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The Invisible Woman

For a movie about Charles Dickens, The Invisible Woman is more likely to remind you of the novels of Thomas Hardy than any of those written by the man who so vividly depicted urban life of his day. The film opens with a wide shot of a empty field into which gradually enters a solitary woman. She is Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), a middle-aged schoolteacher and mother. But this was not always her life: For 13 years, beginning when she was 18, her life was lived in the shadows as the mistress of the great writer, in an era when such behavior if made public would have ruined both their lives.

Merrily We Roll Along

Stephen Sondheim was at the peak of his popularity, after A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd, when he and producer/director Hal Prince premiered Merrily We Roll Along on Broadway in 1981. With a book by George Furth, it was an adaptation of a 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart that told the tale of a playwright over a 20-year span in reverse order, beginning with his success as a creator of successful piffle and going backward, ending with him as a new college graduate filled with high hopes and aspirations.

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