Special to 1812Blockhouse
When a legendary theatre falls into disrepair, a group of former performers joins together to say a tearful goodbye. Follies takes audiences on the journey of reflecting on the golden age and all the memories it holds. Performed with audiences onstage along with the cast, this intimate performance is one you do not want to miss coming to the Renaissance stage on April 14th, 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.
The plot takes place in a crumbling Broadway theater, now scheduled for demolition, previously home to a musical revue, The Weismann Follies. (Based upon the famous Ziegfeld Follies.) The evening follows a reunion of the Weismann Girls, often accompanied by the ghosts of their younger selves. Legendary composer/lyricist, Stephen Sondheim uses traditional conventions of the musical theatre genre to reveal the hollowness and falsity of our early hopes and dreams – and the delusion we employ to deal with the disappointments we all encounter. The emotional high generated by the reunion of the Follies girls ultimately gives way to anger, disappointment, and weary resignation to reality. From the very first note of the Prologue, ghosts of Follies showgirls stalk the stage, mythic giants in winged, feathered, black-and-white opulence, as the main characters try desperately to regain their youth through re-creations of their performances of their past.
Follies is one of Stephen Sondheims’ most lauded masterpieces. A mixture of nostalgic, sentimental melodies, gut-wrenching ballads, and sweeping production numbers, set against a backdrop of a crumbling Broadway theatre filled with a cast of aging characters who are looking back at their lives with a mixture of delusion and regret. It contains some of Sondheim’s most famous songs, including I’m Still Here, Broadway Baby, Losing My Mind, Too Many Mornings, Beautiful Girls and You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow.
Direction and musical direction by Michael Thomas, Set Design by Jason Kaufman, lighting and sound by Aaron Nicolas, Assistant director: Nik Demers, costumes by Linda Turske, choreography by Caroline Grace Williams. Equity guest artist, Angela Iannone stars as Phyllis Rogers Stone, alongside Leah Gesouras, Beau Roberts, and Drew Traxler as Sally Durant Plummer, Buddy Plummer, and Benjamin Stone. Adena Williams as Carlotta, Stephanie Hayslip as Stella, Jacque Workman as Hattie, Melinda Tishue as Solange, Robert Hardin Leeth as Roscoe, Lori Turner as Heidi, Wayne Au as Weissman, Maggie Scilia as Young Heidi, Kathryn Moir as Young Phyllis, Jamie Mayfield as Young Sally and Jimmy Lancaster as Young Ben. Rounding out the company are Dee Jones, Madison Kearney, Zakari Ramos, Carter King, and Emily Bare as Young Carlotta.
The award-winning actress, writer, and educator, Angela Iannone, makes her Renaissance debut as Phyllis Rogers Stone. Angela has spent most of her long career in Milwaukee and Chicago where she won the Broadway World Award, the Footlights Award, and The Joseph Jefferson Award and received grants and fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and Lunt/Fontaine/Ten Chimneys. She received her undergraduate degree from Wright State University and her graduate degree from Illinois State University.
Enjoy a night of beautiful music and entertainment at the Renaissance Theatre. Follies Premieres Friday, April 14th at 8:00 pm with additional performances Saturday, April 15th at 8:00 pm, Sunday, April 16th at 2:30 pm, Friday, April 21st at 8:00 pm, Saturday, April 22nd at 8:00 pm, and closes Sunday, April 23rd at 2:30 pm at the Renaissance Theatre, 138 Park Avenue West, Mansfield, OH. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Renaissance box office, by phone at 419-522-2726, or by visiting the Ren’s website: rentickets.org.
Source, Photo: Renaissance Performing Arts Association