Effective Discipline Techniques for 9-Year-Old Children gans down jacket

Effective Discipline Techniques for 9-Year-Old Children

Behavior Management Strategies for Kids in Fourth Grade

These parenting strategies can be most effective for 9-year-old kids.
Kim Gunkel/E+/Getty Images

Age 9 signals the start of the “tween years.” It's a transitional period between childhood and the teenage years that can be a bit awkward, and it can be a difficult time for kids—they’re no longer kids but aren’t yet teenagers.

It can be an awkward and difficult time for their parents, too. How can they effectively discipline at a time when most 9-year-olds crave freedom and independence, begin spending more time with friends, and start showing a little more interest in developing friendships with the opposite sex?

Typical 9-Year-Old Behavior

Most 9-year-olds want to have some of the privileges that come with being a teenager. They may want to trade their toys for a smartphone and they may prefer to play with friends away from their parents' earshot. But, they lack the skills to handle too much responsibility.

Their desire to have more responsibility can lead to conflict. They may be argumentative and 9-year-olds are known to beg and whine when they don't get their way.

By this age, however, they should have a good understanding of social norms. This can deter many behavior problems in public so they won't be seen acting out in front of their friends. Parents often get the brunt of bad behavior in the home.

Best Discipline Strategies for 9-Year-Olds

Disciplining 9-year-olds is about finding a way to delicately balance freedom with guidance. It's important to give your child the support she needs to make healthy choices, but it's equally important to give her opportunities to do things on her own, even if it means your child will fail sometimes.

Here are effective discipline strategies that work well with 9-year-olds.

1. Praise Good Behavior

Many tweens struggle to with self-image issues. They may be anxious about stressful situations and may worry about how others perceive them.

Provide genuine praise for your 9-year-old's efforts and you'll boost her confidence and use praise to encourage her to keep trying, study hard, and do her best.

2. Place Your Child in Time-Out

Send a 9-year-old to time out to help him cool off when he’s angry or when he needs to think about his actions. A 9-minute time-out is appropriate for a 9-year-old. Just be sure to use it sparingly, or it will lose its effectiveness.

And make it clear to your child that he has the option to put himself in time-out before he gets into trouble. If he's frustrated or upset, he can go to his room on his own before he does something that gets him into trouble.

3. Use Grandma's Rule of Discipline

Grandma’s rule of discipline is a great tool for 9-year-olds. By using a subtle change in the way you word something, you can turn a consequence into a reward.

So rather than say, "You can't go outside because your room is a mess," say, "You can play outside as soon as you finish cleaning your room." Then, your child will learn he has the ability to earn privileges based on his good choices.

4. Provide Logical Consequences

Logical consequences can be very effective with 9-year-olds. For example, if your 9-year-old doesn’t get off the computer when you told him to do so, take away his computer privileges for the next 24 hours.

He'll be more likely to make a better choice next time when the consequence is clearly linked to his misbehavior.

5. Allow for Natural Consequences

When it is safe to do so, allow for natural consequences. By age 9, most kids can connect the dots between their choices and the consequences.

So when it's cold outside, don't insist she wear a jacket. The natural consequence is she'll feel cold. And learning from her own mistakes could teach her important life lessons.

6. ​Create a Token Economy System

This is a great age for a token economy system as most 9-year-olds are very motivated to earn new privileges. A token economy system can be used to target specific behavioral issues and it can motivate your child to become more responsible.

Establish a simple token economy system that allows your child to earn chips or tokens for good behavior. Then, allow her to exchange those tokens for privileges, like time on her electronics or an opportunity to go on a special outing.

7. Problem-Solve Together

When your child exhibits specific behavior problems, sit down and problem-solve the issue together. By the age of 9, many kids can offer creative solutions and can be very honest about what would help resolve the problem.

So ask questions like, "This is the third time you've forgotten your homework. What would help you remember?" Then, work together to find strategies that can help your child improve.

A Word From Verywell

The early tween years are a critical time to start giving your child more responsibility. Expect him or her to be responsible and when they struggles, consider it an opportunity to teach them to do better next time.

You only have a few short years before your child will become a teen, so it's important to ensure that they have the life skills they're going to need to handle the responsibilities of being a teenager successfully.


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Discipline.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Middle Childhood (9-11 Years of Age).

Michigan State University Extension: 9- to 11-year-olds: Ages and stages of youth development.

  • Up Next
  • Up Next


    The 8 Most Effective Ways to Discipline a Child with ADHD

  • Up Next


    Behavior Problems Common in a 7-Year-Old

  • Up Next


    The Most Effective Ways to Discipline Your 8-Year-Old

  • Up Next


    8 Discipline Strategies that are More Effective Than Spanking

Continue Reading

  • canada goose lightweights="g-item block-list-item">
    Parenting a 12-year-old poses some interesting challenges.


    The Most Effective Ways to Discipline 12-Year-Olds

  • Time-out can be an effective discipline strategy for 5 year olds.


    The 9 Best Discipline Strategies for 5-Year-Olds

  • Most 10-year-olds need fewer consequences.


    The Best Way to Discipline 10-Year-Olds

  • Disciplining an 11-year-old should be about teaching, not punishing.


    The Best Way to Discipline an 11-Year-Old

  • A young boy jumping from one sofa to another A young boy in wrestling mask jumping on one sofa to the other


    Most Effective Ways to Discipline a 6 Year Old

  • Use these discipline strategies to reduce bedtime behavior problems.


    7 Ways to Put an End to Bedtime Behavior Problems

  • 9 year old child development - father and son doing dishes


    Major Areas to Focus on in Your 9-Year-Old's Behavioral Development

  • 9 year old child development - father and son doing dishes


    5 Milestones to Expect From Your 9-Year-Old

  • Strong-willed kids require a slightly different approach to discipline.


    9 Strategies for Parenting a Strong-Willed Child Without Breaking Her Spirit

  • African-american boy using electronic tablet in classroom.


    What Is Your 9-Year-Old Ready to Learn?

  • It's important to know what to expect from your 10-year-old.


    What to Expect From Your 10-Year-Old

  • Parent with dog and child


    The Most Effective Ways to Discipline a Child With Autism

  • Mixed race girl dancing to headphones in living room


    Your 8-Year-Old Child's Development Milestones

  • These discipline strategies teach tweens life lessons.


    The Top 10 Discipline Techniques for Tweens

  • If your child doesn't listen, ask yourself these 10 questions.


    7 Things You Can Do If Your Child Discipline Isn't Working

  • 7 year old child development - kids doing dishes


    Major Areas to Focus on in Your 7-Year-Old's Behavioral Development

gans down jacket

Canada Goose Femme
canada pelo d'oca
how canada goose jackets are made

The Art of Boxing

“In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade and he carries the reminders of every blow that laid him down or cut him till he dried out in his anger and his shame, I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.”  Paul Simon, The Boxer

Terme Boxer Terme Boxer

 There has a been a strong connection between boxing and the arts that goes back thousands of years. The Terme Boxer from 1 st Century ancient Greece is one of the finest pieces of sculpture ever created, and it shows clearly the face of a veteran boxer who has suffered the blows that Paul Simon wrote so expressively about. Look closely at this work and you will see the broken nose and cauliflower ears that is the trademark of boxers throughout the ages. Note how his hands are bandaged to not only protect his fists, but to also

allow him to inflict more punishment on his opponents. The grim determination in his face is very moving. After a visit to New York City, this warrior is back home in Rome.

Sugar Ray and Sammy Davis Jr. rehearsing Golden Boy Sugar Ray and Sammy Davis Jr. rehearsing Golden Boy

Fighters have been portrayed in plays and movies over and over again. On the stage Golden Boy, by Clifford Odets first played on Broadway in 1937 with Luther Adler playing the lead role of Joe. The supporting cast was absolutely amazing and included Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Elia Kazan, Harry Morgan, Howard DeSilva, Karl Malden, and John Garfield.  It doesn’t get any better then that. Garfield would go on to play the lead role in a revival of the play in 1952. Garfield also portrayed Charley Davis in the movie Body and Soul, another great boxing movie and his most famous role. Years later Sammy Davis Jr. would step into the same role of golden Boy. He got some expert coaching for the part from a guy who knew a little about boxing, the great Sugar Ray robinson.

