Image Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq:DISK), today announced the July 24 release of the all-star classic concert performance of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s Follies: In Concert with the New York Philharmonic on DVD.
Sondheim’s landmark musical “Follies” originally opened on Broadway in 1971 and is considered one of the finest musicals in the history of the American Theatre. With a cast that included Alexis Smith, Gene Nelson, Dorothy Collins and Yvonne De Carlo, the show’s original cast album was recorded in a somewhat abbreviated manner and rushed into release that year.
Never content with the recorded legacy of the show, Sondheim and an assemblage of roadway’s best behind-the-scenes talent mounted a star-studded concert version of the show at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, in September of 1985, for the express purpose of recording the entire score in the then-new technology of digital audio. The subsequent 2-CD set, on RCA Records, has been selling ever since.
Image’s release consists of a legendary film documenting the days of rehearsals leading up to the event and, ultimately, the actual history-making performances in front of the who’s who of New York’s theatre community.
The Lincoln Center cast consisted of stage and screen luminaries including Carol Burnett, Liz Callaway, Betty Comden, Barbara Cook, Adolph Green, George Hearn, Howard McGillin, Liliane Montevecchi, Phyllis Newman, Mandy Patinkin, Lee Remick and Elaine Stritch. Under the baton of Tony Award-winner Paul Gemignani, the New York Philharmonic became, for these two performances, the greatest pit orchestra the world had ever seen. Image’s DVD will feature a new Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
“Follies” is the story of the once sensational, but now deteriorating Weissman Theatre. On the evening before its demolition, ghosts from its past reunite and reminisce one last time — to sing a song or two and lie about themselves. Memorable songs from the score include “Losing My Mind” and the now-classic, “I’m Still Here.”
A new production of the Tony Award-winning musical will open at New York’s Belasco Theater on April 5 with an equally impressive cast that includes Blythe Danner, Gregory Harrison, Judith Ivy, Treat Williams and Polly Bergen.