Follies

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Follies is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. It is set in a crumbling old Broadway theatre during a reunion for all the past members of the “Weismann’s Follies,” a musical review which played in that theatre between the World Wars. The musical mostly focuses on two couples, Buddy and Sally Durant Plummer and Ben and Phyllis Rogers Stone, who are attending the reunion. Sally and Phyllis were both showgirls in the “Follies,” as are many of the other guests. Both marriages are having problems because Buddy, a traveling salesman, is having an affair with a girl on the road, Sally is still in love with Ben as she was years ago, and Ben is so self-absorbed that Phyllis feels emotionally abandoned.

The two couples interact with each other and other partygoers, and throughout the musical numbers from the old “Follies” are performed by the characters, sometimes accompanied by the ghosts of their former selves. These songs are pastiches of songs by popular songwriters of the past. Other songs are sung by the characters in the context of their own story. Among the notable songs in the show are “Waiting for the Girls Upstairs,” “Broadway Baby,” “Who’s That Woman,” “I’m Still Here,” “Too Many Mornings,” “One More Kiss,” “Could I Leave You?”, and “Losing My Mind.”

Follies opened April 4, 1971 at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. It starred Alexis Smith, John McMartin, Dorothy Collins, Gene Nelson, and Yvonne De Carlo, along with several veterans of the Broadway and vaudeville stage.

The plum supporting role of Carlotta Campion, the world-weary ex-Follies girl who sings the showstopping "I'm Still Here," is usually performed by a once-celebrated performer making a final return to the stage. Yvonne De Carlo, fresh from her featured role on television's The Munsters created the role in 1971. The 1985 concert featured Carol Burnett in the role, and Dolores Gray played Carlotta in the 1987 London production, which also featured Diana Rigg, Daniel Massey, Julia McKenzie, Lynda Baron, Leonard Sachs, Maria Charles, Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson. The 1998 Paper Mill Playhouse revival featured the legendary MGM star Ann Miller in the role, and shortly thereafter another former MGM star, Betty Garrett, took over for the short-lived Broadway revival.

External links

List of references in "I'm Still Here" (http://www.sondheim.com/features/im_still_what.html)

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