In 1997 I had the good fortune to see the world premiere of a new play, Tunney / Shakespeare In Six Rounds. The play was written by David E. Lane and starred Jack Wetherall. Appropriately, it opened at the Merrimack Rep in the great boxing town of Lowell. The story line is based on the time Gene Tunney gave a lecture on Shakespeare at Yale University. Wetherall was superb in the role of Tunney and showed the intellectual side of the great champion who loved Shakespeare as much as boxing. I hope to see it revived some day, as it deserves to be seen by a larger audience.

Rocky The Musical, Doodle by Ken Fallin Rocky The Musical, Doodle by Ken Fallin

Rocky, The Musical will be opening on Broadway this February. I am curious to see how that is staged. Will Rocky be serenading Apollo Creed? Could be interesting.

Boxing lends itself very well to the big screen. I have already mentioned Body and Soul, but there are so many others. Who can ever forget Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On The Waterfront. His lines, “I could have been a contender” are firmly embedded in the American culture. Robert Ryan was outstanding in the role of Bill Stoker Thompson, the washed up pug stepping into the ring in The Setup, a great film noir and one of the best boxing movies ever made. Ryan had been a champion college boxer and it shows in the fight scenes. Other great boxing movies include Fat City with Stacy Keach, Champion starring Kirk Douglas, and Raging Bull, the life of Jake LaMotta with Robert DeNiro in the lead role. Filmed in balck and white and filled with raw intensity, it is considered one of the best American movies ever made.

Stag at Sharkey's, George Bellows Stag at Sharkey’s, George Bellows

Both Thomas Eakins and George Bellows did some great paintings of boxers. Bellows was from the Ashcan School of Art and portrayed the fighters in his work as almost blending into each other. Stag at Sharkey’s was his most famous, but he also did a terrific piece with his subject being the Dempsey Firpo fight. Bellows always included himself in his paintings. It is a bit like how Alfred Hitchcock always made an appearance in his films.

Eakins’ work was more traditional but very detailed and impressive. His two most well known boxing pieces are Between Rounds and Salutat. Both were painted in the 1890s and appear to be set in private clubs. They look quite sanitized when compared with Bellows’ work, but are beautiful works.

Shakespeare Boxing

Take some time to explore this connection between the arts and boxing. You will also find plenty of music, literature, and poetry on the subject. It is a rich and fun topic. If Will Shakespeare had been around back in the glory days of boxing, I am sure you would have found him hanging out at Stillman’s Gym.

Happy New Year to all of my readers. I do hope this is a safe year for all those brave boxers who enter the ring, and I hope they are respected and cared about by those who make so much money off of them.



Rare Film Surfaces


Mike Silver

I have been intrigued by the great middleweight boxer Mike Gibbons ever since I read that Gene Tunney tried to duplicate his style. “I learned more about boxing by watching Mike Gibbons in the gym than from any other source”, said Tunney. That is high praise from one of boxing’s all time ring scientists. Mike’s younger brother, Tommy, was also a master boxer but was a bit more aggressive and packed a heavier wallop. He is best remembered for surviving 15 rounds with Jack Dempsey in 1923.

Boxing over Braodway - Gibbons McFarland Mike Gibbons (right) squares off against Packy McFarland before their 1915

Mike Gibbons was known as “The St. Paul Phantom”. The nickname honored his home town and his uncanny defensive skills. Opponents were constantly missing him with their punches. Gibbons was one of the early pioneers of the “sweet science”, wherein footwork, timing, distance and balance were fundamental to the art. According to Boxrec.com, over the course of a 15 year career (1907-1922) Gibbons had 133 bouts. His three official losses occurred when he was past his prime. Among the many outstanding opponents he faced were Harry Greb, Leo Houck, Ted Kid Lewis, Jimmy Clabby, Soldier Bartfield, Al McCoy, Jeff Smith, Eddie McGoorty and Jack Dillon.

Another quality opponent of Gibbons was middleweight contender Augie Ratner of New York. As an amateur Augie won both National A.A.U. and international welterweight titles. He turned pro in 1915. By the time his 104 bout career ended in 1926 Ratner had fought (on multiple occasions) many of the top fighters of his era, including Harry Greb, Ted Kid Lewis, Dave Shade, Jack Delaney, Paul Berlanbach, Jock Malone, Lou Bogash and Bryan Downey.

At the age of 71 Ratner was interviewed in the August 1967 issue of Boxing Illustrated magazine. He told the interviewer that Ted Kid Lewis and Harry Greb were the best fighters he ever faced. “Both were great”, said Ratner. “Lewis could box and he could hit. Greb was not as other men; he started his fights at a fast pace and accelerated it as the fight went on.”

But of all his opponents Ratner considered Mike Gibbons the best boxer he ever fought. “Gibbons was a wonderful boxer,” he said. “Maybe the very best I ever saw. He employed a peculiar footwork—none of the fancy-dan steps some of the moderns use, but a gliding maneuver that proved amazingly effective and energy-conserving. He knew every defensive move in the book, but he was by no means all defense. When he went on the attack, the punches came thick and fast, hard and true. He was a marvel.” [1]

Only one film of Gibbons in action is known to exist—his 1915 10 round no-decision bout with the great Packey McFarland. Sadly the film is not available on YouTube. (Maybe our indefatigable editor can come up with it). But recently I came across another YouTube of Gibbons giving boxing instruction to American soldiers in training during World War I. It is quite impressive and a revelation to those who think boxing back then was crude and unsophisticated. Gibbons is shown demonstrating various punches (including stepping in with “the old one-two”), and also blocking, slipping and countering techniques. These are fundamental moves but rarely seen in today’s world of “I hit you, now you hit me” school of crude and unsophisticated boxing. The rest of the film–Gibbons is only featured in the first few minutes–is just as interesting, as it shows Uncle Sam’s Doughboys getting judo instruction and lessons in bayonet fighting. It is a rare glimpse back in time and well worth the ten minutes it takes to view it.

Note: Boxing historian Mike Silver is the author of “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science” (McFarland Publishing Co.)

[1] Harry Cleavelin, “Augie Ratner: Champ Without A Crown!”, Boxing Illustrated (February 1967), p. 38-40.

Talking with Joe Cross About Not Being Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead

“People are sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

In 2010 the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” was released. It was directed by Joe Cross and chronicled his journey from a 310 lb man suffering from a rare autoimmune disease and taking a handful of medications everyday to a 210 lb picture of health. He did this by drinking only vegetable juice, what he calls a Reboot, while spending 60 days driving across the United States. The movie was a great hit and is still very popular. Joe, 47 years old and a native of Sydney, Australia is back on the road, this time with a book, “The Reboot With Joe Juice Diet”. I recently caught up with him by phone while he was traveling to Albany, NY for an appearance.

Speaking with Joe, you immediately feel his optimism and positive attitude. His Australian accent is infectious, and his story of how he took control of his health is truly inspiring. He plans traveling the world in an effort to lead by example in showing people how they too can change their lives. He is quick to point out he is not a doctor or scientist, but a man who just wants people to see how he was able to improve his health by making some important lifestyle changes. He is spreading the word about how we all have the power to do the same thing.

I began our conversation by telling Joe how most of the books and movies I have read and watched about changing to a healthy lifestyle when it comes to food tend to be preachy and not at all flexible. Many interject a strong political bias as well. His approach is different. He tells me “I think, predominately, that people are pretty smart and crowds are dumb. We tend to do things as a group, but I think trying to reach people as a crowd and then work that down to the individual doesn’t work very well. You already know fruits and vegetables are good for you, but when someone gets up and says you should do this and you should do that, the message gets lost. The preachy side is not the way we educate, not the way we inspire, and certainly not the way we entertain. Make it fun, make it interesting, and make it something that resonates within. Find the answers we all know and then present the questions in interesting, fun, and inspiring ways. Healthier is happier. I have a view that happiness is by default about being useful, but unless you have your health you can’t be fully useful.” He asks rhetorically, “ Who’s unhealthy and happy? Very few people.”

