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“Losing My Mind” Over Follies

August 16th, 2011

Ron Raines & Bernadette Peters. Photo by Joan Marcus.

A co-worker of mine (who just happens to be a very tough critic and the most delightful cranky-pants I know) motioned for me to duck into his office the other day. Fearing the worst, he stared at me and said, “I saw that new Follies last night. Best thing I’ve seen in years.” As I walked dazed back to my cubicle, I officially began to regret pre-ordering tickets to see the Broadway revival (currently in previews) for some time in September . Mid-September?! Why am I not going now? Why am I standing in the middle of the floor, not going left, not going right…and all that jazz?

Yes, it’s official, I’m losing my mind. But for those, like me, who have a long wait ahead before seeing the show and deciding for themselves if Bernadette Peters and company have hit the bulls-eye, let’s wallow in a trough of bizarre and wonderful versions of that torch song of all torch songs.  (Cut to the video after the jump…)

During the long opening tracking shot, I thought this might be Michael Jackson (no jokes, it’s too easy). But it is, of course, Liza with Z doing her techno/Pet Shop Boys version and working the asymmetrical ‘do. (I had the same cut in 1989…my parents should have known something was up.) I actually love this version and am quite sure the whispered ending is exactly what it feels like to go bonkers.

Or how about this version (clink the link, I promise it’s worth it)? Isn’t High School the perfect time to begin your mid-life crisis? I thought seeing a 17 Tevye was odd but…  Actually, this performer has an amazingly mature sound for her age but I can’t help but feel this is a cut scene from Freaky Friday 2 and Mom is going to switch back to her own body soon.

I’m sorry; this clip isn’t “Losing My Mine” or even Follies. But it is the Love Boat Follies, a reunion of old time music theater gals just like the show, and Ann Miller (with her motocycle-sidecar hair) was in the 1998 Paper Mill revival of the musical. Somehow, it just seems to fit…like the straight jacket I’ll be donning until I get to see Follies at last.

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