Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical is staged for the first time at the National Theatre

By In Musical, Theatre 2 hours 19 min

New York, 1971. There's a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Follies includes such classic songs as Broadway Baby, I'm Still Here and Losing My Mind.

Follies is a musical that explores themes of nostalgia, loss, and looking back at youth. Set in the dilapidated and soon-to-be demolished Weisman Theatre, former performers from the Weisman's Follies remember the trials and tribulations of their younger selves. Follies is celebrated by critics and historians as one of Sondheim's greatest musicals.

Following a month of previews in Boston in early 1971, Follies opened on Broadway on April 4, 1971 at the Winter Garden Theatre. It was directed by Harold Prince and , with Bennett also providing choreography. The cast included Dorothy Collins, John McMartin, Gene Nelson, and Alexis Smith.

Follies was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning 7 including Best Actress in a Musical (Alexis Smith), Best Choreography (Michael Bennett), Best Costume Design (Florence Klotz), Best Direction of a Musical (Harold Prince and Michael Bennett), Best Lighting Design (Tharon Musser), Best Original Score (Stephen Sondheim), and Best Scenic Design (Boris Aronson).

The UK's staged a new production in 2017 at the Olivier Theatre directed by Dominic Cooke and choreographed by . The production featured a 21-piece orchestra and a cast of 37 including Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee, Philip Quast, and Peter Forbes.