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Sondheim and 'Follies' heading back to Broadway

June 15, 2011 |  4:03 pm

FolliesThe Kennedy Center’s $7.3-million production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” is going to be a Broadway Baby.

After weeks of speculation by musical theater aficionados, the landmark 1971 musical will return to the Great White Way for the third time this summer, 10 years after the last Broadway revival disappointed at the box office.

The big question, of course, is casting.  At the Kennedy Center, the limited run of “Follies” (ending  Sunday) stars a bevy of actors with multiple Tony-nominations atop its 41-person cast, including Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell and Linda Lavin.

Each of those three actresses, when asked, said last week that they would consider following the show to New York if the opportunity arose, but no actors have been announced for the run, which will begin a limited engagement this summer at the Marquis Theatre.

(There is a possibility that for a brief New York run, the producers could keep the current actors and even add a few more marquee names to the cast.)

The key cast member would seem to be Peters, seeing as how she anchored the extension of Sondheim's “A Little Night Music,” keeping the seats filled after Catherine Zeta-Jones left the Trevor Nunn-directed revival.  “This my sixth Sondhiem role,” Peters said after a recent performance. “They’re all gifts.”

The other question left unknown in Wednesday’s announcement about the Broadway transfer is the size of the orchestra.  Both critics and the cast members have spoken out about how one of the best aspects of Eric Schaeffer’s production is the 28-piece orchestra.  (The Zeta-Jones/Peters “Night Music” by contrast had only eight musicians in the pit.) 

However “Follies” survives the move to Broadway, at least for the summer, it’s still here.


Dispatch from Washington: Is this full-scale 'Follies' bound for Broadway?

— James C. Taylor

Photo: Jan Maxwell in "Follies" at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Credit: Joan Marcus.