Sunday, October 8, 2017

Follies, a la London

 Ah, yes...the Follies London Debacle.
Seems that while the original production (1971)
had won 7 Tony awards (not Best Musical),
audiences didn't "flock".
Closed after 500 and some performances,
despite a stellar cast:
Yvonne DeCarlo, John McCormack, Alexis Smith, Gene Nelson.
It lost a lot of money, and even the cast album was a bomb.
The 1985 concert version,
done with Barbara Cook, Carol Burnett, Phyllis Newman,
Elaine Stritch, Mandy Patinkin, Lee Remick....
sparked more interest, and certainly a GREAT CD! 
The 1987 London version featured (above)
Daniel Massey, Julia McKenzie, David Healey and Diana Rigg.
 The pressure was on to rewrite the book,
and make it more positive?
James Goldman leapt at the chance;
Sondheim was less airborne.
But rewrite they did,
and SS went and wrote 4 new songs.
Above, a bubbled trio, Diane hopefully not mid-pop. 

 Supposedly because she couldn't dance,
Diane didn't have to do "The Story of Lucy and Jessie";
for her, Stephen wrote "Ah! But Underneath".

 Dolores Gray was persuaded to come out of retirement
(personally persuaded by Sondheim, who says no to that?)
to play Carlotta. 

Julie McKenzie, Lynda Baron, and Diana Rigg
mid-Jazz Hands!

A photo that seems to have inspired it all:
Gloria Swanson photographed in the ruins of 
the demolished Roxy Theatre in 1960.
And the synopsis...Older show girls, come for a 
reunion (of sorts) and "last look"
at the theatre they performed in,
moments before its destruction.
Just for fun,
a look back at Alexis Smith
in the original production. :)

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