Broadway reunion for ‘Follies’

Summer start for Kennedy Center show

The Kennedy Center’s production of Stephen Sondheim tuner “Follies” will hit Gotham after all, with the musical expected to begin perfs at Broadway’s Marquis Theater later this summer.

Although the production’s starry cast, including Bernadette Peters and Jan Maxwell, helped stir the transfer rumors that seem to arise inevitably from every notable regional revival of a fave Sondheim musical, the New York berth for “Follies” had looked far from assured. Major reviews of the show, which began perfs May 7, were mixed, although elements of the production drew strong praise, and sales have been robust.

It’s not yet clear who among the D.C. cast will move with “Follies,” but it seems unlikely the Kennedy Center would give it a go without Maxwell and Peters, a thesp strongly linked to the work of Sondheim. Also in the current ensemble are hefty legit-world names including Elaine Paige, Linda Lavin and Danny Burstein. Lavin already seems to have a previous commitment to Lincoln Center Theater’s “Other Desert Cities,” expected to open on Broadway in the fall following a well-received Off Broadway run.

Helmed by Eric Schaeffer (“Million Dollar Quartet”) and choreographed by Warren Carlyle (“Finian’s Rainbow”), “Follies” has a cast of 41 and an orchestra of 28, an unusually large number for Broadway these days. D.C. incarnation, which closes Sunday, was capitalized at $7.3 million.

Design team includes Main Stem regulars including Derek McLane (sets), Gregg Barnes (costumes) and Natasha Katz (lights).Exact dates of the run remain to be nailed down, as do the exact commercial producers who will partner with the Kennedy Center for the move.

Kennedy Center’s well-reviewed staging of “Ragtime” made the move to Broadway in 2009, but only lasted a few months.

Peters was last on Broadway in a well-reviewed stint in the recent revival of “A Little Night Music,” stepping into the role initially played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Maxwell earned double Tony noms last year for her perfs in “Lend Me a Tenor” and “The Royal Family.”

The 1971 tuner “Follies,” which has a book by James Goldman, centers on a reunion of the former members of a Rialto “follies” troupe. Production’s last fully staged Broadway revival, produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, played only a limited run, and while a lauded Encores! concert staging was seen in 2007, a speculated Main Stem transfer never came together.

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