Follies

Louise Gold starred, as Phyllis Rogers Stone, at The Royal Festival Hall, Between 6 to 31 August 2002 (with previews on 3 and 5 August 2002)

Prior to Follies, Ms Gold has had some experience of Sondheim shows, and compared them as follows:

  “There’re all different, but they all share the characteristic intimacy of music and lyrics. His work is mainly intended for performers who are both singers and actors. You think that you know the songs and then you find out that there is much more to them than you first thought.” Louise Gold to Mark Smithers, SONDHEIM NEWS, Number 18, October 2002

Besides being an experienced Sondheim performer, she is also an very experienced performer of songs with a pastiche nature, and describes the effect of that on this show as:

  “Follies is one of Sondheim’s most melodic scores. It contains the most songs that that stand alone and become imprinted on people’s memory before they become fully acquainted with the show” Louise Gold to Mark Smithers, SONDHEIM NEWS, Number 18, October 2002

This particular production restored The Story Of Lucy And Jessie, which had been replaced in the 1987 revival by Ah But Underneath). When asked how she felt about that, the performer of the number in question in this production said:

 “I don’t know why Lucy and Jessie was cut back in 1987. I think that Stephen Sondheim is always looking to re-work things, but sometimes the original is better.” Louise Gold to Mark Smithers, SONDHEIM NEWS, Number 18, October 2002

 

Cast

Sally Durant Plummer - Kathryn Evans

Young Sally - Emma Clifford

Phyllis Rogers Stone - Louise Gold

Young Phyllis - Kerry Jay

Ben Stone - David Durham

Young Ben - Hugh Maynard

Buddy Plummer - Henry Goodman

Young Buddy - Matthew Carmelle

Solonge La Fitte - Anna Nicholas

Carlotta Campion - Diane Langton

Hattie Walker - Joan Savage

Heidi Schiller - Julia Goss

Stella Deems - Shezwae Powell

Max Deems - Nick Hamilton

Emily Whitman - Myra Sands

Theodore Whitman - Tony Kemp

Young Solonge - Juliet Gough

Young Carlotta - Alexis Owen Hobbs

Young Hattie - Tiffany Graves

Young Heidi - Pippa Raine

Young Heidi (vocal) - Phillipa Healey

Young Stella - Keisha Marina Atwell

Young Emily - Gabrielle Noble

Dimitri Weissman - Russell Dixon

Roscoe - Paul Bentley

Margie - Tiffany Graves

Kevin - Matthew Attwell

Chauffer - Andrew Wright

Major Domino - Simon Coulthard

Photographer - Craig Armstrong

Christine - Paddy Glynn

 

Production Team

 Music and Lyrics - Stephen Sondheim

Book - James Goldman

Original Production - 4 April 1971, The Winter Garden Theatre, New York, with Alexis Smith as Phyllis Rogers Stone

Director - Paul Kerryson

Set & Costume Design - Paul Farnsworth

Musical Director - Julian Kelly

Choreography - David Needham

Assistant Choreographer - Greg Pichery

Lighting Designer - Jenny Cane

Casting Director - Kate Plantin

Production Manager - Jonanthan Bartlett

Presented by - Raymond Gubby Limited

Sound - Autograph

Sound Design - Terry Jardine

Sound Engineer - Tony Gale

 

Click here for a review/account of the show

 

Louise Gold got a little opportunity to add something all her own to this production of Follies. In the change-over between Phyllis’s Folly and Ben’s Folly, the script calls for Phyllis to look at Ben. Director Paul Kerryson instructed actress Louise Gold that he wanted to see some kind of interaction between Phyllis and Ben, but left it to her to work out how to do that. Thus Louise experimented with various ad-libs ranging from “Good luck big boy” to “It’s easy, all you have to do is remember the words”.

