A Broadway theatre and a top creative team have been confirmed for Roundabout's upcoming revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Previews for the Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman (book) musical are tentatively scheduled for Mar. 6, 2001, with an early April opening. Matthew Warchus will direct the show.
The Belasco Theatre has been chosen for the Follies revival next March. Production sources now also confirm that the Follies creative team comprises scenic designer Mark Thompson, costume designer Theoni V. Aldridge (The Best Man), lighting designer Hugh Vanstone, sound designer Jonathan Deans, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick, musical director Eric Stern and choreographer Kathleen Marshall (Seussical).
It has been confirmed by Warchus that Treat Williams, Judith Ivey and Gregory Harrison make up three of the four core principals in the cast. The part of "Phyllis" has not been cast and no formal announcement of the company will be made until a Phyllis has been selected, production sources told Playbill On-Line.
As of last week no contracts had been signed, even for the three lead players said to be linked to the project.
* As reported earlier, actor Treat Williams says he is definitely playing Buddy in the Roundabout revival of Follies "I first saw the show when I was a freshman in college," Williams told Playbill On-Line on Sept. 7, "and I've been singing those songs ever since." Abiding by the company's strategy of holding any announcement on the cast until all of the core four players are in place, Williams would say only that he had not heard whether "Phyllis" had been cast. Even so, Williams was clearly enthused about doing the Sondheim the project. "I would have played one of the chorus girls...providing they had the right costume," Williams said.
The production of Follies requires the staging of a decrepit theatre, and the Belasco has experienced similar dramatic transformation: The original production of the Rocky Horror Show took place there in 1975, when theatre seats were removed to create a cafe setting for that show.
Speculation and intrigue have surrounded the development of the revival of Follies since January when, in a joint statement provided exclusively to Playbill On-Line, Follies' composer Stephen Sondheim and Bobby Goldman (widow of Follies book writer, James Goldman) stated that the upcoming New York production of the 1971 musical was not a certainty. "Although several reports have recently appeared, there are currently no specific plans for a New York production of Follies," the statement read. "We're thrilled that there is so much interest in the possibility. If a new production of Follies ever becomes a reality, we will be delighted to share the news."
Director Warchus staged the Olivier Award and Tony Award-winning play Art, and the recent Broadway production of Sam Shepard's True West.
The original Hal Prince production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies in 1971 was co-directed by Prince and Michael Bennett. Bennett choreographed the show. Costumes were by Florence Klotz. In all, the show ran 522 performances and won seven Tony Awards. With book by James Goldman and sets by Boris Aronson, Follies had a pre-Broadway run at Boston's Colonial Theatre before opening on Broadway at the Winter Garden. Broadway's original Follies closed in 1972. The show employs a then-and-now look at a chorus line, portraying the aging cast members at a 1971 reunion juxtaposed with their "younger selves."
The New York Philharmonic performed a successful concert version of Follies in 1985 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. That performance, which was recorded for RCA and produced by Thomas Z. Shepard, featured Barbara Cook, Carol Burnett, Lee Remick, Mandy Patinkin and Elaine Stritch.