Great Performances: Season 14, Episode 10

Follies in Concert (14 Mar. 1986)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 128 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

Film of the legendary 1985 concert performance presented by the New York Philharmonic of Stephen Sondheim's classic musical at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. The plot of the musical ... See full summary »



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Title: Follies in Concert (14 Mar 1986)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Andre Gregory ...
Arthur Rubin ...
Sally Durant Plummer
Benjamin Stone
Jim Walton ...
Young Buddy
Young Ben
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Young Sally
Daisy Prince ...
Young Phyllis
Betty Comden ...
Emily Whitman
Adolph Green ...
Theordore Whitman
Liliane Montevecchi ...
Solange Lafitte
Phyllis Newman ...
Stella Deems


Film of the legendary 1985 concert performance presented by the New York Philharmonic of Stephen Sondheim's classic musical at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. The plot of the musical centers around a reunion of showgirls who appeared in an annual Follies extravaganza when it was staged between the wars. Sally and Phyllis are two of these former showgirls, now middle-aged. Sally is married to Buddy, and Phyllis is married to Ben. Sally is unhappy with Buddy, and still is madly in love with Ben after a brief affair they had when they were younger. Phyllis is going to divorce Ben, so all seems right. But the reason Phyllis is divorcing Ben is because he is incapable of showing real, genuine love. Will Sally truly be happy if she leaves Buddy and marries Ben? Okay, the plot isn't much, but the songs are wonderful. The show features frequent "pastiche numbers" in which other former showgirls perform numbers in the style of the period in which this Follies was staged. These numbers, ... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

14 March 1986 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Follies" opened at the Winter Garden Theater in New York on April 4, 1971, ran for 522 performances and was nominated for the 1972 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score. See more »


Buddy: Waiting around for the girls upstairs, after the curtain came down; money in my pocket to spend; "Honey, could you maybe get a friend for my friend?"
Ben: Hearing the sounds of the girls above, dressing to go on the town...
Buddy: Clicking heels on steel and cement...
Ben: Picking up the giggles floating down through the vent...
BuddyBen: God damnedest hours that I ever spent were waiting for the girls upstairs!
See more »


Version of Follies See more »

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User Reviews

Such a delight to watch
4 October 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Follies is one of Stephen Sondheim's best from personal opinion. Difficult both vocally and in terms of staging- Sondheim at his most large-scale probably- but the music is simply beautiful and the lyrics clever and witty. The story is very charming and relateable as well. Follies in Concert is a delight, abbreviated rather than complete which may disappoint fans. But because it is so well done and interesting it works just beautifully. Some of the performance scenes are too short and there could have been more too. However, the behind the scenes and rehearsal footage is of great interest, and the performers seem really natural and fully engaged when interviewed. Elaine Stritch's personality just comes to life, and George Hearn from what is heard from it is remarkably candid. The performance and documentary scenes are all well shot and edited, and the sound doesn't undermine the impact of the score too much. The orchestral playing is grand in every word, the rousing numbers have their punch and the more understated ones of haunting quality. The performances are just outstanding and in most cases probably definitive as well, Elaine Stritch and Barbara Cook(In Buddy's Eyes is guaranteed to leave anybody hearing or seeing it in awe) are particularly true to this, while Mandy Patinkin makes the role of Buddy his own and shines doing that and one of the greatest Sondheim interpreters George Hearn sings magnificently with great musicality and technique as well as with a communicative and authoritative presence. Carol Burnett and Phyllis Newman comes across really naturally also. All in all, delightful, very little to complain about apart from some of the performance segments being too short and too few. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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