Goodman Bounces Back with Peters in UK FolliesDate: 12 June 2002
Henry Goodman, unbowed by his recent Broadway experience with The Producers, and Clarke Peters are the latest musical stars to join the cast of Follies at the Royal Festival Hall later this summer. The new production, directed by Leicester Haymarket artistic director Paul Kerryson, is the first major London revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1971 Broadway musical in 15 years. It runs for a limited four-week season from 6 August to 31 August 2002 (previews from 3 August).
Follies takes place during a reunion of showgirls at the once-lavish Weissman Theatre, now about to be levelled. Sally's attempts to rekindle her romance with old flame Ben, who married her showbiz friend Phyllis, wreak havoc for all three as well as Sally's husband Buddy. The score features several now classic numbers including "Broadway Baby", "I'm Still Here" and "Losing My Mind".
Goodman (pictured), who will play Buddy, is a seven-times Laurence Olivier Award nominee, winning twice to date - Best Actor in 1999 for The Merchant of Venice and Best Actor in a Musical in 1993 for Sondheim's Assassins. His many other stage credits have included West End musicals such as Guys and Dolls, Chicago and City of Angels and acclaimed plays like Feelgood, Hysteria, Angels in America and countless other productions at the RSC, the National Theatre and in the West End.
In April, Goodman caused unwanted headlines on both sides of the Atlantic when he was unceremoniously sacked from the hit Broadway revival of The Producers. The Briton had been recruited to replace original star Nathan Lane but was let go after less than 30 performances, before being allowed to face the critics.
American Peters, who will play Ben, is well known for his show Five Guys Named Moe, which he conceived, as well as other West End musicals such as The Witches of Eastwick, Chicago and Guys and Dolls at the National, in which he co-starred with Goodman in 1997. As previously reported, Sally, the woman that comes between them, will be played by Kathryn Evans, just seen at the Leicester Haymarket in On Your Toes, directed by Kerryson and co-starring and choreographed by former Royal Ballet star Adam Cooper.
Other confirmed cast members include Louise Gold (Phyllis) and Diane Langton (Carlotta). Contrary to earlier reports, the Royal Festival Hall box office now says that neither Desmond Barrit nor Jody Crosier are contracted to appear.
Follies features a book by James Goldman and music and lyrics by Sondheim. Along with Company (1970), the musical was one of Sondheim's first critical successes in which he provided both music and lyrics. A series of now-legendary musicals followed, including A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins and Passion.
Only the second major London production of Follies ever, it is choreographed by David Needham and designed by Paul Farnsworth with musical direction by Julian Kelly. It is produced at the Royal Festival Hall by impresario Raymond Gubbay. On its last London outing, Follies won the 1987 Laurence Olivier Award for Musical of the Year.
- by Terri Paddock