Monday, May 9, 2011

Sondheim and Kennedy Center

Wrapping up a long weekend in DC...and a break from the rain! Got some needed yard work done (finally!).

Yesterday, we were lucky enough to get the last two tickets to the brand-spankin'-new production of Sondheim's "Follies" at the Kennedy Center. With a $4 million budget, this production has been purported to be the largest musical ever presented at KC, and possibly headed for NYC after its local 6 week run concludes.

Set in the early 70's, the story revolves around a reunion of former Broadway showgirls, who reprise their song and dance numbers, and revisit old yearnings and loves.

We loved the show. From beginning to end, everything was top notch. But nothing was more impressive than the glittering cast--Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Jan Maxwell, Ron Raines, Linda Lavin (you remember the 70's TV show "Alice"?), Terri White...and on and on. They were terrific.
Elaine Paige

Among the great many numbers in the show are "Too Many Mornings," "Losing My Mind," and "I'm Still Here."

The set was hauntingly beautiful. One staged element that was particularly effective was the inclusion of theatrical "ghosts" that wore glamorous if faded glittering gowns...they slowly, silently skulked about the catwalk and periphery taking in the deeds of the "living" characters. In several production numbers, the ghosts shadowed the dancing of the real actors...a wonderful "split-screen" effect that left one to ponder the relationship between events some decades apart.

I found some great YouTube clips online of the 1985 concert production of "Follies" with Barbara Cook, George Hearn, Mandy Patinkin and Carol Burnett. You'll be glad you checked it out. Also, I need to give a special shout out to the very kind and understanding folks working the main box office at KC...I'll spare the details, but they very graciously got me out of an pickle of my own making...THANK YOU!

Jon takes in the view from the Kennedy Center Terrace. National Cathedral and Georgetown appear over his right shoulder.

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