Joe Cross 2 In the movie Joe drank only fresh vegetable juices for sixty days and then the viewers assume he was able to stop taking all of his medications. “ No, after the sixty days I continued with a very strict vegan diet for an additional ninety days. At that point I was pill free. I had done some research and found that for 70% of us our health problems are caused by lifestyle choices, the other 30% is from genetics. I wanted to give myself the chance to find out if I was causing my own disease or if I was one of the 30% for whom it is genetic. Was I in the bad luck crowd or the stupid crowd? I got my answer.” Should those who are unfortunate to be in the 30% crowd just give up? “No, they should still make the changes, and they will most likely find they will need less medication and will feel a lot better.”

Is Joe a vegetarian? “No, I can tell you what I don’t eat. I don’t drink soda or alcohol. No caffeine. I don’t eat fast food. I will eat a hamburger but only in if it is good and from a reliable source. I do not push a plant only diet. I talk about plant based. There are three things available for us to eat: plants, processed food, and animal food. If you can make the plants the base, 40 to 50%, and then split the others up at 20 to 30% you will be doing well. I know when I do eat plant-only I feel better, but I am not ready for that now.”

Joe talked about how are bodies are programmed to go into famine mode, a survival mechanism from a time when we would live through feasts and famines. After all, fat is stored energy. “A lot of people wake up in the morning and are not happy with what they see in the mirror, not a good way to start the day. Don’t look at it as a negative, just think about how your body is protecting you and storing up a lot of energy in case a famine is coming. I would advise before doing a Reboot checking the Internet to make sure there is not a food shortage happening in Boston anytime soon. As long as the coast is clear, maybe it’s time to bring on your own nutritional famine.”

There are many who believe government should step in and play a role in what we should be allowed to eat. Joe leads by example and believes “healthy is happy”. “I don’t want to become a nanny state. I am all about market forces, and my role is writing books, making movies, and doing TV shows. I want to educate people, entertain people, and inspire people to make healthier choices that can affect their happiness and existence. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. The more we demand it the more the tsunami of change will happen.” I mentioned how I am seeing more and more healthier alternatives on menus. “People are voting with their dollars, and when you vote with your dollars in America s..t happens. Those businesses that don’t keep up with the changes will be left by the wayside.”

What’s next for Joe? “The book is number one in Canada and in the top 100 on Amazon. The tour is going global. The movie is now available in 15 languages. I have a new movie coming out in September and am working on a possible program to be aired on PBS. With a base of ten million viewers of my movie, the scientific community is now talking to me. I take their advice and regurgitate it in simpler ways so we can all understand it.’

Joe Cross is leading a revolution that is gaining tremendous momentum. He has boundless energy and the power to motivate and inspire. Watch his movie, read his book, listen to him talk, and you will be inspired to make the changes that will keep you from being Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Check him out at Rebootwithjoe.com

Bobby Franklin can be reached at bob [at] boxingoverbroadway [dot] com

Rest In Peace Jimmy Ellis

Rest In Peace Jimmy Ellis

Former WBA Heavyweight Champ Passes

Another Loss From The Era Of Competitive Boxing

The boxing world was saddened by the recent death of former WBA Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Ellis. Ellis passed after a long battle with dementia pugilistica. For years Jimmy was best known for being Muhammad Ali’s sparring partner, but it is unfair to remember him for that. Jimmy Ellis was a superb boxer puncher who rose through the ranks beginning his professional career as a middleweight.

Jimmy Ellis fought in what was probably the most competitive era in heavyweight boxing.

Ellis and Ali were both from Louisville, Kentucky and began as boxing as amateurs under the tutelage of Officer Joe Martin. They fought twice before turning pro with the young Clay winning their first encounter, and Jimmy taking the decision in the rematch.

Ellis turned pro under the management of Bud Bruner with whom he compiled a record of 15-5 with 6 knockouts. Jimmy’s losses were to Ruben “Hurricane” Carter, George Benton, Henry Hank, Don Fullmer, and Holly Mims, whom he defeated in a rematch. All of these opponents were top rated contenders, and many of the losses were by very close decision.

Jimmy left Bruner and began training with his old friend Ali under the tutelage of Angelo Dundee. He also put on weight moving up to light heavyweight and then heavyweight. Ellis scored a spectacular one round knock out of Jimmy Persol in 1967. This win catapulted him onto the world stage and earned him a berth in the WBA Heavyweight Tournament to find a successor to Ali who had been wrongfully stripped of his title for refusing to be inducted into the Army.

Ellis was considered a long shot to win the title, but he surprised everyone by stopping Leotis Martin, winning a decision over Oscar Bonavena in a fight where he dropped the tough Argentinean twice, and then defeating Jerry Quarry over fifteen rounds to win the title in 1968. Later that year he would successfully defend his crown against Floyd Patterson.

In the meantime, Joe Frazier, who had chosen not to enter the WBA tournament, defeated Buster Mathis in a fight recognized by the New York State Athletic Commission as being for the World Championship. It was just a matter of time before the two would meet to unify the title.

On February 2, 1970 Frazier and Ellis stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden to decide who the better fighter was. Ellis was coming off a layoff of a year and a half, while Frazier had remained active and was at the peak of his ability. Jimmy put on a valiant effort landing a number of strong right hands on Joe, but Frazier was unstoppable that night. After decking Ellis twice in the fourth round, Angelo Dundee stopped the fight before the bell rang for round five.

Ellis would never again challenge for the title, but he did fight his old friend Muhammad Ali in a twelve round bout in 1971, with Ali stopping him in the final round.

Jimmy Ellis fought in what was probably the most competitive era in heavyweight boxing. There were many exciting bouts at that time with so many of the contestants being evenly matched. Also, the top fighters did not duck each other. When the public clamored for a unification bout between Ellis and Frazier, both men agreed to fight. What a contrast to today when fight fans have been waiting years for Mayweather and Pacquiao. In the 70s just about every top fighter met at some point. Ron Lyle, Jerry Quarry, George Chuvalo, Earnie Shavers, Jimmy Young, and many others were in the mix. Many, if not most of the matches then were highly competitive as the fighters were evenly matched. Before these fights, fans would argue for hours over who would win, and no one could be sure. It was a very exciting time for boxing.

Jimmy Ellis was not a big heavyweight, but his years working his way up from middleweight to heavyweight were a time when he learned his craft.

Jimmy Ellis was not a big heavyweight, but his years working his way up from middleweight to heavyweight were a time when he learned his craft. Even though he had a number of losses, he was learning his trade, and he learned it well. He had a tremendous right hand, which he combined with great footwork and speed. This combination allowed him to defeat much stronger fighters such as George Chuvalo and Oscar Bonavena while also outspeeding Floyd Patterson, and outsmarting slick counter punching Jerry Quarry.

Jimmy’s career came to an end in 1975 after he was poked in the eye during a sparring session. The accident caused him to lose the sight in that eye. His career was now over, but unfortunately, it was too late. The years in the ring both in matches and the thousands of rounds of sparring in the gym had already taken their toll. For a number of years before his death he suffered the effects of dementia pugilistica, an Alzheimer’s type of disease that is the result of repeated blows to the head. Jimmy’s former rivals Jerry Quarry and Floyd Patterson suffered the same fate.


For years Jimmy Ellis lived under the shadow of having been Ali’s sparring partner, but make no mistake about it; Jimmy was a world class boxer puncher who fought and beat many of the top contenders of his day, and that was quite a day. Ellis was also a deeply religious man who sang Gospel along with his wife Mary Etta, who passed away in 2006.

Jimmy Ellis was a gentleman who never spoke a bad word about anyone.

Jimmy Ellis was a gentleman who never spoke a bad word about anyone. He never gave less then one hundred percent when he stepped into the ring. He always carried himself with dignity, and was a true Champion in the ring and out. He will be missed. Rest In Peace Champ.


