How Long Does Follies Last

How Long Does Follies Last

Do you want to know how long a production of Follies can endure? In this article, we’ll explore the factors that contribute to the longevity of Stephen Sondheim’s iconic musical. From the challenges of staging to the impact of casting and set design, we’ll delve into the elements that make or break a production. We’ll also examine the history of Follies on Broadway and its various revivals. If you’re a fan or curious about theater, join us as we uncover the question: How long does Follies really last?

Historical Background of Follies

To understand the historical background of Follies, let’s delve into the creation and initial reception of this iconic musical. Follies holds immense historical significance in the realm of musical theater. It debuted on Broadway on April 4, 1971, at the Winter Garden Theatre, directed by Harold Prince and co-directed by Michael Bennett. The show explored the loss of innocence in America between the wars, symbolized by the Ziegfeld Follies. Its development process was initially centered around a murder mystery plot, but Stephen Sondheim and Jim Goldman ultimately decided to focus on creating an atmosphere rather than a complex narrative. This decision has had a lasting impact on the show’s relevance today, as it allows for different interpretations and resonates with audiences on a deeper emotional level. Follies has had a significant cultural impact, earning seven Tony Awards in 1972 and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. Its exploration of nostalgia, regret, and the passage of time continues to captivate audiences and inspire future generations of theater artists. The inspirational sources for Follies, including the annual reunion of Ziegfeld Girls, have contributed to its enduring legacy as a beloved and thought-provoking musical.

Challenges in Staging Follies

When staging Follies, you will face numerous challenges due to its complex nature and reputation as a difficult musical to produce. Casting difficulties can arise as actors need to convincingly portray former Ziegfeld girls and deliver iconic songs with impact. Technical limitations may also pose challenges, especially when dealing with the scale of the production. Directorial choices play a crucial role in reimagining the concept and bringing the show to life. The authenticity of the characters can be undermined if the actors fail to deliver emotionally and lack comedic timing. The set design and atmosphere are important factors in creating the right mood, and a cramped or inadequate set can contribute to a sense of gloom. Audience reception is another challenge as the production needs to resonate with theatergoers and meet their expectations. Overall, staging Follies requires careful casting, strategic technical planning, thoughtful directorial choices, and a keen understanding of how to engage and captivate the audience.

Impact of Casting on the Production

Casting in the production of Follies plays a crucial role in determining the success and impact of the show. The casting choices made by director Eric Schaeffer can greatly affect the overall quality of the production. Here are some key points to consider regarding the impact of casting on the production:

  1. Acting skills: The actors’ abilities to convincingly portray their characters is essential in bringing the story to life. In Schaeffer’s Follies, the actresses fail to effectively portray former Ziegfeld girls, which undermines the authenticity of the characters.
  2. Character portrayal: The way the actors portray their characters can greatly impact the audience’s connection to the story. In this production, the lackluster delivery and physicality of the actors result in iconic songs lacking impact and emotional depth.
  3. Performance impact: The overall impact of the production can be hindered by casting flaws. In Schaeffer’s Follies, the weak casting choices lead to a lack of connection between the older women and their younger selves, which is a major flaw in the revival.
  4. Casting flaws: It is important to recognize that casting flaws can negatively impact the production. Schaeffer’s Follies suffers from weak casting and amateurish performances, which ultimately detract from the overall quality of the show.

Set Design and Atmosphere

Now let’s delve into the subtopic of ‘Set Design and Atmosphere’ as we explore the impact of the production’s set and the overall atmosphere it creates. In the production of Follies, the aesthetic choices made in the set design contribute significantly to the atmosphere of the show. The set, designed to evoke a crumbling theater rather than a grand vaudeville palace, adds to the sense of decay and ruin. The lighting design further enhances this atmosphere, with dim and muted lighting that creates a somber and melancholic mood. Stage props are strategically placed to highlight the dilapidated state of the theater, reinforcing the theme of decay. Costume design also plays a role in creating the overall atmosphere, with costumes that reflect the faded glamour and nostalgia of the characters. Additionally, sound effects are used to further immerse the audience in the world of the show, such as the creaking of floorboards or the distant sound of applause. Overall, the set design and atmosphere in Follies contribute to the portrayal of a fading era and the characters’ struggles with their pasts.

