‘Follies’ on Broadway: What did the critics think?

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The Broadway season has just begun and already there is Tony Awards chatter about ‘Follies,’ the new revival of the 1971 musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman that originated at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

‘Follies,’ at the Marquis Theatre, features a 40-member ensemble cast headed by Bernadette Peters, Elaine Page, Jan Maxwell, Jayne Houdyshell and Danny Burstein. The revival is directed by Eric Schaeffer, with choreography by Warren Carlyle.

The musical takes place on the final night before an old theater is demolished. A Broadway revival in 2001 was directed by Matthew Warchus and featured Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey and Treat Williams. The original 1971 Broadway production was directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett.

How have critics reacted to the new production of ‘Follies’?


Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote that the production has improved significantly since its run at the Kennedy Center. ‘Somewhere along the road from Washington to Broadway, the Kennedy Center production of ‘Follies’ picked up a pulse. A vigorous heart now beats at the center of this revitalized revival.’ The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones praised the production, writing that since transferring from Washington, the show ‘is now entirely and devastatingly in tune with this musical masterpiece’s twin pulses of faint hope and bitter regret.’

Peter Marks of the Washington Post also noted that the production has improved since the Kennedy Center, especially the performance of Bernadette Peters, who ‘has found a poignant core for [her character] Sally, a woman awash in regrets-soaked delusion.’

The New York Daily News’ Joe Dziemianowicz described the ensemble cast as ‘joyous’ but wrote that there are also letdowns, including a general lack of originality in Schaeffer’s direction that prevents this revival from being truly distinctive.


Sondheim and ‘Follies’ heading back to Broadway

Dispatch from Washington: Is this full-scale ‘Follies’ bound for Broadway?

-- David Ng