Tinker Pincot

Rest In Peace


Former light heavy weight contender and long time Ring 4 member Jordan Tinker Picot passed away recently. Tinker was one of the hardest punching fighters to come out of the New England area with a pro record of 17-3-1 with all of his wins coming via knock out. At Ring 4 events Tinker was always one to elicit laughter and he will be missed by all of us.

Rest in Peace Brother.

Ken Fallin

Ken Fallin:

Doodling The Stars From The Broadway Stage

To The World Stage

Ken Fallin Ken Fallin

You have most likely seen Ken Fallin’s work as it appears with “alarming regularity” in the Wall Street Journal, Playbill Online, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker and on the posters for Forbidden Broadway. He also got his start here in Boston doing a weekly drawing for the Sunday Arts section of the Herald back in the 80s. You may not know his name because he prefers to not allow it to intrude into his pieces.

Woody Allen Woody Allen

Ken has always loved cartoons, and has been drawing, or what he calls doodling, since he was a kid. His dream was to be an actor and he pursued that career for many years, but found he made more money drawing caricatures of his fellow actors on the side. Eventually, he got his big break, not in acting, but when he was asked to do the drawings for the poster for “Forbidden Broadway” in 1983. This led to the job at the Boston Herald, followed by working for Wall Street Journal, where he still contributes work every week. I recently spoke with Ken by phone from his home and studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

The first thing you notice when speaking to Ken is that there is a calmness to his voice. He comes across as a man who loves people and enjoys his work. I ask him about how he calls his work doodling and not his art.

“I try not to take myself too seriously.” Did you doodle when you were a kid?

Aladdin Aladdin

“I did, I did, but it was something that was just a lot of fun. I loved cartoons. I loved comic strips in the newspapers. I loved watching cartoons on television, and I loved Mad Magazine. Warner Brothers made a lot cartoons with caricatures of their famous players like Humphrey Bogart, and that just blew my mind that they were taking real people and making them into cartoons. That’s how I saw it…it was just the best, because when I would look at people, especially funny looking people, I would think this person looks like a cartoon. That’s where I think I got my love of caricatures.”


Max Schmeling Max Schmeling

Were you taught drawing?“It wasn’t taught. It’s kind of an instinctual thing. You see somebody and the way you see them is your own vision of them, and I don’t think you can teach that. It’s the way you see the person.”Ken has doodled just about every major Broadway performer in the past thirty-five years as well as world leaders including President Obama for the Wall Street Journal. I was curious what it was like to sit with these famous people and sketch them. I was in for a surprise.


“I don’t get to meet them. It’s not a glamorous life like a photographer where you actually get to go and see the person. I work from photographs. Photos are sent to me via the Internet. Sometimes I get an assignment at 11:00 A.M. that has to be done by 4:00 P.M., I can work fairly fast.”

Ian McKellen as Richard III Ian McKellen as Richard III

A lot of the time Ken does not know anything about the person he is drawing,

“I usually try to pull probably a dozen photos, and if something catches my eye I think, I can draw that, I can draw that angle, the eye, or the nose, or whatever; and I try to do that, and sometimes it doesn’t work and I have to switch over to another photo.


Commissioner William Bratton Commissioner William Bratton

Ken has been heavily influenced by the work of Al Hirschfeld. I ask if he had ever met the great artist,


“I have. Well, this is funny because years ago I actually got my big break doing a show called “Forbidden Broadway”, and Al used to go to all the opening nights. He went to one in New York and they showed him the program cover that had my drawing on it and said, ‘what do you think of it?, and he thought he had done it. I took that as the ultimate compliment. He was a very nice man. I never got to know him really well. After he died I got to know his wife and I got to go up to his studio. I actually got to sit in his chair. That was

Rocky The Musical Rocky The Musical

very exciting. Louise Hirschfeld and the people at the Al Hirschfeld Foundation have been very supportive of my work. They can see I am influenced by, but not copying him.”


Other artists, photographers, and architects, have influenced Ken including Aubrey Beardsley, Richard Avedon, and Irving Penn. I read a quote from Irving Penn to him. “Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is one they would like to show to the world…very often what lies behind the façade is rare and more wonderful then the subject knows or dares to believe.” I was curious if this would apply to Ken’s art.

Madmen Madmen

“Usually, when I am drawing, my mind is pretty blank because I need it to be that way in order to create something. It’s probably subconscious with an artist. Anytime you do anything creative you’re not really aware of it at the time, but things come through when you love it, and I really love what I do. I am an old fashioned illustrator. I use a quill pen that I have to keep dipping in ink, and scratching on illustration board. I love the old fashioned stuff, and I’m hoping that comes through, and when people buy my stuff and they tell me they love looking at them that means the world to me.”

Billy Joel Billy Joel

With his upbeat yet easy going manner, Ken hardly seems to be a suffering artist. I mention that I don’t see him pulling a VanGogh and cutting an ear off. “I sometimes clip a fingernail, but that is as far as I go.”

I find it amazing he is able to draw such meaningful doodles without having met his subjects. It is as if Ken has a sixth sense.


“I’ve had relatives of people I’ve drawn tell me you captured something there, and I’m like I did this from a photograph. I guess it was subconscious, but that is such a compliment.”


Rocky Rocky

Ken got his start with the Wall Street Journal in 1994. “I had an agent and she got me my first WSJ job, and they hired me to draw sports figures. I did every sport. I even did the Winter Olympics that year.” I ask if he got to go, “Oh no, it’s all photographs. You’re trying to make my life much too glamorous. I’m not a sports person and I know very little about it, but I would look at photographs and just hope they wouldn’t come out looking like chorus boys or something. And it worked cause they had me doing that for almost four years.”


I bring up the subject of drawing political figures without having his own views, either positive or negative, come across.

“I have to be real careful if it’s somebody I know and that I don’t like, and they don’t want my drawings to be editorial. They just want me to show the person. It can be frustrating, but then I think of the paycheck and I push forward.”

Bullets Over Broadway Bullets Over Broadway

Caricature can be a bit of a minefield particularly when drawing different ethnic groups. Because so many of the early illustrators had a field day making hateful statements with their disgraceful pieces. Ken is comfortable with any subject he doodles.

Chuck Berry Chuck Berry

“I grew up around a lot of prejudice, but I never understood that, it didn’t make sense to me to be prejudiced. I just didn’t understand why people didn’t like other people. It usually is from ignorance and fear of the unknown. With caricatures, it’s interesting we are talking about this, when I got my first assignments to draw black people my editors would sometimes be very nervous, but I would say, ‘You shouldn’t be nervous’, and this is true, I’ve drawn blacks, I’ve drawn Asians, you know, all types, and I approach all of them the same way, and I think it shows in that. It’s not like I’m trying to make fun of any particular person, it’s just the way I see them without being cruel, I never try to be cruel. I’ve never had a problem.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman

I ask Ken how old he is, and as he tells me he is 65 he reflects a bit on his very interesting journey.


“When I turned 50 my life was actually better. I got started in my late 30s that is when I got my first big break. Things have just gotten better. The really great thing is I don’t think I peaked too young, and I’m not jaded. It’s like things are happening. I’m hearing from all these people I went to high school with and they are so happy to be retiring, and I’m thinking I love what I do, I would never retire unless somebody stopped paying me.”


Fallin talks about his time in 1975 at the New School in New York and studying under famed cartoonist Mort Gerberg.

Joel Grey Caberet Joel Grey Caberet

“I wanted to be a cartoonist for a brief period. Mort knew all these cartoonists at the New Yorker, and every week he would bring one in to talk to us, and we had people like George Booth and Charles Addams, and they were wonderful. And for our assignment every week we had to send a batch of cartoons to the New Yorker, and we had to bring in our rejection slip to show proof that we did it.”


Ken had spent a number of years after school as a starving actor as he kept pursuing his dream. What went on during those “lost years” from school until your big break in 1985?


