Great Performances: Season 14, Episode 10

Follies in Concert (14 Mar. 1986)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
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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 »


Emily WhitmanTheodore Whitman: Relax, and listen to the rain on the roof go plunk planka plink plunk planka plink planka. Let's have a drink and shelter from the showers! Rain, rain, don't go away, fill up the sky, rain through the night, we'll stay cozy and dry.
See more »


Version of Follies See more »

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User Reviews

Sondheim's Amazing Score Delivered by a Powerhouse All-Star Cast
13 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

FOLLIES was one of Stephen Sondheim's most glorious musicals with one of the most memorable scores he has ever written. A huge score and a cast of over 40 major characters, it is a huge undertaking in any form and this concert version was no exception. FOLLIES was the story of a reunion that takes place in a an old theater, about to be demolished, among several follies performers from the past, now in their 50's, 60's, and 70's, reuniting for a final goodbye to their theater, orchestrated by the fictional theatrical director, Dimitri Wiseman. The bulk of the show focuses on four central characters, Ben, Sally, Buddy, and Phyllis. Ben and Sally were in love many years ago, but now Sally is married to Buddy and Ben is married to Phyllis but old feelings eventually find their way to the surface in this landmark musical. Sondheim hand-picked an a amazing cast for this concert, headlined by George Hearn as Ben, Lee Remick as Phyllis, Mandy Patinkin as Buddy and the legendary Barbara Cook as Sally. Hearn and Cook flawlessly perform the haunting duet "Too Many Mornings" in which Ben and Sally explore old feelings. Hearn also scores on "The Road You Didn't Take" and Cook's rendition of "In Buddy's Eyes" is just breathtaking and has become part of her current cabaret act. Remick has a ball with "Could I Leave You?" and "The Story of Lucy and Jesse" and Patinkin stops the show with "Buddy's Blues." Other highlights include Carol Burnett as Carlotta, singing "I'm Still Here" and Broadway legend Elaine Stritch, who brings down the house with "Broadway Baby". Phyllis Newman effectively leads the female ensemble in "Who's that Woman?" and there is an amazing quartet called "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See us Through" which features BABY's Liz Calloway and Broadway's current Phantom, Howard McGillen. The version I saw on Showtime also includes backstage rehearsal footage, showing longtime Sondheim musical director Paul Gemigiani coaching Hearn and Cook on "Too Many Mornings" and Lee Remick and Patinkin sitting in a rehearsal hall, mesmerized as Barbara Cook rehearses "In Buddy's Eyes." There is even a moment with George Hearn moments before curtain where he confesses to writing lyrics he tends to forget on his hand. This concert is a must for all Sondheim fans and FOLLIES fans in particular, since this is probably the closest thing we will ever have to a film version of FOLLIES. Don't miss it...a joy from start to finish.

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