Follies, one of the few Sondheim musicals not being presented at this summer's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Sondheim Celebration, is being offered on the London stage. Preview performances begin Aug. 3 at 7:30 PM for a month-long engagement of the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical at London's Royal Festival Hall. The official opening is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 7 PM.
Heading the cast of the musical, which is set in a dilapidated theatre, is recently ousted Producers star Henry Goodman, who will play the roll of Buddy. Joining Goodman are former Evita Kathryn Evans as Sally, David Durham as Ben and Louise Gold as Phyllis. The remainder of the Follies company comprises Diane Langton as Carlotta, Kerry Jay as Young Phyllis, Hugh Maynard as Young Ben, Emma Clifford as Young Sally, Matthew Cammelle as Young Buddy, Russell Dixon as Weissman, Julia Goss as Heidi, Shezwae Powell as Stella, Joan Savage as Hattie, Anna Nicholas as Solonge, Philippa Healey as Young Heidi, Myra Sands as Emily, Keisha Marina Atwell as Young Stella, Tiffany Graves as Margie, Paul Bentley as Rosco, Tony Kemp as Theodore and Nick Hamilton as Max. Pippa Raine, Juliet Gough, Alexis Owen Hobbs, Gabrielle Noble, Simon Coulthard, Andrew Wright, Matthew Atwell and Craig Armstrong are part of the show's ensemble.
The classic Sondheim musical, which was revived on Broadway in 2001 with a cast led by Judith Ivey, Blythe Danner, Treat Williams, Gregory Harrison and Polly Bergen, was last seen in London in 1987 starring Diana Rigg, Julia McKenzie, Daniel Massey, David Healy and the late Dolores Gray. The Royal Festival Hall version will feature direction by Paul Kerryson, musical direction by Julian Kelly and designs by Paul Farnsworth. David Needham will choreograph.
Set in an old theatre about to be torn down, Follies boasts a score by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. The musical premiered at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre in April 1971 with a score that features such tunes as "Beautiful Girls," "Broadway Baby," "In Buddy's Eyes," "I'm Still Here," "Could I Leave You?," "Losing My Mind" and "Who's That Woman?" Among the original cast were Dick Latessa, Alexis Smith, Yvonne De Carlo, John McMartin, Gene Nelson and Dorothy Collins. The Royal Festival Hall is located on Belvedere Road in London, England. Tickets, ranging from £8 to £40, are available by calling the theatre's box office at 011 44 020 7960 4242. Go to http://www.royalfestivalhall.org.uk for more information.