Due to commitments in the U.S., Clarke Peters has withdrawn from the upcoming London production of Follies, which will play a limited engagement at the Royal Festival Hall beginning Aug. 3.
Peters, who has starred on the stage in Chicago, The Iceman Cometh, Guys and Dolls, Driving Miss Daisy and Kiss of the Spider Woman, was scheduled to portray Ben in the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical, which also casts short-lived Producers star Henry Goodman as Buddy, Kathryn Evans as Sally, Louise Gold as Phyllis and Diane Langton as Carlotta. Peters' replacement has yet to be announced.
New to the London cast of Follies are Kerry Jay as Young Phyllis, Hugh Maynard as Young Ben, Emma Clifford as Young Sally, Matthew Cammelle as Young Buddy, 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 with Pippa Raine, Juliet Gough, Alexis Owen Hobbs, Gabrielle Noble, Simon Coulthard, Andrew Wright, Matthew Atwell and Craig Armstrong in the ensemble. As of press time, the roles of Heidi and Weissman have not been cast.
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 dilapidated 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. Follies will play Aug. 3 through Aug 31 at the Royal Festival Hall, with an official opening set for Aug. 6. The famed 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.