5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Recording!
Follies was defintely a labor of love for Sondheim. After reading the book, "Everything Was Possible," you realize what a burden it was to get this show to take off. The album isn't complete, and they cut parts of songs and actually cut whole numbers on this CD, but the cast is wonderful. Dorothy Collins is my favorite member of the cast. She has such a warm...
Published on Jan. 1 2004 by Matt Grey
3.0 out of 5 stars Too raw
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. Follies is a wonderful example for his maestry.Still,this version doesn't reach the half of what reaches the London version with Diana Rigg.Everything is much more mature in the London...
Published on Feb. 25 2002
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4.0 out of 5 stars A better one exists,
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)The show was superb, from the moment you entered the theatre and found yourself in a near-wreck inhabited by ghosts, to Ben's breakdown. The songs, all of them, were sensational. The cast,well,loved them all but who would have thought that Alexis Smith could have been such a red-spangled dream? Then Capitol Records got hold of it, and down it went for the count. They should have been sued. I'm told that they had all the recorded numbers at one time - too bad they don't iussue a CD package with all that discarded material. But a few years ago, a double CD did come out with all of the music from Broadway, London, and a few other productions. That's the one to buy. Everyone is good - no one's great - though some come close - all the songs are there, in their entirety, and for North American's who have never heard "Ah, But Underneath", there is at least one top-drawer Sondheim song in store for them. And Ann Miller does do "I'm Still Here" in the most believable version ever, because Annie was essentially at the end of a phenomenal career - but there's also the joy of her "Can That Boy Fox-Trot", a sly and sneaky little number that "I'm Still Here" replaced....why couldn't Carlotta have sung both of them? All in all, this is where to wisely invest your money and time if you can only have one version.
4.0 out of 5 stars Should have been Complete.....,
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)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. Really, this highlight version is great if you dont want to sit through the concert version. The high points of this CD are "Your'e Gonna Love Tomorrow" "Ah, Paris" and "Broadway Baby" and "Who's that Woman". The lyrics have slang words such as "Chucklehead"or "Scanties" that fit the characters perfectly.
The only thing I like better on the concert version is Carol Burnetts rendition of "I'm Still Here". Still, all in all this a very good investment of your time and money.
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Recording!,
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)Follies was defintely a labor of love for Sondheim. After reading the book, "Everything Was Possible," you realize what a burden it was to get this show to take off. The album isn't complete, and they cut parts of songs and actually cut whole numbers on this CD, but the cast is wonderful. Dorothy Collins is my favorite member of the cast. She has such a warm voice that is just bursting with emotion. She also has a GREAT range. She can belt and also hit Gs! It's like a revalation to hear her sing this role! Buddy isn't very strong vocally, but he is a great actor and is a convincing Buddy. John McMartin is my 2rd favorite Ben, but he is still good. Ben is supposed to have some class, and McMartin doesn't do that for me. George Hearn is my favorite, but McMartin doesa good job. Alexis Smith is great! Her singing isn't amazing, but she just sings her song with great conviction. I still think Dorothy Collins should have gottent he Tony.
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Follies" for the ages,
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)FOLLIES is one of the grandest of Broadway musicals. The original production was a financial and critical disappointment, though quickly the musical gained a cult following thanks to the cast album that was left behind.
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing,
By A Customer
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)FOLLIES, more than any other Sondheim cast album, presents the fascinating question why Sondheim's original casts always seem the perfect embodiment of their characters--far more than is so of the casts of the shows of other writers. One answer may be that Sondheim writes with such depth, substance, and particularity, that his songs require meticulously chosen casts, meticulously and intensely rehearsed. Other musicals's characters, no matter how pleasing the songwriting, are never as dimensional and particular, so the songs can be performed by a wider variety of performer. It may also be that, in fashioning the very first version of the musical, the creators take a much more intense, closer, involvement in every step of creation, including that of the cast album.
