re: Beautifully produced Follies at Carnegie Hall!
Last Edit: PlayWiz 12:41 am EDT 06/21/24
Posted by: PlayWiz 12:32 am EDT 06/21/24
In reply to: re: Beautifully produced Follies at Carnegie Hall! - Ncassidine 12:16 am EDT 06/21/24

I enjoyed the concert, but thought it was very uneven. I thought the highlights were the Act one closer, "Who's That Woman" led by the wonderful Karen Ziemba and danced by some terrific dancers, using the original Michael Bennett choreography, and Michael Berresse (not announced until after the number was over) doing "The Right Girl" with some great choreography (apparently based on the original, but without the stairs and the wheelbarrel that Gene Nelson used to do). A terrific song-and-dance man doing a fine acting performance, too. Christine Ebersole doing "In Buddy's Eyes" and Kate Baldwin singing "Losing My Mind" were quite lovely. Jennifer Holliday certainly sang the hell out of (and added lots of riffs, grunts, and took other assorted liberties) with "I'm Still Here" which many in the audience really enjoyed; I thought it was quite singular indeed and appreciate her talent, though stylistically it's not really on target or in the world of "Follies". Beth Leavel was having some difficulty with the mic stand at the beginning -- not sure if she intended to do the number holding the mic, but she really overdid the anger for my taste in "Could I Leave You", not really getting the sophistication that Alexis Smith and others bring to the piece. There was a huge chorus, who were unfortunately underused in this show, mainly used for the "Loveland" number and "Live, Laugh, Love" supporting original Young Ben, our co-host Kurt Peterson, who took the lead on the number, finally getting to have older Ben's adult nervous breakdown in the spotlight.

I thought some singers weren't really right for their assignments and just didn't sell their songs. Also, the sound from the mics really wasn't that great at times, and lots of lyrics were hard to decipher, rather a sin especially for one of the glories of the Sondheim canon. Great to see Hal Linden as Weissman starting off the evening. Unfortunately, the program didn't list who was singing what song, and the mics around hosts Peterson and Ted Chapin either sometimes weren't working properly, or people would start applauding at some name or other and then you couldn't hear the other names through the applause. But the orchestra was quite good, and for the most part, it was an enjoyable evening.
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