BWW Multimedia Special: A Farewell to FOLLIES: The Journey from D.C. to Broadway to L.A.
James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim's FOLLIES closes tonight, June 9, at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre after a critically acclaimed run. Nominated for eight Tony Awards, the show has been through quite the journey, beginning at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center in May 2011, then making its transfer to Broadway's Marquis Theatre, where it opened in September of 2011 and ran through January 22, 2012, and finally traveling to L.A. for its May 9, 2012, opening. As a farewell to Follies, BroadwayWorld brings takes you through this journey with photos, video and highlights from all three productions below.
When former members of the Weismann Follies reunite on the eve of their theater's demolition, two couples remember their past and face the harsher realities of the present. In the crumbling glamour of the theater, The Shadows of their younger selves remind them of the complicated steps they've danced—both on the stage and throughout their lives. Containing such well-known songs as "Broadway Baby," "I'm Still Here," "Too Many Mornings, "Could I Leave You?" and "Losing My Mind," Follies echoes the songs, exuberance and romance of the vaudeville days between the two World Wars.
The show was originally produced on Broadway by Harold Prince with orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, and opened on April 4, 1971 starring Dorothy Collins, John McMartin, Gene Nelson, and Alexis Smith. It ran for 522 performances in the Winter Garden Theatre and received seven Tony Awards, including Best Original Score.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's FOLLIES officially opened on May 21, 2011. The cast featured two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters as Sally Durant Plummer, four-time Tony nominee Jan Maxwell as Phyllis Rogers Stone, two-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein as Buddy Plummer, Ron Raines as Benjamin Stone and Olivier Award winner Elaine Paige as Carlotta Campion. Production photos from the Kennedy Center's production follow below!
The production also starred Terrence Currier as Theodore Whitman, Christian Delcroix as Young Buddy, Rosalind Elias as Heidi Schiller, Colleen Fitzpatrick as Dee Dee West, Lora Lee Gayer as Young Sally, Michael Hayes as Roscoe, Florence Lacey as Sandra Crane, Linda Lavin as Hattie Walker, Régine as Solange LaFitte, David Sabin as Dimitri Weismann, Kirsten Scott as Young Phyllis, Frederick Strother as Max Deems, Nick Verina as Young Ben, Susan Watson as Emily Whitman and Terri White as Stella Deems.
Follies ran through June 19, 2011, in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. The production was directed by Eric Schaeffer with choreography by Warren Carlyle, and music director and conductor James Moore with the 28-piece Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. The production of Follies featured scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Kai Harada and Jonathan Tunick's original orchestrations.
Watch two behind-the-scenes video from the Kennedy Center's Follies below.
The Kennedy Center's production began previews on Broadway August 7, 2011 at the Marquis Theatre, and opened September 12, featuring the original Kennedy Center cast. Below is a first look at Follies up on the Great White Way marquee.
Follies opened on Broadway to a packed house in September 2011. Below are photos from the production, feautring Don Correia, Susan Watson, Jayne Houdyshell, Mary Beth Peil, Jan Maxwell, Elaine Paige, Danny Burstein, Ron Raines, Kristen Scott, Nick Verina, Lora Lee Gayer, Christian Delacroix, Bernadette Peters, Rosalind Elias, Leah Horowitz, Terri White, Jennifer Foot, Kiira Schmidt and more.
Next, watch complete highlights from the Broadway production and a video inside Follies opening night celebration!
Follies celebrated the end of opening night on Broadway with its first curtain call bows, and later Jenifer Foote received the famed Gypsy Robe from Hair's Arbender Robinson, posing with Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Ron Raines Danny Burstein, Terri White and Elaine Paige.
Follies extended its Broadway run through January 22, 2012, and broke box office records with more than 1 million in sales its opening week.
At the end of November 2011, the Follies Broadway cast released a recording with PS Classics. Danny Burstein appeared on NPR for an interview the day the album was released, Nov. 29. Listen to his interview below.
The summer 2012 Los Angeles transfer of Follies was announced in December 2011, with news that Bernadette Peters would not be reprising her role as Sally Durant. Victoria Clark announced she would take over the role at the Ahmanson, and Maxwell, Burstein, Raines and Paige revealed they would transfer with the production to California. Follies closed its extended Broadway run January 22, 2012, but was not able to recoup its initial investment despite its critical acclaim and starry roster.
The show's Los Angeles opening at the Ahmanson Theatre was set for May 9. Angel Reda, Danny Percefull, James Moore, Sarah Strimel, Sara Edwards, Victora Clark and director Eric Shaeffer are featured in the L.A. rehearsal photos below.
The L.A. production began previews on May 3 at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre, opening as scheduled on May 9. Below is an image from Follies L.A. opening night bows, featuring Elaine Paige, Ron Raines, Jan Maxwell, Victoria Clark, Danny Burstein and Jayne Houdyshell, as well as BroadwayWorld's opening night video coverage and highlights from the show.
Nominated for eight Tony Awards, Follies has made its way from the East Coast to the West Coast. Take a last look at the L.A. production with individual performances from Victoria Clark ("Buddy's Eyes"), Danny Burstein and Becky Elizabeth Stout ("The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues"), Terri White and Company ("Who's That Woman"), Ron Raines ("The Road You Didn't Take"), Elaine Paige, "I'm Still Here," and Victoria Clark ("I'm Losing My Mind").