“I did everything you can imagine. I’ve had just about every job. I’ve never worked in a hospital, but I’ve done just about everything else. I’ve been a waiter and a cab driver (Ken drove for Red Cab in Brookline, MA). I was drawing and acting, that was my original goal and the reason I came to New York. I got a job in 1979 working in a summer stock company in Connecticut, and I was making more money doing their posters for the shows and doing caricatures for the actors. You know, they’d pay me like five bucks for a drawing of them, and since I was only making like $45.00 a week as an actor, this came in very handy. I still thought of myself as becoming an actor but it got to the point I was making more money doing illustrations, these rinky-dink jobs, but they were coming in. What’s ironic is now a days I have meetings with Broadway producers and directors and writers about my art, but I’m always thinking, gosh, why didn’t I know these people when I wanted to be an actor. But it all worked out, I have no complaints.

Keith Jarrett Keith Jarrett

“It wasn’t until my late thirties when I got my big break. It got to the point where I didn’t think anything was ever going to happen, and I was very discouraged. But then things just started happening and it was great. I think you just sort of have to be ready. If you believe in your self, and I have to admit there were periods that I didn’t, but if you can just sort of hold on and have somebody else tell you they believe in you that helps too.


“I have to throw this in because everyone has a parent story. My father never understood what I did as an illustrator until I started working for the Wall Street Journal, and other people would say ‘look at what Ken’s drawing here.’ And he started taking pride in it, but he could not believe people would pay you to draw. He was a salesman. If I was selling drawings that would be one thing, but he finally got it. Just before he died he told me he was proud of me, and that made it all right, but for years he thought I was a bum.”


What else would he like people to know about him?


“You can say I am very kind to animals. I do dog rescue, that’s my big, big thing. I help rescue dogs out of the shelters here in New York. Our main goal is to get them out of the kill shelters cause we have very bad shelters here in New York. We try to get them either into foster homes or into a shelter that doesn’t kill. I like drawing dogs too. I don’t get to do that much in my pay work. I think they are such characters.”


After my conversation with this very warm and talented man I feel it is never too late to pursue your dream. It wasn’t easy for Ken, but he persisted and we are all the better for having him sharing his art with us. I hope you will now feel you know the man behind those wonderful doodles you see in so many publications.


Originals and prints of all Ken’s work are for sale including his work for the Wall Street Journal. The day we spoke he had earlier been on the phone with Patrick Stewart who was buying a copy of the wonderful piece Ken did for Playbill of “Waiting For Godot” starring Stewart and Ian McKellan.


You can contact Ken through his website at kenfallinartist.com


Holman Williams and Marcel Cerdan, The Boston Strong Boy, And Boxing At Boston City Hall Plaza

Williams-Cerdan-Rooftop The photo of Holman Williams and Marcel Cerdan which accompanies this article, having a conversation on a Paris rooftop has always fascinated me. I first saw it in the International Boxing Research Organization Journal, and Dan Cuoco, the director of that fine organization shared it with me. On July 7, 1946 Williams and Cerdan fought each other in Paris with Cerdan winning a decision over the American. Holman Williams was one of a group of boxers that came to be known as The Black Murderers’ Row. Others in this elite crowd were Charley Burley, Cocoa Kid, Eddie Booker, Bert Lytell, Loyd Marshall, Jack Chase, and Aaron “Tiger” Wade. All were great fighters who never got a shot at the title partly because of race, and partly because they were just too good. Author Harry Otty has written a fine book chronicling the careers of these boxers who deserve to be recognized by all boxing fans. His book, “Charley Burley and The Black Murderers Row’’, is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the sport.

In this photo, we see Williams who is at this point on the downside of his career, speaking with Cerdan who would two years later win the Middleweight Title from Tony Zale. I don’t know if this was taken before or after the bout, but it is interesting to see how intently they are listening and speaking to each other. This is not a photo of two wise mouth punks talking trash to each other, but of two professionals, of two gentlemen spending some time together. Are they talking about their fight? About boxing in general and the techniques they use? Perhaps they are having a conversation about the cultural scene in Paris. What I find striking is how relaxed they are with each other. These are two great fighters who would, or have already, put on a very tough fight; yet they are completely at ease in each other’s company. In this photo, both men convey class and dignity. The backdrop of Paris further enhances them. Both are impeccably dressed and could easily pass for a couple of writers or actors. It is a snapshot of a very different and interesting time. Take a moment to study this picture and let your mind wander to just what their conversation was about that July afternoon on a rooftop in Paris.

Strong Boy, The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan
America’s First Sports Hero
By Christopher Klein Published by Lyons Press

John-L-Sullivan John L. Sullivan was America’s first larger then life sports star, and author Christopher Klein has written a fine account of the Boston Strong Boy. Sullivan, the son of Irish immigrants who had arrived in Boston during the great wave of Irish migration in the mid nineteenth century, was born in Boston’s South End, not Roxbury as many have believed. He made a reputation for himself at an early age with his amazing strength, intimidating stare, and powerful right hand punch.

Klein’s book follows Sullivan’s life in detail and shows just how the Great John L was the right man at the right time to win the adoration of fans nationwide. His fistic talent along with his magnetic personality and booming voice made him an instant celebrity. But, he never would have attained the prominence he did had it not been for the completion of the intercontinental railroad system. This feat of technology, comparable with the internet today, allowed Sullivan to crisscross the country putting on exhibitions and taking on all comers in four round matches. For the first time, Americans were able to see one of their heroes up close, sometimes too close, because Sullivan’s proclivity to drink would make him a very difficult character to control.

I learned much about John L from Klein’s book. Many things I didn’t know, such as the fact that after Gentleman Jim Corbett defeated Sullivan for the crown, the men would later engage in at least two exhibition matches. That Sullivan was a somewhat talented actor who loved performing on the stage, and that he was the first athlete to earn over a million dollars, most of which went to living the high life. The only fault I find in this book is that often times I found myself wanting more details about some of the events, such as the time in Augusta Georgia where Sullivan, who had been drinking heavily grew so verbally abusive that a train hand knocked him out. Surely, this was a big deal, and I would love to have had more details about that incident. I found this book a very interesting read and highly recommend it.

Boxing At City Hall Plaza
June 29 th

This Sunday a live boxing show will take place out doors at City Hall Plaza in Boston. It is the Neighborhood Youth challenge and will feature a team of young amateurs from the local gyms going up against a team of boxers from Connemara, Ireland. Outdoor boxing in Boston is a bit of a throwback to the days of the Great John L and should be a lot of fun. I hope to see you there.

Reading The Gods Of War – Shadow Boxing With Golovkin

Review: The Gods Of War

Springs Toledo Springs Toledo is well known in boxing circles as a very good writer who also knows his boxing. Whether writing about Harry Greb or one of the current champions, his style is a throwback to the days when boxing writers knew the craft of writing as well as the sport. You do not have to be a boxing fan nor do you need a knowledge of the Sweet Science to enjoy his work. However, if you do know your boxing history Springs will make you think more deeply about it.

In his book The Gods Of War, Toledo has compiled a collection of his essays in the first section and then takes us on a run through his selection of the ten best fighters of the modern era (fighters who hit their prime after 1920) he calls this select group The Gods of War.

Gods of War Reading the essays in the first section you will hear echoes, not imitations, of A.J. Leibling and Raymond Chandler. Springs is not attempting to set the clock back with his style of writing, but rather he understands that boxing is the perfect subject for interesting and creative writing. I think of the term coined by Gay Talese, creative non-fiction, when reading these pieces as they all have a certain sense of drama to them that deserves to be explored.

I was pleased to see four essays on Sonny Liston, a fighter much too little has been written about. Springs absolutely nails it when he discusses the Ali Liston fight that was called off in Boston. If that fight had taken place history may have been very different. Much of what is revealed here I know to be true.

He talks about Alexis Arguello and the suffering this very decent man lived with all his life, a life that ended tragically and too soon, but one that is not uncommon in boxing. Boxing has a way of focusing our attention on the unfairness and cruelties of life, and Toledo uses his pen to paint a picture of this reality.

