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RIALTO CHATTER FOLLIES Update: Cattrall, Dossett Out; Paige & Lavin In?


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced back in August that Bernadette Peters will star as Sally Durant Plummer in the Kennedy Center production of Follies in the Eisenhower Theater May 7 to June 5, 2011.

Additionally, had heard that starring alongside Peters could be Sex and the City star and Golden Globe winner Kim Cattrall as Phyllis, Danny Burstein as Buddy and John Dossett as Ben, all of whom were cast and were then in contract negotiations. 

We've now heard from reliable sources that neither Cattrall or Dossett were able to work out their contract deals for the production and that both sides have moved in. Now said to be in talks? First lady of the British Musical Theatre Elaine Paige and Linda Lavin, who was most recently a 2010 Tony nominee for Collected Stories. More information to come soon...

The musical features a book by James Goldman and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and will be directed by Eric Schaeffer with choreography by Warren CarlyleJames Moore will serve as music director and will conduct the 28-piece Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.

This will be the production to keep eyes on because if it's any good, someone, no doubt, will bring it right to Broadway. The last Broadway revival was not received well critically when produced by Roundabout and, prior to that, the highly acclaimed version which appeared at the The Paper Mill Playhouse was stopped from coming into town due to 'political reasons'. It's Sondheim's year, with the 80th birthday that keeps on giving and this would be the 'icing on the cake' if magic happened on the stage if indeed Schaeffer and his company pull it off. 

We are told that additional casting will be announced at a later date.

Currently starring in the Broadway revival of A Little Night Music, Bernadette Peters is the recipient of two Tony Awards®, a Golden Globe, two Grammy Awards® and three Emmy nominations. She received Tony® and Drama Desk Awards for Song and Dance and a second Tony Award® for Annie Get Your Gun. She received Tony® nominations for Gypsy, The Goodbye Girl, Sunday in the Park with George, Mack & Mabel, and On the Town. Other Broadway credits include Into the Woods, La Strada, George M!, Johnny No-Trump, and The Most Happy Fella. In addition to numerous original Broadway cast recordings, Ms. Peters has recorded six solo albums, including the Grammy®-nominated Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein; I'll Be Your Baby Tonight and Sondheim Etc: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall. Her television credits range from performing arts specials such as PBS' Evening at Pops and The Kennedy Center Honors to appearances in variety shows such as The Carol Burnett Show and an Emmy-nominated performance on The Muppet Show. She appeared in the star-studded Sondheim: A Celebration atCarnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic performance of Sondheim: A Birthday Concert, which was filmed for PBS's Great Performances series and will air later this year. She also played an opera diva-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown in Terrence McNally's The Last Mile, both for PBS's Great Performances series. Other television credits include the wicked stepmother in Cinderella with Brandy and Whitney Houston, guest-starring roles on ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Ugly Betty, the Lifetime movie Living Proof, PBS's Hey Mr. Producer!: The Musical World ofCameron Mackintosh, and FOX's hit TV series Ally McBeal for which she received an Emmy nomination. Among her numerous film credits are Pennies From Heaven (Golden Globe Award), The Jerk, The Longest Yard, Silent Movie, Annie, Pink Cadillac and the soon-to-be-released Coming Up Roses. She added author and songwriter to her roster of achievements with her debut children's book Broadway Barks, a New York Times best seller, and the just-released Stella Is a Star!

When former members of the "Weissman 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 original Broadway production of Follies opened on April 4, 1971 starring Dorothy CollinsJohn McMartinGene Nelson, and Alexis Smith. It ran for 522 performances in the Winter Garden Theatre and received seven Tony Awards®, including Best Original Score. 
James Goldman received a Tony Award® nomination in 1972 for the book for Follies. He co-wrote the book, music and lyrics for A Family Affair with John Kander and William Goldman. His plays include They Might Be Giants, Blood Sweat and Stanley Poole (co-written with his brother William), The Lion in Winter and Tolstoy. His screenplays include The Lion in Winter, for which he won an Academy Award®, Nicholas and Alexandra, They Might Be Giants, Robin and Marian and White Nights. For television he wrote Evening Primrose with Stephen Sondheim, adaptations of Oliver Twist and Anna Karenina, and the mini-series Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna. His novels include Waldorf, The Man from Greek and Roman, Myself as Witness, and Fulton County. At the time of his death in October 1998, Mr. Goldman had recently completed the screenplay of Tolstoy as well as the book and lyrics for The Celebrated, Scandalous, Heroic Misadventures of Tom Jones

Winner of the Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, Stephen Sondheimhas received more Tonys® than any other composer. Mr. Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park With George (for which he received a Pulitzer Prize), Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion and Road Show, as well as lyrics for West Side Story, Gypsy, and Do I Hear a Waltz? and additional lyrics for Candide. Revues of his work include Sondheim on Sondheim, Side by Side by Sondheim, Marry Me a Little, You're Gonna Love Tomorrow, Putting It Together and Sondheim on Sondheim. For films and television, he composed the scores of Stavisky and Reds and wrote songs for Dick Tracy, for which he received an Academy Award, and Evening Primrose. He was also the recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 1993. Mr. Sondheim is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, having served as its president from 1973 to 1981.

Follies will be directed by Eric SchaefferEric Schaeffer's Broadway credits include Million Dollar Quartet, Glory Days and Putting It Together. In 2002 he served as artistic director of the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration, where he directed Passion and Sunday in the Park with George. Mr. Schaeffer is the co-founder and artistic director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia (winner of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®), where he has directed many productions including Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods, Company, Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, Les Misérables, and The Witches of Eastwick, among others. In London, Mr. Schaeffer directed the world premiere production of The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2000. At the Kennedy Center, Mr. Schaeffer last directed Mame, starring Christine Baranski, in 2006.
Follies will feature scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Natasha Katz, and sound design by Peter Hylenski. The Kennedy Center production will feature Jonathan Tunick's original orchestrations.


The Kennedy Center production of Follies will run May 7 through June 5, 2011. Performances will take place Tuesday through Sunday evenings in the Eisenhower Theater at 7:30 p.m. Beginning May 14, matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoons will run at 1:30 p.m. Tickets starting at $45 will go on sale on January 30, 2011 at 12 p.m. at the Kennedy Center box office or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600. Patrons living outside the Washington metropolitan area may dial toll-free at (800) 444-1324 or visit us online at Subscription and group sales packages are available now.

Follies is made possible through the generosity of The Adrienne Arsht Musical Theater Fund.

Additional support is provided by The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation.

For more information, please visit the Kennedy Center website at


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