Follies Opening Night in Los Angeles
Following Opening Night at “Follies” at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, Center Theatre Group donors, cast members and VIP friends piled into nearby McCormick & Schmick’s for a late night supper.
“I’ve never seen ‘Follies’ in my life,” said Matthew Morrison of “Glee,” earlier in the evening, as he headed into the theater, along with Angela Bassett, Cloris Leachman, Bonnie Franklin, Courtney Mazza, Robert Wuhl, James Van Der Beek, Annie Potts, Doris Roberts, Jo Anne Worley and many more celebrities.
Some of the actors present at the May 9 Opening, including Jo Anne Worley, Constance Towers Gavin, Jennifer Nanin Smith and Deborah Scott Studebaker, had starred in previous productions of “Follies,” and like the actors onstage in the play, had a great opportunity to catch up.
Set at a soon-to-be-demolished theater, the play centers around several former showgirls, (as the opening song goes: “Beautiful Girls,”) who meet for a reunion thirty years after their heyday on the stage. Using flashbacks, a second act revue and ultra-glamorous ever-present showgirls as a backdrop, the story of two mismatched couples plays out.
At the after-party, Matthew Morrison expressed admiration for the play’s simultaneous duets, mostly used to illustrate the flashbacks. Sharing a table with his girlfriend Renee Puente and other friends, he said he has seen many other musicals by Stephen Sondheim, “Assassins” being his favorite. (Mine, too! So we shook hands on it.)
Most party-goers agreed on the excellence of the production, which began at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and has since snagged eight 2012 Tony nominations in the musicals categories. The play has been nominated for best revival; actors Ron Raines and Danny Burstein; actress Jan Maxwell; best featured actress Jayne Houdyshell; costume designer Gregg Barnes; lighting designer Natasha Katz; and sound designer Kal Harada.
Robert Wuhl called the production, “extraordinary.” Said Cloris Leachman, “The men were wonderful.” Jo Anne Worley praised the costumes, pointing out the rhinestones on the high heels, a signature, she said, of Barnes, the costume designer.
On sighting one another amid the crush of party-goers, Leachman and Worley shrieked in recognition. “I’d better move to a quieter table,” quipped Worley, after noticing all the heads snapping around to see the cause of the commotion.
Aside from cast members, another 2012 Tony nominee present was Martin Massman, board chairman of the Center Theatre Group and a theater producer. His play, “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man” was nominated for best revival of a play.
More celebrities present were Scott Bailey, Debbie Boone, Kevin Chamberlin, Adrienne Frantz, Thomas Ian Griffith, Ricky Jay, Mary Page Keller, Michael John LaChiusa, Kristolyn Lloyd, Chris Anne Eastwood, Sandra Tsing Loh, and Jodi Long, Rebecca Luker, Barbara Luna, Arlene Martel, John McCook, Julio Monge, Glenn Scarpelli, Georgia Stitt, Nik Tyler, Courtney Vance, Jacob Young and Stephanie Zimbalist.
Top Photo: Matthew Morrison and his girlfriend Renee Puente at Follies Opening Night in Los Angeles
Second Photo: Jo Anne Worley, left, and Cloris Leachman, right at Follies Opening Night in Los Angeles
Third Photo: From left, Elaine Paige, Ron Raines, Jan Maxwell, Victoria Clark, Danny Burstein and Jayne Houdyshell taking a curtain call at Follies Opening Night in Los Angeles (photo: Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)
Fourth Photo: From left, Danny Burstein, a Tony nominee for Follies; actress Rebecca Luker; and Robert Wuhl of “Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl” at Follies Opening Night in Los Angeles (photo: Ryan Miller/ Capture Imaging)
ALSO IN LOS ANGELES SOCIETY NEWS:
Follies Opening Night in Los Angeles
Published May 11, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA