If you are looking for a good-old fashioned musical with stand-out performances then I highly suggest checking out the Broadway revival of "Follies" which I saw on Thursday, September 22, 2011, at the Marquis Theatre in NYC. The stars were in attendance as well from Bobby Cronin to Billy Porter to Bette Midler!
With a book by James Goldman, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and directed by Eric Schaeffer, "Follies" tells the story about a group of former "Follies Girls" who meet up one last time before the theatre they performed in is torn down. Taking a look back at their life, "Follies" really tells a story about love and how we sometimes have to go back in time to help us move forward.
This show features an amazing cast including fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participants Jan Maxwell (Two-Time Tony Award Nominee) and Mary Beth Peil (Tony Award Nominee) along with Bernadette Peters, Elaine Page, Danny Burstein, Ron Raines, Jayne Houdyshell, Terri White, Don Correia, Christian Delcroix, Rosalind Elias, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Lora Lee Gayer, Michael Hayes, Leah Horowitz, Florence Lacey, David Sabin, Kirsten Scott, Frederick Strother, Nick Verina, and Susan Watson.
Usually when I see a show, there are one or two people who really stand-out. At "Follies," there were several! I have seen Jan Maxwell devour audiences with her very skilled acting, but in "Follies," Jan's role combines everything that is amazing and great about her talent (and I'm sure there continue to be many more)! Whenever Jan was on stage, the spotlight shined twice as bright! From her voice to her acting to her dancing, Jan can do it all as she performs with conviction, power, and soul! Off-stage, she is kind, personable, and very down to earth! Jan has many fantastic moments on stage, especially some great dramatic moments, but she was on fire when she sang "Could I Leave You" and "The Story of Lucy and Jessie."
It's always great to see Mary Beth Peil on stage and it's even greater when she gets to sing, so I was very excited when Mary stand-out moment came with "Ah, Paris!" Mary has one of the most gorgeous sopranic voices out there and it's great that she gets to share it 8 times a week!
I saw Terri White seduce audiences in the Broadway revival of "Finian's Rainbow," so to get to see her dazzle her way across the stage of the Marquis Theatre was pure delight! Terri's voice is soulful, powerful, and grand! Terri's dancing is just as terrific! When she sings "Who's That Woman," you know THAT Woman is the talented Terri White!
Another favorite moment came when Jayne Houdyshell would come on stage. I've only seen Jayne in Broadway's "Well," so to have the opportunity to hear Jayne sing, was a real treat! And man, Jayne Houdyshell has a beautifully strong voice which is used brilliantly in "The Road You Didn't Take."
I finally had a chance to see Elaine Page perform on stage and I was in awe! She is tip-top shape, both physically and vocally! She triumphed with "I'm Still Here" while Danny Burstein's fantastic acting and voice made him a reason for more enjoyable moments. When Danny's on stage, I found myself eager to see what he would do next!
I also want to give a shout out to Derek McLane for his wonderful set design, Gregg Barnes for his wonderful costumes, and especially to Laura Stanczyk Casting, CAS for a great job in casting this show. I thought Lora Lee Gayer, Kirsten Scott, Christian Delcroix, and Nick Verina were great choices as "Young Sally," "Young Phyllis," "Young Buddy," and "Young Ben" for they all really resembled Bernadette's "Sally," Jan's "Phyllis," Ron's "Benjamin," and Danny's "Buddy."
With many stand-out performances, "Follies" is a show to go see, but you better hurry, for this limited run only lasts until January 22, 2012! "Follies" plays at the Marquis Theatre in NYC (1535 Broadway, between 45th & 46th Street). Click here for tickets!