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Original Stands.... 'It's Still Here',
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)The fact that Stephen Sondheim's brilliant ode to several composers, still stands as a long-term reminder of good musical theater composing .... well, as the lyric goes, "I'm still here...." FOLLIES was one of the first Broadway musicals to drop the intermission, so that continuity in the plot could be maintained, not broken, and built on. And that it did. By the time the "Loveland" nightmare was flying in, taking over, bulldozing thru, and eventually, losing lustre, we had heard a complete score of several styles, hooks and hangups that has rarely, even today, been matched in such variety and scope. The ONLY REASON to buy this CD, is to have The Original Brdway Cast Album of the show. Well actually, you do get a 'bonus' with the added-in track of "One More Kiss," which was not included in the album's original release, due to LP "space constraints." And it IS a really lovely piece, too. There are a few better recorded revivals, concert versions, and re-stagings of the show, notably the Paper Mill Playhouse's truly COMPLETE recording (FOUR versions of "Lucy and Jessie" numbers all sung by Dee Hoty as 'Phyllis') which is FINALLY one of the recordings to include the elusive dance number, "Bolero D'Amour." But that aside, this first recording is The One to start your FOLLIES journey. I mean, how can one compare, and "Broadway Baby" dream, without the original, huh? <grin> Get it!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars What is good here is very good, but a lot is tedious.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)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 that explains why I took so long actually to buy a copy of "Follies". It's worth quoting: "The central problem, it would, appear, grew out of a conflict between Michael Bennett's desire for a knock-'em-dead musical spectacle and Sondheim and Goldman's darker, more brooding conception....Moreover, the show kept interrupting the story of the two reuniting couples for pastiche numbers celebrating...the styles and artists of the past....Sondheim himself has second-guessed the inclusion of so much pastiche." I'm with "Sondheim himself" on this one.
4.0 out of 5 stars incestuous,
By A Customer
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)This is the Sondheim musical that appeals especially to theatre people. Why? Because it is ABOUT theatre people. The rest of us are likely to find most of its pastiche songs extremely tedious. (I have to say it: It REALLY galls me the oblivious -- or solipsistic -- way theatre people seem reflexively to assume their dressing rooms the entire universe. If they want to sing incessantly songs about themselves, fine -- just so as long as they PAY us, rather than charge us, to listen.)
That much of "Follies"'s score was excluded from this recording is its VIRTUE, not its fault. In fact, it would have been better still pared down to seven songs: 1) "Beautiful Girls", 2) "The Girls Upstairs", 3) "The Road You Didn't Take", 4) "Could I Leave You?", 5) "Losing My Mind", 6) "Jessie and Lucy", and 7) "Live, Laugh, and Love".
Of these seven 1), 5), 6), and 7) are pastiche; 3) and 4) are BRILLIANT pure Sondheim -- why I give the record four stars, not fewer; 5) is a pleasant trifle musically reminiscent of George Gershwin; 6) is funny and witty; and 1), 2), and 7) advance the plot and have a certain rarefied appeal.
4.0 out of 5 stars A show that should be more popular,
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)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. I was not familiar with "Follies" (Sondheim's done a lot of shows, after all!) and was a little lukewarm about the prospect - I listened to the soundtrack and tried to get a picture of what was happening prior to rehearsals and couldn't really figure out what was happening. (I'm a lighting guy, so I don't usually get involved with the show until a couple of weeks before it opens.)
I was absolutely knocked out when we did our first run-through. This show is amazingly powerful - the sense of regret, the enjoyment of memories of good times, the questioning of decisions made. Belivable characters and engaging songs just make it better.
This show often gets overlooked because of its lack of success at its initial release, or the size of the cast. The large cast makes it a great show for community theaters that are interested in getting more people involved, and the "larger-than-life" staging of the show makes it a fun production.
As for this album, well, it's missing a lot. But the performances have lots of chemistry, and it has an authentic feel to it - but don't look for it to introduce you to the show.
4.0 out of 5 stars Love it,
By A Customer
This review is from: Follies (Audio CD)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. I also have the 1985 concert recording which is swell, too. I don't think you can beat the version of Ah, Paris on this CD, though. As other reviewers have noted, it's too bad this has been truncated, but I really think this CD is a necessity in spite of that flaw. It's superb.
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