On the Twentieth Century cover art

Sondheim: "Isn't he rich?"
Webber: "Richer than me!"

Book by James Goldman
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Produced for records by Dick Jones
Orchestration by Jonathan Tunick
Musical direction by Harold Hastings
Opened 4/4/71 at the Winter Garden Theatre, New York. 521 performances.

Main Players/Characters

Alexis Smith

Phyllis Rogers Stone

John McMartin

Benjamin Stone

Dorothy Collins

Sally Durant Plummer

Gene Nelson

Buddy Plummer

Virginia Sandifur

Young Phyllis

Kurt Peterson

Young Ben

Marti Rolph

Young Sally

Harvey Evans

Young Buddy

Edwin Steffe

Dimitri Weismann

Ethel Barrymore Colt

Christine Crane

Mary McCarty

Stella Deems

Justine Johnston

Heidi Schiller

Victoria Mallory

Young Heidi

Ethel Shutta

Hattie Walker

Mary Jane Houdina

Young Hattie

Fifi D'Orsay

Solange LaFitte

Yvonne De Carlo

Carlotta Campion

Suzanne Rogers 

Showgirl (with Buddy)

Rita O'Conner

Showgirl (with Buddy)
There are also a ton of other actors and actresses who were not represented on the CD, including nearly all of the men.

Plot Summary

Follies was based on an original idea by Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman.

The date is 1971. The setting is a crumbling theatre on the verge of being torn down to make way for a parking lot. The event is a reunion party for onetime participants in the Weismann Follies, largely showgirls. Although there are many characters interacting, the four important ones are Benjamin and Phyllis Stone and Buddy and Sally Plummer, two couples who were good friends 30 years ago but have not had contact with one another until now. As "ghosts" of the showgirls mirror what their aging counterparts do, so too do the young versions of the four principals reenact significant moments in their past. Notably, Sally had a major torch for Ben but accepted Buddy's proposal. Now, all four hate their lives, but have been living under a veneer of civility until this party, and the memories it drags up, reveals the cracks. The final half-hour of the show is a macabre dream sequence where Buddy, Sally, Phyllis, and Ben act out their "follies." Buddy is a burlesque comedian who sings with desperate humor of how he can't love anyone who loves him. Sally sings a torch song that aptly expresses her problem: she's going crazy with love for Ben, or at least her memory of Ben. Phyllis, as a stripper, is conflicted between the ice queen she's become and the passionate youngster she used to be. Finally, Ben has no self-esteem whatsoever; a dancer in top hat and ties, with a huge chorus behind him, he starts out confidentally, then realizes his whole life has been a fraud and a waste, and the whole fantasy sequence breaks down. Ultimately, the couples remain together to offer each other what comfort they can.


  1. Prologue: Beautiful Girls
  2. Don't Look at Me
  3. Waiting for the Girls Upstairs
  4. Ah! Paris/Broadway Baby
  5. The Road You Didn't Take
  6. In Buddy's Eyes
  7. Who's That Woman?
  8. I'm Still Here
  9. Too Many Mornings
  10. The Right Girl
  11. One More Kiss
  12. Could I Leave You?
  13. You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through
  14. The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues
  15. Losing My Mind
  16. The Story of Lucy and Jesse
  17. Live, Laugh, Love/Finale

Tony Awards

Entries in red were winners.


God, it's hard to come up with something to say about this astonishing show. It's one of three Sondheim works (the others being Sweeney Todd and the London cast album of Into the Woods) that sparked my deep and undying admiration of the man. It's much easier to talk about shows that are less classic

The first thing I thought after I listened to this CD for the first time, some years ago, was, "Why doesn't everyone know about this show?"

CD Packaging



Oh, my, what a classic. It's woefully truncated

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