In the section entitled The Gods of War, Springs has developed a criteria for rating the greatest fighters. These greatest of all time lists are always controversial and guaranteed to raise the hackles of boxing fans, but in this case the author has used a very interesting and solid system for rating his picks. Will you agree with his choices? Probably not. But that is part of the fun. What will happen is you will be forced to think more deeply about your own picks. This is not just a list, but a series of short pieces that give the reader insight into each of the Gods of War. I feel I am pretty knowledgeable about the sport having spent a lifetime around it, but I learned much by reading these essays. For instance, I had not known about the connection between the Bob Fitzsimmons Shift and Roberto Duran. I would advise not jumping to the end to see the pick for the top spot, but rather read and savor each bio has you work your way to the end. There are surprises, but Springs backs up each of his choices with his terrific writing and deep insight.

There are many books on boxing being published today. Some very good, some that are labors of love that just don’t measure up, and some that would have been better off remaining as trees. The Gods of War is one that deserves to be read by everyone with an interest in boxing, an appreciation of good writing, and those with an a desire to know more about the human condition. I know it will remain in my library for many years to come.

Shadow Boxing With Golovkin

Gennady Golvkin A couple of weeks ago I watched the Gennady Golovkin Daniel Geale bout on television. I saw something before the bout when the cameras were in Golovkin’s dressing room, something you rarely if ever see today, Gennady was shadow boxing. This used to be common practice as fighters warmed up for their bouts, loosening up and getting ready to do battle. Today, they are usually spending their time warming up while robotically playing patty cake on the mitts with a trainer or having batons swung at them. Golovkin actually moves around the room getting loose and is practicing the movements he will be using in the ring. His mind is engaged. He is not just going through drills and repeating the same moves over and over again. He is visualizing his opponent in front of him, imagining what he will be facing in the ring. He is getting his body ready while engaging his mind.

Golovkin is a very good fighter. He showed that when he rolled with a right hand while delivering his own knockout punch in the Geale fight. He has power, is in great shape all the time, and knows how to think in there. He knows how to slip punches and create angles. He has been well taught and is learning his craft. He is also a class act, behaving as a gentleman before and after a bout. There is no cheap talk or language you wouldn’t want you kids to hear. He carries himself well and sets a very good example.

Golovkin Geale I do see problems for him though. I think he can dominate the division, but I doubt we will ever see him reach his full potential. We may even see him regress a bit. This is because he does not have the level of competition to force him to improve. At this stage in his career he should still be forced to learn in each fight he has. He is a very focused and intellectual boxer, but he does not have the peers to pressure him to go beyond where he is now. I saw some signs that he was getting just a bit sloppy in the Geale match. This is not to take anything away from him, it just shows that he is so good he does not have to pay for his mistakes. I doubt his camp is even able to find good sparring for him. In an earlier age they would have had solid journeyman sparring partners for a fighter like Gennady. Guys that would make him work in there, forcing him to hone his skills and continue to learn new moves. I hope he continues to improve so we get to see if he is able to develop into a great fighter, but I fear that instead of improving, he may be brought down by the caliber of fighters he is facing in today’s game. He is very smart. He is very talented. I want him to prove me wrong.

Bobby can be reached at bob2boxer [at] yahoo [dot] com

Master Boxer Speaks! My Interview with Curtis Cokes


Mike Silver

Curtis Cokes held the welterweight title from 1966 to 1969. He was born and raised in Dallas,Texas, where he still resides. Curtis was a gifted all-around athlete in high school, excelling in baseball and basketball. He earned all-state honors in both sports and briefly played basketball for the Harlem Stars, a professional touring team.

Curtis Cokes - Boxing over Broadway Welterweight champion Curtis Cokes.

Curtis first laced on the gloves at a local YMCA and was undefeated in 22 amateur bouts before turning pro in 1958. This was at a time when there were eight weight divisions and eight undisputed champions. (How quaint!) By the mid-1960s Curtis had become a top rated welterweight contender. Like all of his contemporaries he acquired contender status the old fashioned way—he earned it. (Also quaint by today’s standards). During his climb to the title he sharpened his considerable boxing skills against the likes of Stefan Redl, Joe Miceli, Kenny Lane, Manny Alvarez, Jose Stable, Stan Harrington, Stanley “Kitten” Hayward, Billy Collins and in three memorable bouts with the great Luis Rodriguez.

The boxing world first took notice of Curtis Cokes when he upset future welterweight champion Luis Rodriguez in 1961. Rodriguez outpointed Curtis in their rematch four months later. The rubber match took place on July 6, 1966 in New Orleans. The bout was the semi-final of a tournament to determine a new welterweight champion. Curtis stopped Rodriguez in the 15 th round, thus becoming the only fighter to stop the great Cuban welterweight in his prime. Less than two months later, in the final bout of the tournament, Curtis outpointed Manny Gonzales to win the crown vacated by Emile Griffith.

Curtis Cokes had an elegant and refined boxing style of a type that is all but extinct today. He was adept at both offense and defense but was primarily a counter-puncher— skills that were admired and appreciated by knowledgeable boxing fans. (Films of several of his fights are available on YouTube). After five successful defenses, including impressive KOs over Charlie Shipes and Willie Ludick, he lost the title to the great Jose Napoles on April 4 th 1969. With both eyes nearly swollen shut Cokes’ manager told the referee to stop the fight before the start of the 13 th round. The rematch, two months later, ended similarly with Cokes unable to continue beyond the 10 th round. Curtis fought for three more years before hanging up his gloves. He compiled a 62-14-4 record, including 30 knockouts. Napoles and Hayward were the only fighters to stop him. In 1972 Curtis gave a credible acting performance in “Fat City”, a boxing movie directed by John Huston.

After he retired from boxing Curtis was involved in various business ventures but he always remained close to the sport he loved. In 1980 he wrote, with co-author Hugh Kayser, The Complete Book of Boxing for Fighters and Fight Fans. I consider it the best boxing instruction book of the past 70 years. The book has reportedly sold more than 77,000 copies. He currently owns and operates Curtis Cokes’ Home of Champions Boxing Gym in Dallas where the emphasis is on serving his community through an amateur boxing program geared to keeping young people off the streets.

Today, at the age of 76, Curtis Cokes is healthy and mentally sharp, with an amazing memory for the details of his career. Fortunately, he exhibits no ill effects from his 80 professional bouts—a testament to his superb defensive skills, physical conditioning and knowing when to hang up his gloves. Aside from being an old school fighter Curtis is also an old school gentleman. He is gracious, engaging and warm. Interviewing this Hall of Fame boxer was a delightful experience.

My thanks to mutual friend Ken Burke for providing contact information for Curtis.


Mike Silver: Champ, the purists loved your smooth delivery and emphasis on basic fundamentals such as the left jab, footwork, counter punching and defense. I count myself lucky to have seen you fight on television. When I told a few older fans (who also saw you fight) that I was going to interview you their first words were, “He was a good boxer”. That is how you are remembered—that and your tremendous victories over the great Luis Rodriguez. How do you go about conveying your storehouse of knowledge to the young students at your gym?

Curtis Cokes: Before we start teaching fundamentals that involve throwing and blocking punches, or how to get away from punches, I get their legs in shape. We work on walking and running forward and backward. Footwork is such an important part of the sport. When I played baseball and basketball I knew I had to get my legs in shape because the legs are what carry the body. I think today’s fighters forget about footwork. I worked every day on my footwork, turning left and right, backing up, going forward. I turned to my left to be outside of my opponent’s right hand, and then I’d swing to my right to be outside of his left jab. Learning how to box is a slow process but you try to learn something every day.

MS: Speaking of footwork, in my book, The Arc of Boxing, I asked the great ballet dancer Edwin Villella, who was a champion amateur boxer before he became a ballet star, to explain the similarities between the two disciplines. You cover the same topic in The Complete Book of Boxing. Quoting from your book: “The balance and rhythm of a dancer are also important, for a boxer must be able to move quickly and change his tempo and direction at will…maneuverability is of extreme importance. An almost ballet type of body coordination gives a fighter a distinct edge.”

CC: The balance of a dancer is tremendous, and like a dancer a boxer has to be able to move and dance while maintaining his balance. You have to be able to have good balance to throw your punches. When I played with the Harlem Stars basketball team I used to watch Goose Tatum, how he would get in position and block people out. It was amazing to see him do that so smoothly. Goose Tatum’s coordination and balance was outstanding.