The words to I’m Still Here, however, got forgotten by accident; allegedly one night Diane Langton got them a bit muddled; The following night, 8th August, she was off sick and her understudy, Myra Sands, with the briefest of rehearsals, did double duty playing both Emily (her own role), and Carlotta, so perhaps it was small wonder she had to adlib her way out of trouble when she forgot the words to Carlotta’s big number.

Given the importance of being able to sing-dance-and-act in this musical, it is perhaps worth noting that at one time or another; Craig Armstrong, Kathryn Evans, Louise Gold, Tiffany Graves, Tony Kemp, Hugh Maynard, Alexis Owen-Hobbs, and, Andrew Wright (about 25% of the entire cast) all trained at one section or another of Arts Educational, as did the choreographer David Needham.

Louise Gold appeared in the Sondheim musical directed by Paul Kerryson Merrily We Roll Along, she also appears in the Leicester Haymarket Cast album of Merrily We Roll Along, for which Julian Kelly was also the musical director

Louise Gold, Henry Goodman, and Paul Bentley have appeared together, ten years previously in the Sondheim musical Assassins

Louise Gold has also appeared in Side By Side By Sondheim, and, Gypsy, and such Sondheim concerts as: Broadway To Brighton, Sondheim At The Barbican, Side By Side By Sondheim 25th Anniversary, and, Side By Side By Sondheim 30th Anniversary Gala. She has also sung Sondheim in her cabaret act LOUISE GOLD ... By Appointment.

In the  course of her career Louise Gold like so many performers has found herself singing some of the songs sung in Follies by other characters, for example in Side By Side By Sondheim she sang I’m Still Here and in Curtain Up she got to sing Broadway Baby.

Paul Kerryson also directed Louise Gold when she starred in Calamity Jane, which was also choreographed by David Needham, and had musical direction by Julian Kelly and decor by Paul Farnsworth, Greg Pitchery also appeared in this as a dancer.

Louise Gold had previously had a major role in another show produced by Raymond Gubbay Ltd on London’s South Bank, Metropolitan Mikado - possibly the first show where she was really noticed by the critics.

Louise Gold and Henry Goodman have previously appeared together in a BBC Radio production of Let ‘Em Eat Cake and the Lost Musicals production of Of Thee I Sing

Myra Sands and Louise Gold are both stalwart members of Ian Marshall Fisher’s Lost Musicals team (which is never quite the same if either of them is absent), where they have appeared in many shows, together they have appeared in: By Jupiter, One Touch Of Venus (1992 Production), Du Barry Was A Lady (1993 Production), New Girl In Town, Red Hot & Blue, Something For The Boys, Panama Hattie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and, One Touch Of Venus (2000 Production), as well as subsequently in Darling of The Day, and, Mexican Hayride, the latter having also had its original Broadway production at the Winter Garden Theatre. Given Follies’s reunion theme, it is rather appropriate to note that they had also appeared at The Royal Festival Hall some sixteen years earlier in a concert of highlights from Ratepayers' Iolanthe & Metropolitan Mikado which was also produced by Raymond Gubby Ltd. They had also both appeared in Camberwell Pocket Opera’s First Fundraising Gala. They have since appeared together in Oliver!; and can be heard on the cast album Oliver! (Recording).

Myra Sands and Kathryn Evans have previously appeared together in the Lost Musicals production of Sweet Adeline.

On the changes over the years theme, Myra Sands was one of the cast members of the original production of Cats (in fact she played The Gumbie Cat, Jennyanydots), twenty one years later, at the same theatre (The New London Theatre): Matthew Attwell, Tiffany Graves, and, Alexis Owen Hobbs were all in the London production’s 21 year/final cast.

Myra Sands and Simon Coulthard, appeared together in Grease.

Louise Gold and Simon Coulthard have previously appeared together in Mamma Mia

Louise Gold and Anna Nicholas have previously appeared together in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was also designed by Paul Farnsworth

Louise Gold and Anna Nicholas have previously appeared together in The Boys From Syracuse

Louise Gold and Paul Bentley have previously appeared together in Kiss Me Kate, which was also designed by Paul Farnsworth

Louise Gold and Paul Bentley have previously appeared together on the radio in Ned Sherrin’s Review Of Revue.

