Shaw Festival 2008 – Sondheim’s Follies

Shaw Festival 2008 – Sondheim’s Follies featured image

Paula Citron
Shaw Festival 2008
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Goldman
Directed by Valerie Moore
Starring Melanie Janzen, George Masswohl, Glynis Ranney and Jay Turvey
Festival Theatre until Oct. 4

Shaw Festival artistic director Jackie Maxwell’s philosophy is – if you want to put on a show, find a way of doing it. By placing the orchestra on stage, the company can pull off a concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.

The cast totes around scripts, but director Valerie Moore gives meaning to the movement. Shaw music director Paul Sportelli shows off his very talented conducting chops.

The large cast has been whittled down to the 20 singing and speaking roles, and Shaw’s famous ensemble gilds the stage. Melanie Janzen and George Masswohl as Phyllis and Ben Stone, and Glynis Ranney and Jay Turvey as Sally and Buddy Plummer are the main protagonists, and are very committed to their roles.

The main thing that comes across is Sondheim’s clever score, both the contemporary songs that reflect character, and the pastiche music he wrote to emulate old-fashioned Follies’ favourites.

Follies continues at the Shaw Festival Theatre until Oct. 4.

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