MS: Aside from footwork, what do you see as the main difference between the boxers of your generation and today’s practitioners?

CC: Today it’s all about hitting and that’s all it is…just go out and hit, hit, hit. They don’t learn the fundamentals of boxing. They don’t get a Ph.D. in boxing—how to block, roll, duck, slip and get away from punches– to hit and not get hit. You have to learn the smart part of boxing, because you want to come out of it the same as you went in. Most guys just fight, fight, fight, but “fighting” isn’t “boxing”. It’s an intelligent sport and you have to be smart to be able to succeed in it. If you just go toe to toe it becomes a toughman contest and the toughman wins. It’s not a science anymore. You don’t have to be smart to box anymore. There is no sport called “fighting”, it’s called professional boxing. A big part of the problem is we don’t have the trainers that we used to have. There are not too many people that know how to train fighters.

MS: Who was your trainer?

CC: I had two trainers: Robert Thomas was my first coach and Robert “Cornbread” Smith was the coach with all the experience. He was back in Joe Louis’s day and he was a good trainer. My manager was Doug Lord. Doug was a good manager and he took care of me. He was not only my manager, he was my friend. I knew the boxing game and Doug, who owned an insurance company, knew about business.

MS: You became welterweight champion in your 53 rd professional fight. Two months ago a fighter with only 19 pro fights won a welterweight title belt. The fighter he dethroned had all of 24 pro bouts.

CC: I don’t think there are as many fighters available as in my day. Most become champions before they are ready to be champions. To be a champion you’ve got to have fought some of the best fighters in the world. Even if you lose to some of the great guys it’s not a shame to lose to a great fighter. You can learn from the experience. You have to take it step by step. You go from first grade to the tenth grade and then you graduate. Instead of learning the game they want to fight for a title too early even before they learn to tie their gloves on. You’ve got 10 fights and you’re fighting for a title. Back in the day you had to have at least 30 or 40 fights to get the experience before you challenged for a title. Baseball players don’t go to the major leagues until they prove themselves in the minor leagues, then they go to the major leagues. It’s a step by step process. Just because you can hit a guy and knock him out doesn’t mean you can get up there and fight.

MS: As a young boxer did you have any role models that you wanted to imitate?

CC: I learned from two of the best—Joe Brown and Sugar Ray Robinson. I watched those guys when they were fighting. I tried to copy their style. I tried to copy Ray’s style but I worked with Joe Brown. I trained with him when I was a kid and he was lightweight champion of the world. I went to Houston and sparred with him and he told me that I was going to be a champion. Brown would show me how he would throw punches and miss them on purpose to make a guy move his head in the range of his right hand. And I started doing it—I would purposely miss a jab on the outside so my opponent would move his head to the inside where he was in my right hand range. I was a good right hand puncher. I don’t see anybody doing that today. I saw “Kitten” Hayward do it. So did Luis Rodriguez. Emile Griffith did some of that. Those fighters, they were smarter than these guys today who just go out there and hit.

MS: Did anyone else influence your style of boxing?

CC: I sparred with (former middleweight champion) Carl “Bobo” Olson in Honolulu, Hawaii when I went over there to box one time. (Note: Cokes outpointed Stan Harrington on May 21, 1963 in Honolulu). They all told me I was going to be champion of the world one day and they helped me quite a bit. I got Olson’s jab and I got Joe Brown’s movement and his right hand, and I picked up all this stuff from these guys. You have to learn how to box and you have to learn it well. You go to school to learn your ABC’s and you have to learn boxing the same way.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search For other uses, see Follies (disambiguation). Follies Pfollies.jpeg Original Broadway poster Music Stephen Sondheim Lyrics Stephen Sondheim Book James Goldman Productions
  • 1971 Broadway
  • 1972 Los Angeles
  • 1985 Lincoln Center concert
  • 1987 West End
  • 2001 Broadway revival
  • 2002 Los Angeles
  • 2002 West End revival
  • 2007 New York City Center concert
  • 2011 Washington, D.C.
  • 2011 Broadway revival
  • 2012 Los Angeles
  • 2012 Madrid
  • 2017 West End revival
  • New York Drama Critics' Award for Best Musical
  • Tony Award for Best Score
  • Drama Desk Award for Best Score
  • Drama Desk Award for Best Lyrics

Follies is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. The story concerns a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, of the past performers of the "Weismann's Follies", a musical revue (based on the Ziegfeld Follies ), that played in that theatre between the World Wars. It focuses on two couples, Buddy and Sally Durant Plummer and Benjamin and Phyllis Rogers Stone, who are attending the reunion. Sally and Phyllis were showgirls in the Follies. Both couples are deeply unhappy with their marriages. Buddy, a traveling salesman, is having an affair with a girl on the road; Sally is still as much in love with Ben as she was years ago; and Ben is so self-absorbed that Phyllis feels emotionally abandoned. Several of the former showgirls perform their old numbers, sometimes accompanied by the ghosts of their former selves. The musical numbers in the show have been interpreted as pastiches of the styles of the leading Broadway composers of the 1920s ands '30s, and sometimes as parodies of specific songs.

The Broadway production opened on April 4, 1971, directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, and with choreography by Bennett. The musical was nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won seven. The original production, the most costly performed on Broadway to that date [1] , ran for over 500 performances but ultimately lost its entire investment. The musical has had a number of major revivals, and several of its songs have become standards, including "Broadway Baby", "I'm Still Here", "Too Many Mornings", "Could I Leave You?", and "Losing My Mind".


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Plot
  • 3 Songs
  • 4 Analysis
  • 5 Versions
  • 6 Productions
    • 6.1 1971 Original Broadway
    • 6.2 1972 Los Angeles
    • 6.3 1985 Wythenshawe and Lincoln Center
    • 6.4 1987 West End
    • 6.5 U.S. regional productions
    • 6.6 1996 and 1998 concerts
    • 6.7 2001 Broadway revival
    • 6.8 2002 London revival
    • 6.9 2002 Los Angeles
    • 6.10 2007 New York City Center Encores!
    • 6.11 2011 Kennedy Center and Broadway
    • 6.12 2012 Los Angeles
    • 6.13 2013 Toulon Opera House (France)
    • 6.14 2016 Australian Concert Version
    • 6.15 2017 National Theatre London
  • 7 Characters and original cast
  • 8 Critical response
  • 9 Recordings
  • 10 Film adaptation
  • 11 Awards and nominations
    • 11.1 Original Broadway production
    • 11.2 Original London production
    • 11.3 2001 Broadway revival
    • 11.4 2011 Broadway revival
    • 11.5 2017 London
  • 12 Notes
  • 13 References
  • 14 Further reading
  • 15 External links

Background [ edit ]

After the failure of Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965), for which he had written the lyrics to Richard Rodgers's music, Sondheim decided that he would henceforth work only on projects where he could write both the music and lyrics himself. He asked author and playwright James Goldman to join him as bookwriter for a new musical. Inspired by a New York Times article about a gathering of former showgirls from the Ziegfeld Follies, they decided upon a story about ex-showgirls. [2]

Originally titled The Girls Upstairs , the musical was originally to be produced by David Merrick and Leland Hayward in late 1967, but the plans ultimately fell through, and Stuart Ostrow became the producer, with Joseph Hardy to direct. These plans also did not work out, [3] and finally Harold Prince, who had worked previously with Sondheim, became the producer and director. He had agreed to work on The Girls Upstairs if Sondheim would agree to work on Company ; Michael Bennett, the young choreographer of Company , was also brought onto the project. It was Prince who changed the title to Follies ; he was "intrigued by the psychology of a reunion of old chorus dancers and loved the play on the word 'follies'". [2]

Plot [ edit ]

In 1971, on the soon-to-be demolished stage of the Weismann Theatre, a reunion is being held to honor the Weismann's "Follies" shows past, and the beautiful chorus girls who performed there every year between the two world wars. The once resplendent theatre is now little but planks and scaffolding (Prologue/Overture). As the ghosts of the young showgirls slowly drift through the theatre, a majordomo enters with his entourage of waiters and waitresses. They pass through the spectral showgirls without seeing them.