Louise Gold and Diane Langton have previously appeared together in the special Chicago & Company, they did not appear together in Angry Housewives (because Diane Langton was one of the three originally cast ladies who were no longer in it by the time it opened)

Diane Langton has previously appeared on The Royal Variety Performance (1982), and possibly Comedy Tonight. Her recording credits include Defiant Dames (on which she sang I’m Still Here), Cole Porter - Night And Day, The Great Musicals – Laughter And Tears, and, The Great Musicals - From Broadway to Hollywood.

Louise Gold and Kathryn Evans had previously appeared together in Broadway To Brighton

Schezwae Powell has previously appeared in Kids At Heart, her recording credits include: Encore The Very Best From The Musicals, Cole Porter - Night And Day , and The History Of The Musical

Julian Kelly’s conducting can be heard on Simply Musicals, The Great Musicals – Dashing Heroes, Blushing Maidens, Magic Of The Musicals, and, The Best Of The Musicals.

Autograph also did the sound for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Touring Production), Anything Goes (Stage Show) , A Time To Start Living, and, Gypsy.

Henry Goodman, and, Anna Nicholas have gone on to appear in A Love Letter To Dan.

Diane Langton, and, Julian Kelly’s recording credits include The Great Musicals - Wonderful Tales.

Joan Savage has gone on to sing Broadway Baby in Side By Side By Sondheim 30th Anniversary Gala.

Louise Gold has previously been involved in a variety of performances of the song Beautiful Girls in: Sondheim At The Barbican , Side By Side By Sondheim, and, Side By Side By Sondheim 25th Anniversary Gala, and subsequently in Side By Side By Sondheim 30th Anniversary Gala.

The night after the curtain came down on Follies (and the cast had cleared out their dressing rooms), Louise Gold and Paul Bentley were on top form in Regents Park 70th Anniversary Gala.

Pippa Raine who played, but did not voice, Young Heidi in this production, went on to play Young Stella in a revival of Follies in Northampton in 2006.

Louise Gold, Paul Bentley, and, Diane Langton have gone on to appear together in Mary Poppins.

Shezwae Powell, and, Myra Sands may have previously taken part in Thing A Thon.

Paul Bentley, Diane Langton, and, Julian Kelly’s recording credits include 100 Hits Musicals, on which Paul Bentley sang Beautiful Girls as Roscoe from Follies.

Lighting designer Jenny Cane had previously worked as the Production Electrician on The Pirates Of Penzance (Stage production) | The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Performance) | The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Preview) |The Pirates Of Penzance (Benefit Preview)

 

Critics Comments

  “But Louise Gold as his [Ben]’s spouse Phyllis can be magnificently bitter” Kate Bassett, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, 18 August 2002

 “Louise Gold never really finds the brittleness of Phyllis, though the Act Two toe-tapper "Story of Lucy and Jessie" does play to her strengths.” Sarah Beaumont, WHAT’S ON STAGE.COM, 7 August 2002

 “My personal favourites included Louise Gold’s fantastically slick and sensual ‘The Story of Lucy and Jessie’, Henry Goodman’s manic clown in ‘The God Why Don’t You Love Me Blues’, and Kathryn Evans giving ‘Losing My Mind”. Tim Connor, TALKING bROADWAY, 1 October 2002

  “Here you find Louise Gold’s wonderfully acerbic Phyllis rhyming hara-kiri with dearie and singing of girls who want to be juicy” Maddy Costa, THE GUARDIAN, Thursday 8 August 2002

 “’Waiting For The Girls Upstairs’, ‘Who’s That Woman’, ‘Too Many Mornings’ and the ‘Loveland’ sequences are brilliantly stages, and the individual performances could not be bettered: Kathryn Evans singing ‘In Buddy’s Eyes’ and ‘Losing my mind’ or ‘Louise Gold in ‘Could I Leave You?’ and ‘The Story Of Lucy And Jessie’ are just perfect.” Michael Darvell, WHAT’S ON, 14 August 2002

