Calling all Musical Theater Buffs: The multiple Tony Award nominated Broadway production of the James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies opened Wednesday, May 9, 2012-June 9, 2012 for an exclusive Los Angeles engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre. And I was lucky enough to attend the opening night!
The crowd was buzzing in anticipation of this praised revival and it was such an exciting night to be in attendance. While my hubby and I were waiting to enter the theater, we spotted Cloris Leachman and Joanne Worley some favorite older generation actors and then I was delighted to see James Van Der Beek (ahhh Dawson :-)) and Matthew Morrision (Glee hunk!) from my generation.
Follies is the darling of the current 2012 theater season and it just received an impressive array of awards and nominations, including eight 2012 Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Leading Actor (both Danny Burstein and Ron Raines), Best Leading Actress (Jan Maxwell), Best Featured Actress (Jayne Houdyshell), Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design. Wow that’s a lot of critical acclaim and only added to the appeal of seeing it on opening night in LA!
Follies is a vibrant, bold, colorful, big musical featuring a 28-piece orchestra and a cast of 41! Follies stars five-time Tony Award nominee Jan Maxwell as Phyllis Rogers Stone, Tony Award winner Victoria Clark as Sally Durant Plummer, three-time Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein as Buddy Plummer, three-time Emmy Award nominee and first time Tony Award nominee Ron Raines as Benjamin Stone and Olivier Award winner Elaine Paige as Carlotta Campion. Maxwell, Burstein, Raines and Paige are all returning to the roles that they originated on Broadway–I just love when so much Broadway caliber talent and experience graces an LA stage! What a treat!
What is Follies about? Follies brings to life a bygone era of showgirls, vaudevillian days and unrequited love all taking place between the two World Wars. Follies opens with a reunion of the former members of the much lauded Weismann Follies (of course based on the infamous Ziegfeld Follies), whose members reunite on the eve of their much cherished theater’s demolition. The majority of the show focuses on two couples who reminisce about their younger selves and and long for the years that have gone by. The crumbling theater (a metaphor) is used to facilitate the passionate memories and resurfaced conflicted emotions between both couples and their intertwined relationships.
This show was such a fun and vibrant ride! I really felt like I stepped back in time into the 1920’s and all it’s glory. I thought the acting and musical chops were top notch! Such obvious strong and seasoned talent in the Los Angeles revival. I absolutely LOVED the vivid colorful sets and brilliant staging/storytelling of the characters younger selves mirroring their current/older selves in the grandiose vaudevillian style of that over the top era. It told the story beautifully and memorably. It was such a treat to see this gorgeous story unfold and watch the sets transform from drab to FAB! So Stunning!
If you love big Broadway musicals, glorious sets, creative staging that tells a story, and top notch theatrical talent you will really enjoy Follies. Make sure you see it before June 10th (the LA engagement actually closes on June 9th) because it’s sure to garner several Tony Awards and you can say you saw before it hit the big time.
FOLLIES at the Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012 through June 9, 2012