Top: Ron Raines and Bernadette Peters (and their ghostly counterparts) in the Broadway production of “Follies.” (Photo © Joan Marcus)
Bottom: Susan Moniz and Robert Petkoff in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “Follies.” (Photo: Peter Bosy)
The challenge: To see two productions of Follies within four days of each other and determine which production is the winner.
The background: I’m traveling to New York the week of October 3 for work stuff, and staying through the weekend to see friends and shows. And of course I’m seeing the Broadway revival of Follies on October 8. I’d be stupid not to. Not only is it one of my favorite musicals, but it’ll be my first time seeing theatre icon Bernadette Peters onstage. (I know, right?)
But then, four days later on October 12, I’m seeing Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s highly anticipated production of Follies directed by Gary Griffin. While we don’t get powerhouse names like Peters, we get some classy Chicago actresses like Susan Moniz (in the Peters role) and Hollis Resnik (in the role West End musical diva Elaine Paige is playing on Broadway) along with international actress Caroline O’Connor as Phyllis (who’s played on Broadway by Jane Maxwell).
The Great ‘Follies’ Smack-down of 2011: We all like categorizing things as “losers” and “winners” right? It’s how society functions. So, following both productions, I think a blog post pitting the two productions together is in order, don’t you? Potential categories include:
“Most Emotionally Needy Sally”
“Bitchiest ‘Could I Leave You'”
“Best Ben Emotional Breakdown”
“Fiercest Mirror Number”
“Most Eye-popping Loveland Transition”
The production leading in the most categories will be declared the WINNER of The Great ‘Follies’ Smack-down of 2011! And therefore, another production is, well, the loser. (But, really: any chance to see a well-realized production of Follies is a winning opportunity in my book.)
Other NYC show recommendations? Per the recommendation of a friend who’s threatened to never speak to me again if I didn’t get a ticket, I’m seeing Arias with a Twist. It looks amazing and scary. Anything else I should be adding to my NYC theatre-going list? Comment away!