Terri White (center) in the Kennedy Center revival of “Follies.” (Photo: Joan Marcus)
By Matthew Wexler
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Follies, Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s haunting tribute to the world of the theater. The musical opened on April 4, 1971, at the Winter Garden Theatre and ran for 534 performances.
Follies‘ original production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Musical for Alexis Smith’s performance as Phyllis Stone. Still, it eluded the coveted Best New Musical prize, which went to Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Follies has long captivated artists and audiences alike and was revived on Broadway in 2001, then again in 2011, starring Bernadette Peters. The West End has seen several productions as well, first in 1987, followed by the critically acclaimed 2017 revival featuring Imelda Staunton.
Concert versions have also wowed crowds, including the 1985 Lincoln Center production at Avery Fisher Hall with an all-star cast including Barbara Cook (Sally), George Hearn (Ben), Mandy Patinkin (Buddy), Lee Remick (Phyllis), and a powerful performance by Carol Burnett as Carlotta, singing one of Sondheim’s most famous songs, “I’m Still Here.”
Here’s a look at some of our favorite Follies moments!