even treated to an audio snippet in which Sondheim and Prince attended an actor's birthday party and played a new song for the group. Watching this, I suddenly found the urge to pack my bags, put $15 in my pocket, and hoof it out to the Great White Way singing "God I hope I get it!" the entire way. Although MERRILY has since been revived all over the world to considerable acclaim and box office success, the initial run came as an extreme disappointment to this group of hopefuls. Price unearths an interview he gave when originally cast and he says that even if he never works again after this run, he will have fulfilled his dream of starring on Broadway. That's tough to watch knowing how everything went down, and despite some positive attitudes, at times the cast have very real, very harsh things to say about the fact that talent doesn't always rise to the top. Even Jason Alexander has wistful thoughts about what might have been, yet I'm truly hoping his SEINFELD money gets him over that hump! BEST WORST THING has its share of problems. It's not particularly well made and often comes across as a puff piece. Both Sondheim and Prince graciously agreed to interviews and are seen developing the show in the archival footage. It's a treat alone to witness their creative process as they try to make the unique structure of the show work. Still, we never quite get a full understanding of why the two never worked together again. Sure, it may have been for financial reasons or embarrassment that things didn't go as planned, but nobody really wants to spill the dirt in this film. It also goes on too long, feeling much longer than its relatively brief 95 minute running time. Yet, I still cried as the movie kept moving backwards to that great, wide-eyed time where anything and everything could happen. The details here matter. When Prices talks about stopping at every crosswalk in New York City for fear of getting run over before the show opens, I could feel the buzz of excitement. For him, nothing was ever as important as this one, brief moment of glory. The fact that things went south, this film seems to want to say, doesn't matter as much as the fact that for a brief, shining moment, things simply WENT. This flawed, overlong documentary looks at the good and the bad, forcing a group of naive kids to grow up fast, and leaving the rest of us shattered but smiling. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member A feel-good documentary with some interesting insights into the fate of the both the show and company of the Sondheim flop. I wish it had a broader breadth and depth (more actors, more followup with James Weissenbach, etc), but what's here is worth watching. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/23/23 Full Review Audience Member STELLAR. EACH MINUTE IS BETTER THAN THE PREVIOUS MINUTE. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/29/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" opened in November 1981 to scathing reviews and closed after just 16 performances. Despite its inauspicious beginnings, the musical's score has grown to become one of the composer's most beloved. Archival footage of the rehearsals along with interviews with the cast -- as well as Sondheim himself and director Harold Prince -- tell the tale of this infamous production.
      Director
      Lonny Price
      Producer
      Lonny Price, Bruce David Klein, Kitt Lavoie, Ted Schillinger
      Screenwriter
      Lonny Price, Kitt Lavoie, Ted Schillinger
      Distributor
      Abramorama
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Nov 18, 2016, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Mar 18, 2017
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $104.0K
      Runtime
      1h 37m
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