Following its 1971 Broadway debut, Follies was transferred to St. Louis and Century City, California in 1972. Revived in 1985, the musical was staged at the Forum Theatre in Greater Manchester, England and New York's Lincoln Center before its West End debut in 1987. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the musical has been revived and performed in the United States, Great Britain and Australia on several occasions. The first major opera company in the United States to put on Follies was the Michigan Opera Theatre. The Detroit-based company presented the musical as part of their main state repertoire in 1988.
About the Production
Produced by the Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT), the musical was performed at Detroit's historic Fisher Theatre. The Follies revival ran from 21 October to 6 November 1988. While much of the production mirrored the original 1971 Broadway version, some changes were made for the Fisher Theatre. Most notably, "The God-Why-Don't You-Love-Me Blues" was placed before "The Story of Lucy and Jessie", which was followed by "Losing My Mind".
The Michigan Operate Theatre's production of Follies included Tony Award nominee Nancy Dussault as Sally Durant Plummer, Emmy and Tony Award winner Edie Adams as Carlotta Campion, Juliet Prowse as Phyllis Rogers Stone, John-Charles Kelly as Buddy Plummer, Thelma Lee as Hattie Walker, Dennis Grimaldi as Vincent, and Ron Raines as Benjamin Stone. Raines would reprise the role of Ben in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts production of Follies in 2011, which was transferred to Broadway that same year. Raines' performance at the Marquis Theatre in New York City earned him a 2012 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. The Detroit cast also featured Mary Ellen Ashley as Stella Deems, Henrietta Hermelin as Emily Whitman, Tom Galantich as Young Ben, and Sylvia Rhyne as Young Phyllis.
The Michigan Opera Theatre produced Follies, supported by the company's general director David DiChiera. The opera company performs primarily at the Detroit Opera House, typically presenting four operas each season. In addition to opera, the company also showcases musical theatre productions. Charles Abbott led the Michigan production of Follies as its director. Choreography was provided by Mary Jane Houdina, while the production's musical director was Glen Clugston.
Located at the landmark Fisher Building, the Fisher Theatre is one of Detroit's oldest live theatre venues. Completed in 1928, the art deco skyscraper and its theatre are situated in the New Center area of the city at 3011 West Grand Boulevard. Originally built with ornate an Aztec-themed interior in the Mayan Revival style, the theatre served as a movie house. In 1961, the Fisher Theatre was converted into a playhouse with simpler design. Originally seating 3,500 spectators, the 2,089-seat Fisher Theatre was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It serves as the home of travelling Broadway shows and has hosted a number of premieres, including productions of Hello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, Golden Boy, and Sweet Charity.