Follies – Avery Fisher Concert 1985; Stavisky – Soundtrack 1974
A reunion for all the past members of “Weismann’s Follies” (a fictional musical revue modeled on the Ziegfeld Follies) is being held in a derelict Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, that was once home to the revue. The spare plot revolves around two couples at the party, Sally Durant and her husband Buddy Plummer, and Phyllis Rogers, married to Ben Stone. Sally and Phyllis, like many other guests, were once showgirls in the Follies; their mates were stage-door Johnnys. Both of their marriages are headed for the rocks: Buddy, a traveling salesman, has a mistress in another town, and Ben, a prosperous businessman, is so distracted by his own demons that his wife Phyllis feels abandoned. To make matters worse, Sally has been in love with Ben ever since her old days as a showgirl. During the first half of the show, the old belters and hoofers reprise their musical numbers from the “Follies,” often accompanied by the ghosts of their youthful selves. (The songs borrow their styles from popular 1930s songwriters like George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Cole Porter.) The last part of the show comprises a series of vaudevillian numbers that explore the personal turmoils of the main characters, interrelating both with each other and with their own avatars in the past. The party-reunion ends with a big production number in praise of “Beautiful Girls.” Stavisky (1974) In the course of his brilliant career as a Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim made infrequent forays into the movie world, notably contributing the songs Madonna performed in Dick Tracy, directed by Warren Beatty in 1990; writing the score for Reds, also directed by Beatty in 1981; or co-writing the script for the puzzle thriller The Last of Sheila, directed by Herbert Ross in 1971. But one of his most eloquent efforts was the series of cues he created for Stavisky, the film directed by Alain Resnais in 1974, about a con artist and swindler whose life in crime almost toppled the government of the French Third Republic. Set in the 1930s, the story found an echo in the score Sondheim composed for the occasion, replete with catchy tunes that evoke the period even as they provide the right musical ambiance.
Dimitri Weismann: André Gregory Roscoe: Arthur Rubin Sally Durant Plummer: Barbara Cook Benjamin Stone: George Hearn Young Buddy: Jim Walton Young Ben: Howard McGillin Buddy Plummer: Mandy Patinkin Phyllis Rogers Stone: Lee Remick Young Sally: Liz Callaway Young Phyllis: Daisy Prince Emily Whitman: Betty Comden Theodore Whitman: Adolph Green Solange Lafitte: Liliane Montevecchi Hattie Walker: Elaine Stritch Stella Deems: Phyllis Newman Carlotta Campion: Carol Burnett Heidi Schiller: Licia Albanese Young Heidi: Erie Mills Chorus: Ronn Carroll, Susan Cella, Robert Hendersen, Frank Kopyc, Marti Morris, Ted Sperling, Susan Terry, Sandra Wheeler Dancers: Karen Fraction, Jamie M. Pisano, Elvera Sciarra