Photo by Don Kellogg

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Encores! pulls off another Sondheim classic - Follies. As always, it's a partially staged "books-in-hand" production at the cavernous City Center for 6 shows only.

The star-studded cast lead by Victor Garber, Victoria Clark, Donna Murphy, Michael McGrath, and Christine Baranski laid all their 40 year old "dirty laundry" on stage for all to enjoy. As the story goes, these guys and gals were all show-folk for Dimitri Weismann (a rival to Ziegfeld) 40 or so years ago and are all back for a reunion at the theater they all used to perform in for one last night since the theater is being torn down to become a parking lot. The supporting cast of reunion-comers , no slouches in their own right, includes Joanne Worley (Laugh-In), Phillip Bosco (Broadway Legend), Yvonne Constant (International/French Cabaret Star), Mimi Hines (Broadway: Funny Girl, Sugar Babies, Hello Dolly, Nunsense, Pippen to name a few), Anne Rogers (Broadway: The Boyfriend, My Fair Lady, 42nd Street and more) and Robert Fitch (over 27 Broadway shows and counting).

Not to be left off the list of those who deserve rave reviews is the "dual cast" of the younger versions of each of these "old-folk". The show weaves in scenes and flashbacks from the past alongside the current dialogue to give the audience a sense of "what really happened". That young cast was powerful, talented, and energetic - much as you would assume these folks all were in the days gone by. They truly provided the "oomph" behind the tap dance numbers and the effortless grace in the dance numbers.

Christine Baranski who played Carlotta Campion sang the signature number I'm Still Here. She hit every line of dialogue with aplomb and left us laughing every time - but her vocal skills need a bit of work. Victoria Clark and Donna Murphy stole the show as the leading ladies. Both have an incredible command of the stage and flawless vocal abilities.

Victor Garber - Wow! For some reason i never expect and always enjoy the vocal powerhouse he is. And let's not forget Mimi Hines who sang the famous Broadway Baby. She knocked our socks off. And Joanne Worley - the ageless funny-gal - she powered thru Who's that Woman - and all but got a standing ovation.

It's not perfect, it's got a few flubs and scant scenery. But with a hit like this one and stars like this one and, of course, the Encores! Orchestra - how could it be anything but an entertaining evening? Sorry, I think it's mostly sold out - but for 5 more shows - it's still here!