On the Record: New Broadway cast recording of 'Follies"
Under Old Business from 2011, I've got a whole bunch of recordings that I never managed to hear.
I figured I would try to get through a few of them before we get too much deeper into 2012, and a music theater gem seemed like a good place to start.
One of the great events of the Mid-Atlantic theater season in 2011 was the Kennedy Center’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s innovative, transporting “Follies,” with a cast headed by Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Elaine Paige, Ron Raines and Danny Burstein.
The show, with some change of personnel, went on to Broadway, where it earned another round of critical acclaim. The new cast recording (PS Classics, two discs) explains what the fuss is all about.
This may not be definitive in every detail -- will any version of “Follies” ever be that? -- but it is filled with involving performances. And, in a bonus of Sondheim addicts, a good deal of dialogue is included on the two-disc set (a handsomely illustrated booklet adds to the appeal). The result is quite a vivid representation of the actual theatrical experience.
Peters is ...
Other highlights include Elaine Paige’s vibrant “I’m Still Here,” and Jayne Houdyshell’s “Broadway Baby,” which seems to have a little, welcome dash of Elaine Stritch in it. <>The recorded sound is excellent, allowing the score, conducted by James Moore, to register with an immediacy and warmth that brings out subtleties as tellingly as the jazzy splashes.