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Follies: The Greatest Musical Ever Created

The Broadway Production of Follies by James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim


Follies: The Greatest Musical Ever Created

Follies Broadway Revival 2011


Considered by many to be the best musical ever created, Follies is a complex musical with a large cast, unique storytelling songs, and a costume plot more grande than most musicals ever see.

Follies features a book was written by James Goldman and a phenomenal score by Stephen Sondheim. Some of Sondheim’s most famous songs come from Follies, including “Losing My Mind,” “Broadway Baby,” “I’m Still Here,” and “Could I Leave You?”

Known for his intelligent use of lyrics as well as arrhythmic and often disharmonic arrangements, many consider the songs from Follies to be among Sondheim’s best work and typical of his style of storytelling that gets to the heart and mind of a character.

The plot revolves around former members of the “Weismann Follies,” who reunite at a party the night before the theatre's scheduled demolition. Two couples from the old troupe reminisce about their former glory and come face to face with their less than stellar current situations. Set in 1971, their memories of days gone by are realized in the characters, the “Ghosts,” their younger selves performing in their prime during Vaudeville’s heyday between World War I and World War II.

Legendary director Hal Prince produced the original Broadway production that opened April 4, 1971, at the Winter Garden Theatre, and played 522 performances. In 1972, Follies swept the Tony Awards, with trophies going to winning Stephen Sondheim for Best Score, Harold Prince and Michael Bennett for Direction of a Musical, Michael Bennett for Best Choreography, Florence Klotz for Best Costume Design, Tharon Musser for Best Lighting Design, Boris Aronson for best Scenic Design, and Alexis Smith for Best Actress in a Musical.

The 2011 Broadway revival of Follies featured an all-star cast of Tony Award winners and nominees, including Bernadette Peters as “Sally Durant Plummer,” Jan Maxwell as “Phyllis Rogers Stone,” Danny Burstein as “Buddy Plummer,” Ron Raines as “Benjamin Stone” and British musical theatre star Elaine Paige as “Carlotta Campion.”

With a 28–piece orchestra and a cast of 41 performers, Follies was a transfer from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where it enjoyed a limited engagement at the Eisenhower Theater from May 7 to June 19, 2011.

The production transferred to Broadway, opening September 12, 2011, extending to January22, 2012. Directed by Signature Theatre’s Eric Schaeffer, the Broadway revival’s creative team included Tony winning Scenic Designer Derek McLane, Tony-winning Costume Designer Gregg Barnes, Lighting Designer Natasha Katz, Sound Designer Kai Harada, and the original orchestrations of Jonathan Tunick.

The Broadway revival was produced by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Michael M. Kaiser, President), Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Adrienne Arsht, with HRH Foundation as a Sponsor, and Allan Williams as Executive Producer.

With the success of the Broadway run, a transfer to Los Angeles was announced for the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre from May 3 to June 9, 2012.

Musical Numbers:

Act I

  • 1. Prologue
  • 2. Overture
  • 3. Welcome to our first - and last - reunion...
  • 4. Beautiful Girls
  • 5. You came; you're really here...
  • 6. Don't Look at Me
  • 7. I never get to talk...
  • 8. Waiting for the Girls Upstairs
  • 9. Rain on the Roof
  • 10. Ah, Paris!
  • 11. Broadway Baby
  • 12. The Road You Didn't Take
  • 13. Bargains, Buddy...
  • 14. In Buddy's Eyes
  • 15. Let's dish. Tell me everything...
  • 16. Who's That Woman?

Act II

  • 1. I had a Follies number once...
  • 2. I'm Still Here
  • 3. Too Many Mornings
  • 4. The Right Girl
  • 5. Men are so sweet...
  • 6. One More Kiss
  • 7. According to statistics...
  • 8. Could I Leave You?
  • 9. You'll make a good wife, Phyl...
  • 10. Loveland
  • 11. You're Gonna Love Tomorrow / Love Will See Us Through
  • 12. The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues
  • 13. Losing My Mind
  • 14. The Story of Lucy and Jessie
  • 15. Live, Laugh, Love
  • 16. Chaos
  • 17. End of Show

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