Stars Shine at Follies Lincoln Centre Manhattan

The Follies at Lincoln Center, Manhattan

In 1985, when Follies opened at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan, it was an updated version of a musical, whose original score connected with social issues of its time. Broadway shows in 1971 specialised in sugar-coated musicals at one end of the spectrum. Theatrical performances were busy investigating sagas, like Watergate and America's most recent war in Vietnam. Follies was a strange hybrid between candy and candour, and a breath of fresh air for musical theatre audiences.

Follies In Concert Soundtrack wins Grammy Award

Two performances at Avery Fisher Hall on September 6 and 7, 1985 followed a run of performances in London and Manchester earlier that year. New up-tempo tunes were added to Follies in the UK, however home performances saw a strict adherence to the original musical score by Stephen Sondheim. The purpose of the Lincoln Centre performances in Manhattan was to record Follies in Concert.

A star studded performance produced a double LP comprising all original Follies musical tracks from 1971, with the second LP containing Sondheim's score to the 1974 film Stravinsky. The album went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Show Album in 1986.

Follies Revived by Loyal Followers

The phenomenal success of Follies in Concert, as recorded at the Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, Manhattan, is attributed to the cult following Follies attracted. The original 1971 production at New York's Winter Garden had to close, having lost its entire investment of $800,000. Sondheim's score was considered magnificent, and had won a Tony Award for Best Score in 1972. The production itself was nominated for eleven awards and won seven. Many remembered how fantastic the show was, and in 1985, a star-studded cast gathered to do homage to the magnificent soundtrack.

Big Stars of Musical Theatre and Acting Record Follies

The two nights of recording included participants who thrilled the audiences of September 6 and 7, 1985, with incredible vocal performances of Follies and Stravinsky songs by Sondheim. Carol Burnett, more well known by her TV variety show; The Carol Burnett Show, achieved accolades for her performance as Carlotta, singing I'm Still Here. French actress, dancer, and singer Liliane Montevecchi played Solange La Fitte. Recently famous for her performance as Liliane La Fleur in Nine, Montevecchi had just won a Tony Award for Best Musical Actress.

Famous musical theatre actress Barbara Cook, known as one of the premier interpreters of Sondheim's works, thrilled the crowds gathered at the Lincoln Centre, in her role as Sally Durant. Elaine Stritch, who played Hattie Walker, is more recently known for her TV acting roles as Jack Donaghy's mother in 30 Rock and a guest role in Law and Order for which she won an Emmy Award.

The prestige of recording Follies at the Lincoln Center in 1985 showcases Sondheim's score with the highest regard. The Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan is home to the New York Opera, The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the New York City Ballet. Follies had finally received the great recording it deserved.