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Why didn't they film the Follies revival?

SidebySidebyLogan Profile Photo
SidebySidebyLogan
Stand-by
joined:9/25/13
Sorry if there's already a thread on this. Looked but didn't see one. It seems like the powers that be do pretty well at recording Sondheim productions/concerts for posterity, especially those produced this century. I was really surprised this never made its way to theaters/Live from Lincoln Center/ etc. I was very disappointed. It felt like a missed opportunity. I know we have the concert version but Follies in particular is a show that needs a full scale production to get the full effect. I find it a bit odd that Merrily got the film treatment before Follies did.
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Mattbrain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/23/05
Oh it's been filmed...just not the way you were thinking

But yes, I've thought this till I was blue in the face that more shows, musical or play, should be filmed professionally by whatever means possible. I risked the freak October 2011 snowstorm and got stranded in New York for the night just to see this gem of a production.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Side, you may have answered your own question. The audience for FOLLIES is passionate, God knows (and includes myself), but small, and there is already a concert version with bigger names.

I'm not a technical expert, but the most recent production was also rather dark and that may have been difficult to film.

But, oh, how I wish a DVD were available, dark or not!
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
The staging was beautiful, and it was indeed a shame that this production wasn't included.
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
From the beginning, this was going to be filmed. Since DC, it was the goal to do it. BUT, just like the Papermill production which had planned the same thing, you can thank the Widow Goldman for it not getting done.
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SidebySidebyLogan
Stand-by
joined:9/25/13
I don't understand that. Why wouldn't she want her husbands work recorded so that it could be kept and "anthologized" for lack of a better word. I understand and am a firm believer in the ephemeral nature of theater but works like Follies deserve recordings so they won't be forgotten.

From all the stories I've heard of that women she sounds like a true terror.
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SidebySidebyLogan
Stand-by
joined:9/25/13
After re-reading my post I feel I need to qualify my use of the term forgotten. I know Follies will never be forgotten. But we are fast approaching a time where it will never be truly understood as the piece of theater it was meant to be. In 20-30 years the people whose story it's telling won't be alive anymore. No one living will remember the kind of entertainment it is harkening back to. I wish (and hope we still may) have a recorded production with performers who've seen those stories first hand, lived through those times even if they were too young to actually experience the trials of Buddy & Sally & Phyllis & Ben.
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SidebySidebyLogan
Stand-by
joined:9/25/13
Double post
Updated On: 11/12/13 at 02:23 PM
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Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
This thread can be generic for just about every show that has ever been staged...just swap out the title.

There are lots of things that need to click in order for a show to be filmed. If any one item is out of place (eg unions, actors equity, authors, etc) then it doesn't happen not to mention it costs money...lots of money to pay all those involved. If it isn't going to be a financial success then that is a big consideration too.
Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG; Jun 07 Varekai in Bridgeport, CT Jul 12 1:30pm Side Show; Jul 12 8:30pm Fantasia w/National Symphony Orchestra; Aug 16 The Visit: Williamstown Festival
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CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
I would have loved to have seen the Papermill production...it's my favorite recording of the show.
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Actually, that's not true.

FOLLIES not getting filmed lies solely on the Widow Goldman's shoulders.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Well said, side. It was worth posting twice.
nasty_khakis
Broadway Star
joined:3/15/07
I love any and all Widow Goldman stories/threads.
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Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
The concert version is the pits.They cut the heart out of I'm Still Here .
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
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JRybka
Broadway Legend
joined:11/6/06
To the poster who said they had a small but passionate audience. There are many things that are filmed that could be considered "small" (Passion comes to mind)...
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."
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PianoMann
Broadway Star
joined:5/12/11
I would have treasured a film of this production, but perhaps it's better to have my memories of being there versus reliving it from a screen!
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Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
I beg to differ.

I have naughty versions of Papermill and this one. Better to watch it whenever you want.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
What did the Widow Goldman do this time?
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Just being the same old c*ck block that she always is.
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HogansHero
Featured Actor
joined:2/26/12
Leaving aside the "widow Goldman" strain of this discussion (which I confess I find somewhat amusing), there is a school of thought, not well represented here, that these filmed versions of stage shows do not serve the theatre well. That's a sentiment unrelated to the control of the properties, but it rests on two fundamental notions: that film does not convey the essence of the shows, and that the powers that be ought not to be supporting the idea that films are some sort of substitute for the experience of live theatre.
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PianoMann
Broadway Star
joined:5/12/11
the powers that be ought not to be supporting the idea that films are some sort of substitute for the experience of live theatre.

I can see this argument if the movie / DVD were to come out during the run of the Broadway production, with producers believing people would pay the money for the DVD in lieu of seeing the Broadway show, but what harm is there in releasing a show like Follies after it closes? If anything, it might spark interesting in a future revival if people become acquainted with it via DVD!
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adam.peterson44
Broadway Star
joined:9/7/11
Not to mention that the Chicago movie boosted the box office sales of the current revival, even though it came out while it was still running. When people become more familiar with a story that they can access from their location (assuming they don't live in NYC) and relatively inexpensively, they are more likely to then want to see it live when they have a chance, either in a local or Broadway production. Likewise, the Mamma Mia dvd sales don't appear to have hurt the sales of tickets to the live show.
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HorseTears
Broadway Legend
joined:3/25/05
I've read an interview with Bernadette Peters in which she expressed her reservations about the filming of Sunday and Into the Woods. While of course, you can never fully capture that ephemeral experience, I think that everyone involved in the production of the Sweeney, ITW and Sunday productions should be commended for capturing some of that magic on screen. And, frankly, I'd argue that those productions elevated Bernadette to a global Broadway superstar and probably contributed to cementing Sondheim's legend with younger generations. Many of us are far too young to have seen the original productions. I'm sure that my path of watching ITW (or Sweeney or Sunday) and then discovering Sondheim's "back catalog" is a very common path for younger audiences. I think each of these productions was very smart to hire TV directors for the filmed productions. Had they simply set up cameras to capture the production as is, they would not have worked as well as they had.

Anyway, thank God for the unofficial recordings and for improvements in technology!
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Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Maybe if more shows were filmed on location ala Trip To Bountiful instead of in the theater it might make the filming less cost prohibitive.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
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HogansHero
Featured Actor
joined:2/26/12
Piano-the argument is that filming the stage show leaves the impression that it is the same, whereas the theatre enhances itself as an institution by insisting that there is no substitute for the live experience. Secondarily, it can be argued that the camera does not adequately communicate the essence of the live experience.

Adam-your examples are of complete remakes of stage shows for the movies. Those were not filmed versions of the stage shows, which is what I was talking about. I agree that what you are talking about can have a positive effect, even during a run. Likewise, what Mr. Roxy is talking abut would be a different animal.
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PianoMann
Broadway Star
joined:5/12/11
I think the argument that film doesn't capture the experience of a live show is pretty obvious, and I assume most people that have ever been to a live show would understand it! Certainly is unconvincing to me...

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