I finally saw the revival of Follies at the Marquis Theatre last night after putting it off for way too long. The only exposure I had to Follies was at the Encores production back in 2006-ish. It had an all-star cast but the show just fell flat for me, hence why I wasn’t running to see it this time. My main motivation to see this revival? Ms. Jan Maxwell.
First and foremost I loved the direction of this production. The spirits of the Follies’ girls former selves looming in the background the entire show was incredibly powerful. Danny Burstein, as Buddy Plummer, was absolutely heart breaking and a shoe-in for a Tony nod. Follies was my first time, believe it or not, seeing Bernadette Peters live on-stage. She is wonderful, but her voice at times let me a little underwhelmed. She was great as Sally Durant Plummer regardless. But Jan Maxwell? Oh, Jan Maxwell. She is a triple threat to be reckoned with. I’ve always known this but it still shocks me every time I see her live onstage. She plays Phyllis Rogers Stone with grace, sass, and unending energy. She blows the roof off the Marquis in the second act twice with Could I Leave You? and then The Story of Lucy and Jessie. Hopefully this is the role that wins Maxwell her first Tony Award (finally!).
I think the problem with Follies is the show itself. The way it’s written makes it feel very disjointed and kind of like each scene isn’t part of the same show. This show is classic and interesting with a top notch cast. If you’re in town, it’s definitely worth a viewing.
(photo via Playbill)