Follies Cast Recording
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The scene: an abandoned theater, where a group of performers--alumni from the fictional musical revue The Weismann Follies--is holding a reunion shortly before the building is to be turned to rubble. The long-retired players relive their careers through Stephen Sondheim's brilliant pastiches of past songwriters, sometimes accompanied in song or dance by the ghosts of their previous selves. At the same time, four of the people (two married couples) are remembering their pasts and wondering whether they chose their spouses--and the course of their lives--correctly. The 1971 original cast of Follies included many former Broadway and Hollywood stars--Dorothy Collins, Gene Nelson, Alexis Smith, Mary McCarty--and the pedigree and sheer size of the cast kept the show from profitability despite a decent run (and also keep it from being frequently revived).
This recording of Stephen Sondheim's legendary show has become something of a legend itself. The score included 22 songs, but because the cost of recording a two-LP set was considered prohibitive, a number of songs were omitted and others were abridged. As a result, this too-brief 58 minutes can't be considered the final statement on Follies (for more music, try the uneven but sometimes electric 1985 concert recording or the 1998 New Jersey revival), but listen to Yvonne DeCarlo sing the anthem "I'm Still Here" or Collins sing the heartbreaking "Losing My Mind" and you'll know that the original cast had a special magic that has yet to be surpassed. --David Horiuchi
Top Customer Reviews
The score is superb and is my 2nd favorite Sondheim score. The supporting cast is great, and its fun to see a few people in small one song roles who eventually became stars on Broadway, i.e Kurt Peterson and Victoria Mallory. If you want the best cast, don't buy this recording, get the concert cast recording, but if you want the ebst emotional expression and originality of the performances, get this recording. Also, get it for Dorothy Collins.
The story concerns the reunion of the "Weismann Follies", a troupe of players who performed between the two wars, brought back together 30 years later for a get-together when the theatre they once called home is to be torn down for a parking-lot.
The cast is led by veteran Hollywood stars Alexis Smith, Dorothy Collins and Gene Nelson, with Broadway veteran John McMartin. Others in the incantory cast include Mary McCarty (MISS LIBERTY, CHICAGO), Fifi D'Orsay, Ethel Shutta (JENNIE), Yvonne De Carlo, Ethel Barrymore Colt and Arnold Moss. Justine Johnson and Victoria Mallory (A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC) also feature.
Dorothy Collins is breathtaking in the role of Sally Durante Plummer (the role has been coveted by many Broadway diva's including Barbara Cook and Judy Kaye), and sings gorgeous versions of the show's two pivotal ballads, "In Buddy's Eyes" and "Losing My Mind". Alexis Smith plays the cynical and jaded Phyllis Rogers Stone, and sings the bitter, barb-choked "Could I Leave You?" and "The Story of Lucy and Jessie" perfectly.
Justine Johnson plays the aging opera diva Heidi Schiller, and sings the heartbreaking "One More Kiss" in a duet with Victoria Mallory as the younger Heidi. Mary McCarty is a delight as the scene-stealing Stella Deems, and leads the girls in the manic 'mirror number' "Who's That Woman?". Yvonne De Carlo belts out the anthemic "I'm Still Here" for all its worth.
FOLLIES is one of Stephen Sondheim's most intriguing and rewarding scores, and the original cast album is a must-own for all Broadway fans.
That may explain why later FOLLIES albums, though notable for the inclusion of new Sondheim bonbons, and some terrific performances here and there, have never lived up to the power of the original.
The original FOLLIES surpasses the single flaw of the lack of a full score and some non-sequitor transitions, by the extraordinary lack of distance between performer and character, character and song.
Though this perfect album would have been more perfect if it had been a double disc from the start, all those complaints in the other reviews are justified only by the tin ears and tin hearts of the reviewers.
Most recent customer reviews
but what we have is great. This is one of those few albums where I dont have to skip past songs. The numbers are well performed. Read morePublished on June 20 2004 by David
The fact that Stephen Sondheim's brilliant ode to several composers, still stands as a long-term reminder of good musical theater composing .... Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2003 by William H.
Except for its version of "One More Kiss", I've known this recording for decades. The liner notes for this CD edition are new, however, and there is a passage within them... Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002
This is the Sondheim musical that appeals especially to theatre people. Why? Because it is ABOUT theatre people. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2002
A couple of years ago, the community theater I work at dug "Follies" out of the script library and we had a go at it. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2002 by Andrew Blackburn
I love this CD. I didn't fully appreciate it until I saw the month-long revival in London at the Royal National Theatre--which was quite nice. Read morePublished on Sept. 20 2002
Having been a huge fan of "Sweeney Todd" and "Into the Woods" along with other Sondheim shows, I, for some reason, never bought this CD until recently. Read morePublished on June 27 2002 by J. F. Patterson
Follies is one of my favourite musicals of Sondheim.I truly admire his work both as a lyricist and a composer,but the real
charm of Sondheim is for me the combination of both. Read more