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‘Follies’ arrives with its mix of splendor, sadness

Dan Webster

Above: Imelda Staunton stars in the musical "Follies," which will screen on Sunday at Regal Northtown Mall. (Photo/Fathom Events)

It’s been more than 50 years since the Stephen Sondheim musical “Follies” opened on Broadway.

Co-directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, with Bennett overseeing the choreography, the musical eventually ran for 500 shows and was nominated for 11 Tonys (winning seven, including Prince for direction and Bennett for choreography) before closing – only to be revived for years to come.

“Follies” comes alive again in a special National Theatre Live event that will be screened at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Regal Cinemas theater at Northtown Mall.

Directed by Dominic Cooke, the production is based on a 2017 revival at London’s National Theatre. It stars Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee and Tracie Bennett.

“Based on the book by (James) Goldman and with music and lyrics by Sondheim,” wrote the Hollywood Reporter,” ‘Follies’ centers (on) a reunion of former musical revue performers. The show features classic songs like ‘Broadway Baby,’ ‘I’m Still Here’ and ‘Losing My Mind’ as it pays tribute to American theater traditions of the 1930s and ’40s.

The Guardian gave the London revival a rave review: “Imelda Staunton is unforgettable in Dominic Cooke’s ingenious revival of a musical that perfectly fuses splendour and poetic sadness.”

Not a bad blend, not even on a Sunday afternoon.

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