Kelli James Chase and More Star in Theater Works' FOLLIES, Opening Tonight

Theater Works announces the Arizona premiere of FOLLIES. FOLLIES is a theatrical event which is attracting some of the finest talent in the Valley. It will open on the Gyder Stage at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts tonight, February 20, 2015.

The music and lyrics of FOLLIES' dazzling score are by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim is the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, America's highest distinction in the performing arts, which is given to individuals for his/her contributions to American culture. Sondheim has also received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and is the winner of the most Tony Awards of any composer/lyricist (eight so far), the Academy Award for Best Original Song (Sooner or Later), eight Grammy Awards and many more.

The book is by Academy Award winner James Goldman, also known for The Lion in Winter.

FOLLIES will be directed by Phillip Fazio. Last season, Fazio directed Theater Works' smash hit production of RAGTIME. Also returning from the RAGTIME production team is Musical Director, Steve Hilderbrand. Mr. Hilderbrand will be conducting a live orchestra of 12 musicians for this production.

The talented cast of FOLLIES features Broadway stars Kelli James Chase as Carlotta Campion and Patti Davis Suarez as Hattie Walker. Kelli James Chase was in the original Broadway cast of LES MISERABLES and became the first replacement in the role of Eponine.

Patti Davis Suarez made her Broadway debut in HOW NOW, DOW JONES. She then appeared in the original Broadway production of PROMISES, PROMISES, which was choreographed by Michael Bennett (choreographer and co-director of the original Broadway production of FOLLIES). After that, Ms. Davis Suarez joined the Broadway production of APPLAUSE, performing the role of Eve Harrington opposite Lauren Bacall and later Anne Baxter.

Rounding out the cast of FOLLIES is a parade of Valley theater stars. Rusty Ferracane plays the central role of Ben Stone. Audiences will remember Mr. Ferracane for his unforgettable performances as Cervantes/Quixote in MAN OF LA MANCHA, Georges in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, Harold Hill in THE MUSIC MAN, Emile De Becque in SOUTH PACIFIC, Father Flynn in DOUBT, and Joe Pitt in ANGELS IN AMERICA PARTS I AND II.

Starring alongside Mr. Ferracane is Shari Watts as Phyllis Rogers Stone. The Phoenix New Times named Ms. Watts the Best Actress of the Year in 2011 for her iconic performances as Big Edie in GREY GARDENS and then again in 2014 for her harrowing turn as Violet Weston in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Other memorable roles include Gloria in SONS OF THE PROPHET, Linda in DEATH OF A SALESMAN, and her AriZoni Award winning portrayal of Martha in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at Theater Works.

On its surface, FOLLIES is about a reunion of retired performers. They have come together to meet one last time in a crumbling theater on the night before it is to be torn down. On closer examination, Follies is a surreal, heart-wrenching examination of life, theater and the great mystery of "the road you didn't take."

The FOLLIES score is considered by some to be Stephen Sondheim's greatest masterpiece, overflowing with such classic songs as "Losing My Mind," "I'm Still Here," "Too Many Mornings" and "Broadway Baby."

Theater Works' opening night of FOLLIES is tonight, February 20, 2015. Notably, this is forty-four years to the day after the very first public performance of FOLLIES during its out-of-town tryout in Boston.

FOLLIES runs through March 15, 2015 and all performances will be held at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 8355 West Peoria Avenue, Peoria AZ. Tickets are $36 for adults, $32 for seniors and $15 for students. Advanced purchase is recommended, as seating is limited.

To purchase tickets call the Theater Works Box Office at 623.815.7930 Monday - Friday 10am to 4pm or visit

Theater Works, at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts is in its 29th season of providing exceptional theater to the West Valley. As a destination, it features more then 200 events a year including: live theater, classical concerts, jazz, popular music, dance, comedy, cultural events, festivals, youth and adult education classes and much more. Theater Works is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, call the box office at 623.815.7930 or visit

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