Follies Los Angeles
Three productions of Follies have been featured in Los Angeles theatres since the musical debuted on Broadway in 1971. The first appearance in Century City in 1972 was meant to kick off a national tour following the production's Broadway run, although plans were cut short after Follies failed to meet expectations. Follies returned to California in 2002 following its return to Broadway and West End in 2001 with a Los Angeles revival. Follies returned to the City of Angels in 2012 following another New York revival in 2011.
After appearing in St. Louis, Missouri in July 1972, Follies ran in Los Angeles from 22 July 1972 through 1 October 1972. The musical was performed throughout its run at the Shubert Theatre in Century City. Located at 2020 Avenue of the Stars, the theatre opened in 1972 with the production of Follies. The Shubert accommodated 1,800 theatregoers when it first opened before expanding to 2,100 seats by the time the theatre closed in 2002. After a string of major Broadway productions, the Shubert Theatre was demolished in 2002.
The 1972 Follies production in Los Angeles was directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, the original Broadway directors. It starred by original cast member Dorothy Collins as Sally, who played the leading role during the 1971 Broadway production. Collins was eventually replaced with Janet Blair during the Los Angeles run. Other lead roles were also portrayed by original Broadway actors Alexis Smith as Phyllis, John McMartin as Ben (eventually replaced by Edward Winter), Gene Nelson as Buddy, and Yvonne De Carlo as Carlotta.
In 2001, Follies was revived at the Belasco Theatre in New York City to full houses. The success led to a limited engagement in London's West End in 2002. With success in two of the world's leading theatre markets, Follies returned to Los Angeles as a staged concert on 15 June 2002. The limed run ended on 23 June 2002. The production was put on at Wadsworth Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard and San Vincent Boulevard in Westwood, Los Angeles. Built in 1939 and restored in 2002, the theatre is housed within the West Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs complex. It hosts Broadway and other theatrical productions, as well as concerts, film premieres and the annual Streamy Awards celebrating online video excellence.
The 2001 Los Angeles production of Follies was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman. The musical starred Academy Award winner Patty Duke as Phyllis, Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie as Carlotta, Tony Award nominees Bob Gunton as Ben, Carol Lawrence as Vanessa Grover and Dale as Vincent, and Golden Globe Award winner Stella Stevens as Dee Dee. The musical also starred Vikki Carr as Sally, Harry Groener as Buddy, Warren Berlinger as Dimitri Weismann, Carole Cook as Hattie, Ken Page as Roscoe, Liz Torres as Stella, Amanda McBroom as Solange, Mary Jo Catlett as Emily, Justine Johnston as Heidi, Carole Swarbrick as Christine, Stephen Reed as Kevin, and Billy Barnes as Theodore. Jean Louisa Kelly, Austin Miller, Tia Reibling, Kevin Earley, Abby Feldman, Barbara Chiofalo, Trevor Brackney and Melissa Driscoll played younger versions of lead characters Sally, Buddy, Phyllis, Ben, Stella, Heidi, Vincent and Vanessa, respectively. Hal Linden was originally slated to star as Ben, while Tom Bosley was cast as Dimitri Weismann before leaving the production.
In 2011, Follies returned to New York City with a Broadway and Kennedy Centre production. The New York production was transferred to Los Angeles for a limited engagement in 2012. During its Los Angeles run, Follies was housed at Ahmanson Theatre from 3 May 2012 to 9 June 2012. The theatre is one of four main venues at the Los Angeles Music Center. Opened in 1967, the 2,084-seat Ahmanson Theatre is located at 135 North Grand Avenue in Los Angeles. The 2012 Los Angeles run of Follies featured 46 performances.
The production included most of Follies' 2011 Broadway cast, including Jan Maxwell as Phyllis, Elaine Paige as Carlotta, Ron Raines as Ben, Danny Burstein as Buddy, Terri White as Stella, and Susan Watson as Emily. Maxwell, Burstein and Raines all received 2012 Tony Award nominations for their Broadway performances. Returning cast members also included Colleen Fitzpatrick as Dee Dee West, Michael Hayes as Roscoe, Jayne Houdyshell as Hattie Walker, Florence Lacy as Sandra Crane, Mary Beth Peil as Solange LaFitte, Frederick Strother as Max Deems (later played by Obba Babatunde), Kirsten Scott as Young Phyllis, Lora Lee Gayer as Young Sally, Christian Delcroix as Young Buddy, Leah Horowitz as Young Heidi, and Nick Verina as Young Ben. Replacements included Tony Award winner Victoria Clark, who took over the role of Sally Durant from Bernadette Peters. Clark also played Sally during the 2007 City Center Encores! production of Follies in New York. New cast members also included Grammy Award winner Carol Neblet as Heidi and Tony Award winner Sammy Williams as Theodore. The production was directed by Eric Shaeffer with choreography by Warren Carlyle, both of whom were at the helm of the 2011 Broadway revival.