Full casting details have been revealed for the National Theatre’s much-anticipated production of the 1970s Broadway musical Follies which is due to begin previewing in August.
Starring the multi-award winning trio of Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton, Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies will play the Olivier Theatre from 22 August until 4 November with a press night on 6 September. Additional performances will be announced at a later date.
Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, the major new production will be directed by NT associate director Dominic Cooke with choreography by Bill Deamer.
The cast includes Julie Armstrong (Sandra Crane), Norma Attallah (Emily Whitman), Josephine Barstow (Heidi Schiller), Jeremy Batt (Chorus Boy), Tracie Bennett (Carlotta Campion), Di Botcher (Hattie Walker), Billy Boyle (Theodore Whitman), Janie Dee (Phyllis Rogers Stone), Anouska Eaton (Young Emily), Liz Ewing (Company), Geraldine Fitzgerald (Solange Lafitte), Peter Forbes (Buddy Plummer), Emily Goodenough (Showgirl), Bruce Graham (Roscoe), Adrian Grove (Sam Deems), Fred Haig (Young Buddy), Aimee Hodnett (Young Hattie), Dawn Hope (Stella Deems), Liz Izen (Deedee West), Alison Langer (Young Heidi), Emily Langham (Young Carlotta), Sarah-Marie Maxwell (Young Solange), Ian McLarnon (Company), Leisha Mollyneux (Young Stella), Gemma Page (Christine Donovan), Kate Parr (Young Sandra), Philip Quast (Ben Stone), Edwin Ray (Chorus Boy), Gary Raymond (Dimitri Weismann), Adam Rhys-Charles (Young Ben), Jordan Shaw (Chorus Boy), Imelda Staunton (Sally Durrant Plummer), Zizi Strallen (Young Phyllis), Barnaby Thompson (Chorus Boy), Christine Tucker (Young Deedee), Michael Vinsen (Chorus Boy) and Alex Young (Young Sally).
Announcing the full cast, director Cooke said: “Sondheim is one of the great innovators of modern theatre. Everything he has written breaks new ground thematically and finds a fresh form to express it. His restless, questing spirit defines, for me, what it means to be an artist. I love Follies for its iconic score, brutal honesty and psychological accuracy. It depicts a profound crisis and that most American of themes: the question for authenticity in a world of illusion.
“For this production, we have put together a book mainly drawn from the original 1971 text with some additions from later rewrites. We have brought together an incredible cast and a top-notch team. I can’t wait to get started.”
The creative team will feature music supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck, music director Nigel Lilley, lighting designer Paule Constable, sound designer Paul Groothuis and associate choreographer Kylie Cruikshanks.
Follies debuted on Broadway in 1971 in a production directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett who also provided the choreography. The musical won seven of the 11 Tony awards it was nominated for and includes the standards ‘Broadway Baby’, ‘I’m Still Here’, ‘Too Many Mornings’, ‘Could I Leave You?’, and ‘Losing My Mind’.
The show debuted in the West End in 1987 and there have been a number of successful revival productions including two on Broadway in 2001 and 2011 and one in the West End in 2002.
The show will mark a return to the National for Staunton. Her performance at the venue in The Beggar’s Opera in 1982 earned her Olivier Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical and Most Promising Newcomer of the Year in Theatre. She has also appeared in two NT productions of Guys and Dolls (in 1982 and in 1996).