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Thursday, July 28, 2011

CASTING: Follies

Last week, the full Broadway company of the revival of  Follies was announced just as the cast went into rehearsals.  The Sondheim musical, last revived in 2001, is scheduled to begin previews at the Marquis Theatre on August 7, with opening night set for September 12.  Currently, the show is a limited engagement through December 30, 2011.  The revival comes from the Kennedy Center, whose last Broadway outing, Ragtime, was acclaimed, but short-lived.

Two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods) stars as Sally Durant Plummer, along with four-time Tony nominee Jan Maxwell (Lend Me a Tenor, The Royal Family, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Phyllis Rogers Stone, two-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein (South Pacific, Women on the Verge...) as Buddy Plummer and three-time Emmy Award nominee Ron Raines (Chicago, Teddy and Alice) as Benjamin Stone.

Don Correia (Singin' in the Rain, My One and Only), who was a stand-by in the 2001 Broadway revival of Follies, will play song-and-dance man Theodore Whitman opposite previously announced Tony Award nominee Susan Watson (the original Broadway Kim McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie) as Emily Whitman.
Bernadette Peters

Rounding out the Follies cast of showgirls and their stage door Johnnys are Olivier Award winner Elaine Paige (Sunset Boulevard) as Carlotta Campion, Rosalind Elias (Broadway debut!) as Heidi Schiller, Colleen Fitzpatrick (Passion, Sunday in the Park with George - revival) as Dee Dee West, Michael Hayes (A Midsummer Night's Dream) as Roscoe, Tony nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Wicked, Well, The Importance of Being Earnest) as Hattie Walker, Florence Lacey (Hello, Dolly! -78 and 95, Evita) as Sandra Crane, Tony nominee Mary Beth Peil (The King and I, Women on the Verge...) as Solange LaFitte, David Sabin (The Yearling, Celebration) as Dimitri Weismann, Frederick Strother (Broadway debut!) as Max Deems, Terri White (Chicago, Finian's Rainbow, Barnum) as Stella Deems, Christian Delcroix (South Pacific) as Young Buddy, Nick Verina (Broadway debut!) as Young Ben, Lora Lee Gayer (Broadway debut!) as Young Sally, Kirsten Scott (Broadway debut!) as Young Phyllis and Leah Horowitz (White Christmas, Les Miserables - revival) as Young Heidi.

The ensemble includes Lawrence Alexander (Broadway debut), Brandon Bieber (Mary Poppins), John Carroll (Women on the Verge), Mathew deGuzman (Broadway debut), Sara Edwards (White Christmas), Leslie Donna Flesner (Finian's Rainbow), Jenifer Foote (Rock of Ages, A Chorus Line), Suzanne Hylenski (Mary Poppins), Danielle Jordan (Broadway debut!), Joseph Kolinski (Titanic, Les Miserables - original production) Amanda Kloots-Larsen (Broadway debut!), Brittany Marcin (Curtains), Erin N. Moore (Broadway debut), Pamela Otterson (West Side Story), Clifton Samuels (Broadway debut!), Kiira Schmidt (White Christmas), Brian Shepard (Young Frankenstein, Spamalot), Jessica Sheridan (Broadway debut!), Amos Wolff (Broadway debut) and Ashley Yeater (The Producers).
Danny Burstein (center)

Considering the generational themes of the show, isn't it interesting that generations of Broadway talent are represented in this 41 member cast?  13 cast members are making their Broadway debuts with this production, while several more have only a few recent shows to their credit. 
Broadway debutantes Lora Lee Gayer and Nick Verina

Then there are those cast members with decades of experience likt Terri White, who starred in the original company of Barnum.  Or Susan Watson, who originated the role of Kim in the original 1961 production of Bye Bye Birdie. Or London theatre legend Elaine Paige, the very first Eva Peron, Grizabella, and one of Broadway's Norma Desmonds.  And of course, there is leading lady Bernadette Peters' storied career, filled with originating roles in Sondheim shows, and working with all the great composers including Sondheim, Webber, Herman and Hamlisch.  She made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Most Happy Fella in 1959.  But nothing compares to Michael Hayes, who made his debut in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1954!  And get this - he hasn't been back until now.  57 years between Broadway openings!  Welcome back, Mr. Hayes!

(Photos of the Kennedy Center production by Joan Marcus.)

REMINDER:  Be sure to check this blog on Monday, August 1 for details on my latest contest!  The prize?  TICKETS TO FOLLIES ON BROADWAY!


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Jeff
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