ROBIN’S SHOW RECOMMENDATION: FOLLIES
The Kennedy Center’s lavish and landmark new staging of James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award®-winning musical FOLLIES is on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre (46th St. between Broadway and 8th) for a limited engagement, complete with its 28-piece orchestra and a cast of 41—led by two-time Tony® winner Bernadette Peters, four-time Tony® nominee Jan Maxwell, two-time Tony® nominee Danny Burstein, three-time Emmy nominee Ron Raines and Olivier Award winner Elaine Paige.
The show is set during a 1971 reunion of performers from the “Weissman Follies,” as the aging showgirls gather at the decaying Weissman show palace before it gets torn down and turned into a car park. The occasion turns into somewhat of a “pity party,” as the former glamour gals attempt to recapture days of youth and weigh life choices. Slick and sparkly showgirls representing their once youthful selves join the older gals and are often seen parading in the background, reminding us of how quickly time passes.
Though Act I gets off to a slow start, it’s not often you see a musical with such depth, complexity and character development. It’s a real study in human emotion, whether shared through the crisp dialogue or lyrics of some of Sondheim’s most classic, insightful songs.
Peters plays Sally Durant Plummer and Maxwell is Phyllis Rogers Stone, Burstein is Buddy Plummer and Raines is Benjamin Stone. All were stellar, particularly in Act II when they had their solo spotlight performances during show stopping dream sequences.
Sally pines for Ben’s love and yearns to become his bride, as Phyl grasps for the fleeting affections of a busboy who isn’t sure if he finds her attractive but then admits he does. Ben struggles to take ownership of his path in life, and Buddy admits to having an affair, yet yearning for the love of Sally who he has always adored.
Completing the Follies cast are Olivier Award winner Paige as Carlotta Campion, Tony nominee Jayne Houdyshell as Hattie Walker, Terri White as Stella Deems, Metropolitan opera star Rosalind Elias as Heidi Schiller, as well as Colleen Fitzpatrick as Dee Dee West, Michael Hayes as Roscoe, Florence Lacey as Sandra Crane, Tony nominee Mary Beth Peil as Solange LaFitte, David Sabin as Dimitri Weismann, Don Correia as Theodore Whitman, Tony Award nominee Susan Watson as Emily Whitman, Frederick Strother as Max Deems, Christian Delcroix as Young Buddy, Nick Verina as Young Ben, Lora Lee Gayer as Young Sally, Kirsten Scott as Young Phyllis and Leah Horowitz as Young Heidi.
The ensemble includes Lawrence Alexander, Brandon Bieber, John Carroll, Mathew deGuzman, Sara Edwards, Leslie Donna Flesner, Jenifer Foote, Suzanne Hylenski, Danielle Jordan, Joseph Kolinski, Amanda Kloots-Larsen, Brittany Marcin, Erin N. Moore, Pamela Otterson, Clifton Samuels, Kiira Schmidt, Brian Shepard, Jessica Sheridan, Amos Wolff and Ashley Yeater.
The production has scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Kai Harada and features Jonathan Tunick’s original orchestrations. Eric Schaeffer directs the production which opened Sept. 12 and continues through Jan. 22, 2012.
It’s a show that stays with you long after the curtain goes down.
To order, use discount code 2BUDDY.