Staunton and Dee heading for Follies at the National

imelda-staunton-001Multi award-winner Imelda Staunton is to return to the music of Stephen Sondheim to star in next year’s National Theatre production of Broadway musical Follies, directed by Dominic Cooke.

The actress, who won rave reviews for her performance as Momma Rose in the hit revival of Gypsy, will co-star with Olivier Award winner Janie Dee (Carousel) in the central roles of Sally and Phyllis, the two former showgirls who reunite at the crumbling Broadway theatre where they used to dance.

According to the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye, the official National Theatre announcement revealing the details of the show, which will be the centrepiece of its 2017 autumn season, will be made on 11 October.

ctjgpcgweaettx4Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s 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 revival productions, including two on Broadway in 2001 and 2011 and one in the West End in 2002

According to Bamigboye, Staunton will move on to Follies after ending her run in the drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in February next year, ahead of a Broadway transfer of Gypsy in 2018.

The show will mark a return to the National for Staunton whose 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 (1982 and 1996).

Sondheim has played a part in Staunton winning three of her four Olivier Awards: Best Actress in a Musical for her roles as the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods (1991), Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd (2013) and Momma Rose in Gypsy (2016).

Angela Thomas

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