 “Finally Louise Gold's Phyllis, The Manhattan sophisticate, schooled by Ben, become empty and brittle, her "perfect" marriage a sham. This was played to the hilt, her "Jessie and Lucy" sizzled; her " Could I Leave You ?" seared.” David Deshmukh, COLCHESTER GAY SWITCHBOARD JOURNAL, Autumn 2002

 “I'm so glad I came -- if just to hear Phyllis say "I can't expect to die until 1995," a line dropped from many subsequent productions.” Peter Filichia, THEATRE MANIA

 “All four principals - Kathryn Evans, Louise Gold, Henry Goodman and David Durham - draw you into the drama of their characters’ lives.” John Gross, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, Sunday 11 August 2002

 “Louise Gold is acidly funny as the bitter, disappointed Phyllis” Sarah Hemming, FINANCIAL TIMES, 12 August 2002

  “Louise Gold's Phyllis is versatile and formidable: injured queen one moment, vamp the next.” Kate Kellaway, THE OBSERVER, Sunday 11 August 2002

 “As for the principals, Evans and Gold are far too young to be portraying aging chorines such as these - but both sang well. So too did Durham and Goodman as always gave a polished all round performance.” John Martland, THE STAGE, 15 August 2002

 “This show is about middle-aged heartbreak, emotional fatigue and endurance, and like all serious musicals, it needs real acting and actors who are not afraid of pain. Kathryn Evans, Louise Gold, David Durham and Henry Goodman oblige fearlessly. Kerry Jay is the best of the young actors as Gold’s younger self.” John Peter, SUNDAY TIMES, 11 August 2002

 “Louise Gold, Ben’s equally unhappy wife, Phyllis, storms savagely through the bitter Could I Leave You” William Russell, HERALD, 13 August 2002

 “The acting honours are spread evenly across the cast.  The urbane, acid and disillusioned Phyllis (Louise Gold) plays off the provincial, insecure and unstable Sally (Kathryn Evans). “Tell me, who made your dress, or did you make it?” she taunts Sally”  Ian Senior, R CUBED, Issue 44, 23 August 2002.

 “But Louise Gold and David Durham as loveless couple Phyllis and Ben Stone are the outstanding cast members, having most of the emotional meat of the script.”... “The outraged sarcasm of Could I Leave You is the most scathing song of breakdown since Bob Dylan’s Positively 4th Street.” Julian Shea, BBC NEWS ONLINE

 “Louise Gold, by contrast an experienced Sondheim performer, made the best of her opportunity as Ben’s frustrated and childless wife Phyllis, who has seemingly sacrificed all to further his career and lived to regret it. Miss Gold certainly put up a fine show with her interpretation of The Story Of Lucy And Jessie, a song that explores another of Follies’ main themes, namely the effect of the transition into middle age upon women.” Mark Smithers, SONDHEIM NEWS, Number 18, October 2002

 “Louise Gold splendidly captures the bitchy despair of Phyllis, trapped in a prosperous, loveless marriage, and brings a bracing fury to the scorchingly sardonic Could I Leave You?” Charles Spencer, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Thursday 8 August 2002

 “But it is the two girls who steal the show. Louise Gold gives a fine acting performance as the acerbic Phyllis (and then warms our hearts with her great song and dance number Lucy and Jesse)” David Thomas, in The SMASH magazine CURTAIN UP, September 2002

 “Katherine Evans was a superb Sally and Louise Gold (although dressed by someone who, seemingly, did not like her) was an excellent Phyllis.” Lynda Trapnell, MUSICAL STAGES, Issue 35/36, Winter 2002/2003

 “But Durham simply stares impassively ahead, as he does through most of the show, which has the effect of leaving Louise Gold's uninflected gorgon of a Phyllis growling in a vacuum. And must Phyllis really make her way scornfully down the stairs during first-act opener "Beautiful Girls"? For all her emotional privations, Phyllis is a New York sophisticate who knows the importance of style.” Matt Wolf, VARIETY

