"Good Times and Bum Times": Broadway Revival of Follies Exceeds Expectations, But Doesn't Recoup

By Adam Hetrick
24 Jan 2012

Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
Photo by Joan Marcus

The Kennedy Center's lavish Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's iconic musical Follies, which opened to rave reviews Sept. 12, 2011, concluded its engagement Jan. 22, without recouping its capitalization, producer Michael Kaiser wrote in a piece on the Huffington Post.

Follies arrived on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre following a run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, early last summer. It featured a roster of Broadway stand-outs including Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, Ron Raines, Elaine Paige, Terri White and Rosaliand Elias.

Kennedy Center president Kaiser his article on the Huffington Post that while Follies did not pay off its investment, it had done better financially than anticipated during its 189-performance run. It was always billed as limited engagement. The New York Times reported that Follies was capitalized at $5.5 million.

According to Kaiser, the Broadway transfer also brought widespread visibility to the Kennedy Center. "Follies is representative of the large-scale, ambitious, risky project that arts organizations need to produce if they are to capture the imagination of new and diverse funders and audience members," he wrote.



Tony-winning director-producer Harold Prince's original 1971 production of Follies, which at the time was the most expensive Broadway musical in history (at nearly $800,000), ran for 522 performances and closed at a loss of $685,000.

The Kennedy Center production of Follies will play the Center Theatre Group's Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles May 3-June 9. Tony Award winner Victoria Clark will succeed Peters, who will not be part of the Los Angeles company. The only cast members confirmed for the West Coast engagement at this time are Maxwell, Burstein, Raines and Paige.

The revival follows in the footsteps of the original production of Follies, which opened the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles following its Broadway run in 1972 with the original principal cast.

PS Classics recorded the two-disc Broadway revival cast album.

Playbill was at the final Broadway performance of the revival on Jan. 22