By Christine Ehren
11 Apr 2002
Whenever there's a high profile staging of Stephen Sondheim's Follies, there's an expectation of high profile actors of a certain age making appearances as faded and fading entertainers. L.A.'s Reprise series has assembled a cast of actors who went on to make their marks in Hollywood, including Hal Linden, Tom Bosley, Patty Duke and Vikki Carr, for their concert staging of Follies June 15-23 at the Wadsworth Theatre.
Linden (Ben) played in over 18 Broadway productions in his early career including Bells Are Ringing, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Apple Tree and revivals of Pajama Game and Man of La Mancha before "Barney Miller" made his a household name. Beloved as Howard Cunningham on "Happy Days," Bosley (Weissman) won a Tony in 1958 for Fiorello! and played Belle's father in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway before touring the country in Show Boat. Duke (Phyllis) starred in "The Miracle Worker," then achieved fame by playing identical cousins on her own "Patty Duke Show." Best known for her bi-lingual, Grammy-winning recording career, Carr (Sally) last performed in a musical in 1983's I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking it On the Road.
Those four headliners will be joined by an equally starry supporting cast including Tony winner Harry Groener (Buddy), film and theatre's Carole Cook (Hattie), West Side Story's original Maria Carol Lawrence (Vanessa), Cats's Ken Page (Roscoe), multi-Emmy winner Liz Torres (Stella) and singer-songwriter Amanda McBroom (Solange). Also in the cast are Grover Dale (Vincent), Carole Swarbrick (Christine), Stella Stevens (Dee Dee), Mary Jo Catlett (Emily), Justine Johnston (Heidi), Jean Louisa Kelly (Young Sally), Austin Miller (Young Buddy), Tia Riebling (Young Phyllis), Kevin Earley (Young Ben), Abby Feldman (Young Stella), Barbara Chiofalo (Young Heidi), Trevor Brackney (Young Vincent), Melissa Driscoll (Young Vanessa) and Stephen Reed (Kevin).
Casting for two roles, Theodore and Carlotta, has not yet been announced.
Arthur Allan Seidelman (Six Dance Lessons in Six Lessons) will direct Follies, set in a decaying Broadway theatre where legendary performers gather together to reflect on their lives, careers and losses. Follies was revived on Broadway by the Roundabout Theatre in the 2001 season. A major production in London is planned for August of 2002.
For reservations, call (310) 825-2101. The Wardsworth Theatre is located at 11301 Wilshire Boulevard. The Reprise series is on the web at http://www.reprise.org.