There is a very telling moment in the current Encores presentation of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. In the second act, Phyllis (Donna Murphy) is singing the drippingly sarcastic “Could I Leave You?” in which she is listing all the things she would no longer have to deal with if married to Ben. At one point while mentioning “the World's Best Books” Murphy takes her script (which all the actors are carrying) and slams it onto the stage. This may be a major milestone in theater history; a physical representation of the primary problem with Follies – it's cliché-ridden dog of a book. Other than its book, Follies is a great musical. City Center's Encores, which has basically become a glorified backer's audition for Broadway revivals, has assembled a very good cast; the standouts being: Donna Murphy, Mimi Hines, Michael McGrath, JoAnne Worley and especially Victoria Clark. Follies has become the ultimate underdog of a musical, for which its fans are awaiting the quintessential production. These fans were all in attendance at City Center, anticipating every moment. Alas, I don't think the penultimate production will ever arrive as long as this book is along for the ride.
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