Justine Johnston, Original Star of Sondheim's Follies, Dies at 84

Obituaries   Justine Johnston, Original Star of Sondheim's Follies, Dies at 84
 
Justine Johnston, who as Heidi Schiller in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's seminal work about art, life and loss, Follies, sang the elegiac waltz "One More Kiss," died of a stroke Jan. 13, the Los Angeles Times reported. She was 84.

In the 1971 musical—which takes place in an old theatre, once home of a series of "Follies" shows, and now the site of a pre-demolition gathering of former stage stars—the regal Heidi is shadowed by a vision of her younger self as she sings her signature number, composed by Sondheim in imitation of the operetta-like music popular during the early decades of Broadway. In his book about Follies, "Everything Was Possible," Ted Chapin wrote that Ms. Johnston was elected Equity deputy for the company and, as such, wore a watch around her neck to time the rehearsals. "Justine wasn't someone to tangle with," he wrote.

Follies was a belated Broadway debut for the actress, who was born in Evanston, IL, on June 13, 1921, and educated at the Goodman Theatre School. She went on to perform in another nostalgic piece, Irene, in 1973, in which she stood by for Ruth Warrick and Patsy Kelly, as well as in Molly (1973), Angel (1978) and Me and My Girl (1986).

Ms. Johnston also spent a good deal of time in touring productions such as Milk and Honey, Lend Me a Tenor and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. She played small roles in the films "Arthur," "Fatal Attraction," "9 1/2 Weeks" and "Running on Empty."

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