Characterization and Performances

The performances in Follies are crucial to the characterization of the characters and their emotional depth. The actors’ choices and abilities greatly impact the audience’s connection to the story. Here are four key elements of the performances in Follies:

  1. Character development: The actors must effectively portray the complex inner lives of the characters. This requires a deep understanding of their motivations, desires, and conflicts. Skillful acting choices bring these nuances to life, allowing the audience to empathize with the characters’ struggles.
  2. Emotional depth: Follies explores themes of regret, nostalgia, and longing. The actors must convey the emotional weight of these experiences through their performances. This requires a keen sense of vulnerability and the ability to tap into the depths of their characters’ emotions.
  3. Comedic timing: While Follies delves into heavy emotional territory, it also includes moments of humor. The actors must master comedic timing to deliver the punchlines and bring levity to the production. Skillful execution of comedic moments enhances the overall theatrical experience.
  4. Audience connection: The performances in Follies should create a strong connection between the actors and the audience. This connection is achieved through authentic and compelling portrayals that resonate with the audience’s own experiences. When the actors succeed in creating this connection, the audience becomes fully immersed in the story and its characters.

Broadway Revivals of Follies

The Broadway revivals of Follies have showcased the enduring popularity and significance of the musical in the Broadway community. Both the 2001 and 2011 revivals received critical acclaim and were well-received by audiences. These revivals demonstrated the enduring popularity of Follies and its ability to captivate and engage audiences across different time periods.

The Broadway reception of these revivals was highly positive, with critics praising the memorable performances and creative direction. The cast of both revivals included talented actors such as Judith Ivey, Blythe Danner, Gregory Harrison, Treat Williams, Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Ron Raines, and Danny Burstein. These actors brought depth and authenticity to their respective roles, capturing the essence of the characters and delivering powerful performances.

The enduring popularity of Follies was evident in the success of these revivals. Audiences flocked to see the show, drawn by its compelling storytelling, iconic songs, and stunning production design. The revivals brought new life to the musical, introducing it to a new generation of theatergoers and reaffirming its status as a beloved classic.

The creative direction of these revivals played a crucial role in their success. Directors and designers worked together to create visually stunning and emotionally resonant productions. The sets, costumes, and lighting all contributed to the overall atmosphere and storytelling of the show, enhancing the audience’s experience and immersing them in the world of Follies.

Trivia About Follies

Let’s delve into some intriguing trivia about Follies, building upon the enduring popularity and significance of this beloved musical in the Broadway community. Here are some fascinating tidbits about this iconic production:

  1. Behind the scenes stories: Follies was originally titled ‘The Girls Upstairs’ and was conceived as a murder mystery. However, Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman decided to shift the focus to creating an atmospheric experience with minimal plot. This decision ultimately shaped the show’s exploration of the loss of innocence in America between the wars, symbolized by the Ziegfeld Follies.
  2. Broadway trivia: Harold Prince, renowned director and producer, holds the record for the most Tony Awards won by anyone, with a staggering total of twenty. Follies is notable because it is the only production where Prince and Michael Bennett shared directorial credit.
  3. Playbill’s process: Playbill’s photo team captured memorable moments from the Broadway scene in 2023, showcasing the vibrancy and diversity of the theater community. The behind-the-lens stories provided insights into the creative process of capturing these moments, demonstrating the talent and skill of the Playbill team.
  4. Capturing Broadway moments: Follies has had a lasting impact on Broadway, with multiple revivals and a legacy that continues to resonate. The show’s enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless themes and memorable music, making it a cherished part of the Broadway canon.

These trivia tidbits offer a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes stories, Broadway trivia, Playbill’s process, and the enduring popularity of Follies. It is through these details that we can appreciate the rich history and significance of this beloved musical in the Broadway community.

Duration of Follies Productions

Follies Productions have had varying durations, ranging from months to over a year. The original Broadway production of Follies opened on April 4, 1971, at the Winter Garden Theatre and ran for 522 performances, closing on July 1, 1972. This production received critical acclaim, earning seven Tony Awards and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.

Since its original run, Follies has been produced internationally, with productions in venues such as The Muny, Avery Fisher Hall, and the West End. These international productions have varied in duration, depending on factors such as audience demand and critical reception.

The Broadway revivals of Follies in 2001 and 2011 also had different durations. The 2001 revival ran for 114 performances, while the 2011 revival had a longer run of 152 performances. Both revivals were well-received by audiences and critics alike, showcasing the enduring popularity and significance of Follies in the Broadway community.

The choreography of Follies has had a significant impact on its productions. The original production, with choreography by Michael Bennett, was praised for its innovative and intricate dance numbers. The revival productions have also paid homage to Bennett’s choreography, incorporating his iconic moves while adding their own interpretations.

Follies has had a lasting influence on future musicals, with its exploration of themes such as loss of innocence and the passage of time. Its complex characters and introspective songs have inspired and influenced other musicals, showcasing the lasting impact of Follies on the musical theater genre.



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