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September 21, 2011

The No. 1 Reason To See: Follies

by Jesse North

follies broadway musical revival poster sondheim bernadette petersIf there’s a lesson to learn from Follies, it’s “Don’t look back.” Because if you do, there’s only a mess there. Featuring a fearsome foursome of Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, and Ron Raines, this revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s musical follows a group of former showgirls who gather for a reunion at the theater where they once basked in the spotlight before it’s demolished into a parking lot. What seems to be an innocent trip down memory lane exposes the cracks of marriage and the open wounds of regret for the two main couples.

The No. 1 Reason To See Follies: Bernadette Peters’ performance of “In Buddy’s Eyes”
Confessing to the man she always loved, but never married, Peters’ Sally sings a song about her husband Buddy’s enduring love and admiration for her. Beginning as a boastful jab at Ben—the man who didn’t choose her—Sally seems to be flaunting in his face that her husband sees her as an ageless princess, a “prize,” after all these years. But in the second half of the song, Peters breaks elegantly as her attempted dig becomes more of a reflection of all she’s holding on to than vengeance. For in Buddy’s eyes, Sally is “young and beautiful,” the very ideals she fears losing. Peters, who has built a stage legacy around being larger than life (despite being so wee), appears as small and fragile as a mouse (a direct reflection of how Sally feels) during “In Buddy’s Eyes.” Instead of grandness, she conjures a concentrated spotlight during the number, which focuses beautifully on her fear and vulnerability. “In Buddy’s Eyes” is a quiet, graceful moment among a show of consecutive show stoppers.

Follies student rush policy: On sale when the box office opens, up to two tickets per person will be sold for $37, cash only.

follies broadway musical revival bernadette peters losing my mind stephen sondheim

Photo: Joan Marcus

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