Bright and Beautiful: Shaw Fest Stages Follies: In Concert Starting Aug. 29

News   Bright and Beautiful: Shaw Fest Stages Follies: In Concert Starting Aug. 29 The Shaw Festival in Ontario presents a concert production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's musical Follies for a limited engagement in the Festival Theatre, starting Aug. 29.

Performances in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, will also play Sept. 12, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4.

Follies, with almost 50 actors, singers and dancers in the original cast, is rarely staged, although New York City has seen three major productions in the past 20 years. The Shaw's concert, featuring full orchestration, minimal staging and a highly abridged book, "is a great fit with the skills of the company's actors, singers and musicians," according to production notes.

With a book by Goldman and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the original Follies production won seven Tony Awards. The score includes "Broadway Baby," "I'm Still Here," "In Buddy's Eyes" and "Losing My Mind," among others.

Set in the early '70s, the backstage piece explores the time between the World Wars, "juxtaposing the romanticism of the past with the cynicism of the present, and ultimately revealing the foolishness of living in the past."

In it, two unhappily married couples, Buddy (Jay Turvey) and Sally (Glynis Ranney) Plummer and Ben (George Masswohl) and Phyllis (Melanie Janzen) Stone, are the focus. Sally and Phyllis were showgirls together 30 years earlier, as were many of the other guests at a party. As characters begin to relive their lives and careers, the past seems to seep into the present as ghosts of their former selves appear. The show's well-regarded musical approach has characters in the present express themselves in what was a contemporary musical style, while characters reminiscing about the past or suffering psychological breakdown sing "pastiche" songs that represent musical theatre styles through time.

Follies: In Concert is the second Sondheim musical to be presented by the Shaw Festival this season. A Little Night Music, directed by Morris Panych, continues to run in the Court House Theatre until Oct. 4.

The cast of Follies: In Concert also includes Thom Allison, Neil Barclay, Donna Belleville, Carol Forte, Deborah Hay, Patty Jamieson, Gabrielle Jones, Chilina Kennedy, Lorne Kennedy, Julie Martell, Mike Nadajewski, Melanie Phillipson, Kiera Sangster, Goldie Semple, Jacqueline Thair and Mark Uhre.

Follies: In Concert is directed by Valerie Moore, with musical direction by Paul Sportelli, design by William Schmuck, lighting design by Kevin Lamotte and sound design by John Lott. The stage management team includes stage manager Judy Farthing and assistant stage manager Amy Jewell.

For tickets and more information, visit www.shawfest.com or call (800) 511-7429 or (905) 468-2172.

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Follies was produced originally on Broadway by Harold Prince. This concert is by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh. Follies concert version is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

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