When Hal Linden landed the role of Herr Schultz in Broadway's Cabaret, Los Angeles' Reprise! concert staging of Follies lost its Ben. Stepping in to take his place is Bob Gunton, who created the role of Evita's Juan Peron on Broadway, one of his two Tony nominations (the other was for 1990's Sweeney Todd). Other starry cast members are Tom Bosley, Patty Duke and Vikki Carr. Follies plays June 15-23 at the Wadsworth Theatre.
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 Jack Carter (Theodore), 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).
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.