 

Links about Follies

Show’s page on the Royal Festival Hall site:  http://www.rfh.org.uk/main/events/69554.html?section=dance&file=index&month=2&week=7&view=

Gold On Stage: Louise Gold In Follies (TheatreNow.Com interview with Louise Gold because of her appearance in Follies): http://www.theatrenow.com/asp/link.htm?news.asp?art=3430&cat=1

Bio for Louise Gold, and other principle cast members on the RFH site: http://www.rfh.org.uk/follies/cast.html#gold

Review from The Observer: http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,772485,00.html

Review from The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4477680,00.html

Review from The BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/reviews/2180974.stm

The Daily Telegraph: http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2002/08/08/btchas08.xml&sSheet=/arts/2002/08/08/ixartleft.html

What’s On Stage.com review of Follies: http://www.whatsonstage.com/dl/page.php?page=greenroom&story=E8821028720239

Review from The Evening Standard, somehow they managed to get the name of an actress, Louise Gold, and her character, Phyllis Rogers Stone, muddled up: http://www.thisislondon.com/dynamic/hottx/top_review.html?in_review_id=661561&in_review_text_id=632618

Review from The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=322246

Review from The Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-245-377813,00.html

Review from London Theatre Guide Online: http://www.londontheatre.co.uk/amandahodges/reviews/follies02.htm

Review by Peter Filichia from Theatre Mania: http://www.theatermania.com/news/peterdiary/index.cfm?story=2556&cid=1

BBC site, Have your Say reviews: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/reviews/2181017.stm

The Daily Telegraph interview with Paul Kerryson: http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2002/07/30/btpaul30.xml&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=160989

and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2002/07/30/btpaul30.xml

Review from: Colchester Gay Switchboard Journal: http://www.gayessex.org.uk/journal.htm

Review from This London: http://metro.thisislondon.com/dynamic/hottx/theatre/review.html?in_review_id=654338&in_review_text_id=626344

Review from London Theatre Tours: http://www.londontheatretours.com/news/fullstory.asp?news_id=57

Review from Talking Broadway: http://www.talkinbroadway.com/westend/10_1_02.html

Crazy-For-Musicals Diary Of A Mad Theatre-goer’s ‘s review of Follies and other shows on in London at that time: http://www.crazy-for-musicals.com/diary/0208.html

An Italian Musical site’s review of Follies (Trasnslated by Google): http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://www.musical.it/box237.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522Louise%2BGold%2522%26start%3D60%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26sa%3DN  and the original article (if your Italian is up to it): http://www.musical.it/box237.htm

The London Season Hot Spot’s archive: http://www.thelondonseason.com/LShotspotarchive.htm

The Stephen Sondheim Society (there is some information about Follies on the site, in particular on the ‘Late’ and ‘Discussion’ pages): http://www.sondheim.org/

Nottingham Operatic Society’s article about “recent” productions of Sondheim shows (this appears to have been a ‘background’ to their own production of follies): http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/nottmopsoc/sondheim.htm

Raymond Gubby’s website’s page for the show: http://www.raymondgubbay.co.uk/displayEvent.asp?eventid=192

R-Cubed’s review of the show: http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:e6vcjtN8XZoJ:rcubednews.com/RCubed044%252023%2520Aug%252002.doc+%22Louise+Gold%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=98&gl=uk

Theatrepro.com’s review of the show: http://www.theaterpro.com/pl_sondheim.html

Follies page on Matthew Cammelle’s official site: http://www.matthewcammelle.com/credits/follies/

A review, by Emma Shane, of seeing another production of Follies (Northampton, 2006- which starred Julian Forsyth, Alex Gianni, Jan Hartley, and, Louise Plowright) comparing it to this one: http://www.qsulis.demon.co.uk/Reviews/Follies.htm

 

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