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Best of Sondheim's Follies

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Uploaded on Dec 15, 2008

"Follies" is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. Several of its songs have become standards, including "Broadway Baby," "I'm Still Here," "Too Many Mornings," "Could I Leave You?" and "Losing My Mind." The play was nominated for eleven Tonys and won seven.

"Follies" is set in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, during a reunion for all the past members of the "Weismann's Follies," a musical revue (based on the Ziegfeld Follies) which played in that theatre between the World Wars. The musical 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 were 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 first half, musical numbers from the old Follies are performed by the characters, sometimes accompanied by the ghosts of their former selves. Most of the songs are pastiches of songs by popular songwriters of the past. "Losing My Mind" is in the style of a George Gershwin ballad, The "God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues" is in the style of Cole Porter and "Loveland" is akin to a 1920s Ziegfeld Follies serenade. The last section of the show features a string of vaudeville-style numbers reflecting the leading characters' emotional troubles before returning to the theatre for the end of the reunion party.

A concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, was produced September 6 and 7, 1985; it starred Barbara Cook (Sally), George Hearn (Benjamin), Mandy Patinkin (Buddy), and Lee Remick (Phyllis), and featured Carol Burnett (Carlotta), Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Liliane Montevecchi, Elaine Stritch, Phyllis Newman and Licia Albanese.

Among the reasons the concert was staged was to provide an opportunity to record the entire score. The resulting album was much more complete than the original cast album. However, director Herbert Ross took many liberties in adapting the book and score for the concert format--dance music was changed, songs were given false endings, new dialogue was spoken, reprises were added, and Patinkin was allowed to sing "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues" as a solo instead of a trio with two chorus girls.

These excerpts are taken from a highly recommended documentary produced about that concert and its creation, titled "Follies In Concert."

0:00 Introduction - Stephen Sondheim
0:45 Beautiful Girls
2:00 Rain on the Roof - Betty Comden and Adolph Green
2:10 Ah, Paris! - Liliane Montevecchi
2:25 Broadway Baby - Elaine Stritch
2:50 In Buddy's Eyes - Barbara Cook
3:19 Who's That Woman? - Phyllis Newman & women
3:51 I'm Still Here - Carol Burnett
4:25 Too Many Mornings - George Hearn & Barbara Cook
4:52 One More Kiss - Erie Mills and Licia Albanese
5:12 Could I Leave You? - Lee Remick
5:39 You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through
6:00 Buddy's Blues - Mandy Patinkin
6:11 Losing My Mind - Barbara Cook
6:46 The Story of Lucy and Jessie - Lee Remick
7:17 Live, Laugh, Love - George Hearn
7:57 Beautiful Girls (reprise) interspersed with backstage jokes

Visit our website at http://www.theBestArts.com for more great dance, music and musical theatre performances.

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