PLAYBILL PICKS: The Top Theatre Stories of 2011 From Spider-Man to Sondheim to Site-Specific Shows

By Robert Simonson
23 Dec 2011

Ron Raines and Bernadette Peters in Follies.
photo by Joan Marcus

THE FOLLIES OF 2011: Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's elegiac concept musical Follies is widely regarded as one of the crowning achievements of the musical form. It's also a source of regular heartbreak for musical devotees. With the grand scale of its themes, cast, scenic and costume design, it's a tough peak to scale, and critics and audiences have gotten used to productions that don't measure up in one respect or another. Moreover, it's so expensive to mount, the idea of a commercially successful Follies had all but been abandoned. That changed this year when director Eric Schaeffer mounted a Washington, DC, production starring two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters that reviewers applauded, theatregoers liked, and, when it transferred to New York, Broadway ticketbuyers rushed to, in its current limited run. (Read the fall 2011 Diva Talk interview with star Elaine Paige.) It will move to L.A. come spring. A hit Follies? Somewhere, Ziegfeld is proudly tightening the knot in his lavender tie. Here's our fall interview with Stephen Sondheim, who talks about the show's new cast album, among other things.