All of the performative songs in “Follies” — the ones sung as if they were real numbers from the past — are pastiches, sampling Harold Arlen (“I’m Still Here”), George Gershwin (“Losing My Mind”), Irving Berlin (“Beautiful Girls”), Sigmund Romberg (“One More Kiss”) and many others. With this catch: In almost every case, they are better crafted and richer than their templates. Which makes their salute to the past a wonderfully complicated, and sometimes cruel, gesture.
Really? Sondheim outdoes Arlen, Gershwin, and Berlin? Really?