The director of Broadway's The Color Purple and The Apple Tree, as well as the recent Encores! concert of Lost in the Stars, Griffin is CST's associate artistic director. He will use the same approved Follies script as the upcoming spring revival by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The Chicago production will be staged in CST's Courtyard Theater.
Chicago's Griffin has a history with the work of composer-lyricist Sondheim at CST: His Pacific Overtures won the 2002 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Musical and then transferred to the Donmar Warehouse in London, where it won the 2004 Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production; his Sunday in the Park With George starred Robert Petkoff and Andrea Burns; his A Little Night Music featured Barbara Robertson, Michael Cerveris and Samantha Spiro; his Passion featured Ana Gasteyer, Adam Brazier and Kathy Voytko.
The 2011-12 season of Chicago Shakespeare Theater is the company's 25th anniversary season. Additional titles will be announced shortly.
Follies, from 1971, tells of a reunion of former showgirls and featured players who once appeared in popular Broadway revues produced by the Ziegfeld-like Dimitri Weismann. At the crumbling, demolition-bound theatre where they once played, the aging characters are shadowed by their ghosts. Old numbers are recreated, and two couples — Buddy and Sally, and Phyllis and Ben — struggle (in song) to reconcile their unhappy present with the optimism and passion of their past.
The musical was nominated for a Best Musical Tony Award in 1972. Sondheim won the Tony for Best Score. Directors Harold Prince and Michael Bennett won Tonys for Direction, and Bennett won for his choreography. The CST production will have a limited engagement Oct. 4-Nov. 6. For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com.