Meet The Sisters Who Turned “Merrily We Roll Along” Into a Tony Winner

Maria and Sonia Friedman discussed their long history with “Merrily We Roll Along,” after a bittersweet Tony Awards.

The Friedman sisters have been making art together since they were little girls. Their London childhood was chaotic — they were often left to their own devices — but the family’s four children found solace in storytelling.

Now Sonia, 59, is one of the most successful theater producers in the English-speaking world. Maria, 64, is a celebrated actress and singer. Their sister is a scientist, and their brother, who died last year, was a violinist.

Sonia and Maria have occasionally worked together over the years, but rarely with as much emotional investment as on the current Broadway revival of “Merrily We Roll Along,” which Maria is directing and Sonia is producing. The revival has been transformative for the show, which, despite much-loved songs by Stephen Sondheim, was a famous flop when it first ran in 1981, and is now one of the hottest tickets in town.

On Sunday night the Friedman sisters’ production won a Tony Award for best musical revival, as well as acting prizes for two of its stars, Daniel Radcliffe and Jonathan Groff, and another for its orchestrations. It did not, however, win for Maria’s direction, which made their evening bittersweet.

“My heart went into 2,000 pieces,” said Sonia Friedman, who has a shelf full of Tony Awards, but just wanted recognition for her sister. She said she had to step out of the theater to collect herself. “The little sister in me was in agony for an older sister who’s only ever held me and supported me.”

“Winning the Tony was fantastic, for Steve and for the legacy,” Maria Friedman said, but added that losing out on the best director award “was painful.”Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

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Source: Theater -


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