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Follies

Follies is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. It is set in a crumbling old Broadway theatre during a reunion for all the past members of the “Weismann’s Follies,” a musical review which played in that theatre between the World Wars. The musical mostly 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 are 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 musical numbers from the old “Follies” are performed by the characters, sometimes accompanied by the ghosts of their former selves. These songs are pastiches of songs by popular songwriters of the past. Other songs are sung by the characters in the context of their own story. Among the notable songs in the show are “Waiting for the Girls Upstairs,” “Broadway Baby,” “Who’s That Woman,” “I’m Still Here,” “Too Many Mornings,” “One More Kiss,” “Could I Leave You?”, and “Losing My Mind.”

“Follies” opened April 4, 1971 at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. It starred Alexis Smith, John McMartin, Dorothy Collins, Gene Nelson, and Yvonne De Carlo, along with several veterans of the Broadway and vaudeville stage.



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