Sally Durant Plummer, "blond, petite, sweet-faced" and at 49 "still remarkably like the girl she was thirty years ago", [4] a former Weismann girl is the first guest to arrive; her ghostly youthful counterpart moves towards her. Phyllis Rogers Stone, a stylish and elegant woman, [4] also arrives with her husband Ben, a renowned philanthropist and politician. As their younger counterparts approach them, Phyllis comments to Ben about their past. He feigns a lack of interest; there is an underlying tension in their relationship. As more guests arrive, Sally’s husband, Buddy, enters. He is a salesman, in his early 50s, appealing and lively, [4] whose smiles cover inner disappointment.

Finally, Weismann enters to greet his guests. Roscoe, the old master of ceremonies, introduces the former showgirls ("Beautiful Girls"). Former Weismann performers at the reunion include Max and Stella Deems, who lost their radio jobs and became store owners in Miami; Solange La Fitte, a coquette, who is vibrant and flirtatious even at 66; Hattie Walker, who has outlived five younger husbands; Vincent and Vanessa, former dancers who now own an Arthur Murray franchise; Heidi Schiller, for whom Franz Lehár once wrote a waltz (or was it Oscar Straus? Facts never interest her; what matters is the song!); and Carlotta Campion, a film star who has embraced life and benefited from every experience.

As the guests reminisce, the stories of Ben, Phyllis, Buddy and Sally unfold. Phyllis and Sally were roommates while in the Follies, and Ben and Buddy were best friends at school in New York. When Sally sees Ben, her former lover, she greets him self-consciously ("Don't Look at Me"). Buddy and Phyllis join their spouses and the foursome reminisces about the old days of their courtship and the theatre, their memories vividly coming to life in the apparitions of their young counterparts ("Waiting For The Girls Upstairs"). Each of the four is shaken at the realization of how life has changed them. Elsewhere, Willy Wheeler (portly, in his sixties) cartwheels for a photographer. Emily and Theodore Whitman, ex-vaudevillians in their seventies, perform an old routine ("The Rain on the Roof"). Solange proves she is still fashionable at what she claims is 66 ("Ah, Paris!"), and Hattie Walker performs her old showstopping number ("Broadway Baby").

Buddy warns Phyllis that Sally is still in love with Ben, and she is shaken by how the past threatens to repeat itself. Sally is awed by Ben’s apparently glamorous life, but Ben wonders if he made the right choices and considers how things might have been ("The Road You Didn't Take"). Sally tells Ben how her days have been spent with Buddy, trying to convince him (and herself) ("In Buddy’s Eyes"). But it is clear that Sally is still in love with Ben – even though their affair ended badly when Ben decided to marry Phyllis. She shakes loose from the memory and begins to dance with Ben, who is touched by the memory of the Sally he once cast aside.

Phyllis interrupts this tender moment and has a biting encounter with Sally. Before she has a chance to really let loose, they are both called on to participate in another performance – Stella Deems and the ex-chorines line up to perform an old number ("Who's That Woman?"), as they are mirrored by their younger selves. Afterward, Phyllis and Ben angrily discuss their lives and relationship, which has become numb and emotionless. Sally is bitter and has never been happy with Buddy, although he has always adored her. She accuses him of having affairs while he is on the road, and he admits he has a steady girlfriend, Margie, in another town, but always returns home. Carlotta amuses a throng of admirers with a tale of how her dramatic solo was cut from the Follies because the audience found it humorous, transforming it as she sings it into a toast to her own hard-won survival ("I'm Still Here").

Ben confides to Sally that his life is empty. She yearns for him to hold her, but young Sally slips between them and the three move together ("Too Many Mornings"). Ben, caught in the passion of memories, kisses Sally as Buddy watches from the shadows. Sally thinks this is a sign that the two will finally get married, and Ben is about to protest until Sally interrupts him with a kiss and runs off to gather her things, thinking that the two will leave together. Buddy leaves the shadows furious, and fantasizes about the girl he should have married, Margie, who loves him and makes him feel like "a somebody", but bitterly concludes he does not love her back ("The Right Girl"). He tells Sally that he's done, but she is lost in a fantasy world, and tells him that Ben has asked her to marry him. Buddy tells her she must be either crazy or drunk, but he's already supported Sally through rehab clinics and mental hospitals and cannot take any more. Ben drunkenly propositions Carlotta, with whom he once had a fling, but she has a young lover and coolly turns him down. Heidi Schiller, joined by her younger counterpart, performs "One More Kiss", her aged voice a stark contrast to the sparkling coloratura of her younger self. Phyllis kisses a waiter and confesses to him that she had always wanted a son. She then tells Ben that their marriage can't continue the way it has been. Ben replies by saying that he wants a divorce, and Phyllis assumes the request is due to his love for Sally. Ben denies this, but still wants Phyllis out. Angry and hurt, Phyllis considers whether to grant his request ("Could I Leave You?").

Phyllis begins wondering at her younger self, who worked so hard to become the socialite that Ben needed. Ben yells at his younger self for not appreciating all the work that Phyllis did. Both Buddys enter to confront the Bens about how they stole Sally. Sally and her younger self enter and Ben firmly tells Sally that he never loved her. All the voices begin speaking and yelling at each other. Suddenly, at the peak of madness and confusion, the couples are engulfed by their follies, which transform the rundown theatre into a fantastical "Loveland", an extravaganza even more grand and opulent than the gaudiest Weismann confection: "the place where lovers are always young and beautiful, and everyone lives only for love". [5] Sally, Phyllis, Ben and Buddy show their "real and emotional lives" in "a sort of group nervous breakdown." [6]

What follows is a series of musical numbers performed by the principal characters, each exploring their biggest desires. The two younger couples sing in counterpoint of their hopes for the future ("You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through"). Buddy then appears, dressed in "plaid baggy pants, garish jacket and a shiny derby hat", and performs a high-energy vaudeville routine depicting how he is caught between his love for Sally and Margie's love for him. [4] ("The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues"). Sally appears next, dressed as a torch singer, singing of her passion for Ben from the past- and her obsession with him now ("Losing My Mind"). In a jazzy dance number, accompanied by a squadron of chorus boys, Phyllis reflects on the two sides of her personality, one naive and passionate and the other jaded and sophisticated and her desire to combine them ("The Story of Lucy and Jessie"). Resplendent in top hat and tails, Ben begins to offer his devil-may-care philosophy ("Live, Laugh, Love"), but stumbles and anxiously calls to the conductor for the lyrics, as he frantically tries to keep going. Ben becomes frenzied, while the dancing ensemble continues as if nothing was wrong. Amidst a deafening discord, Ben screams at all the figures from his past and collapses as he cries out for Phyllis.

"Loveland" has dissolved back into the reality of the crumbling and half-demolished theatre; dawn is approaching. Ben admits to Phyllis his admiration for her, and Phyllis shushes him and helps Ben regain his dignity before they leave. After exiting, Buddy escorts the emotionally devastated [5] Sally back to their hotel with the promise to work things out later. Their ghostly younger selves appear, watching them go. The younger Ben and Buddy softly call to their "girls upstairs", and the Follies end.

Songs [ edit ]

Source: "Follies" Score

  • "Prologue" – Orchestra
  • "Overture" – Orchestra
  • "Beautiful Girls" – Roscoe and Company
  • "Don't Look at Me" – Sally and Ben
  • "Waiting for the Girls Upstairs" – Ben, Sally, Phyllis and Buddy, Young Ben, Young Sally, Young Phyllis and Young Buddy
  • "Montage" ("Rain on the Roof"/"Ah, Paris!"/"Broadway Baby") – Emily, Theodore, Solange, and Hattie
  • "The Road You Didn't Take" – Ben
  • "Bolero d'Amour" – Danced by Vincent and Vanessa ≠≠
  • "In Buddy's Eyes" – Sally
  • "Who's That Woman?" – Stella and Company
  • "I'm Still Here" – Carlotta
  • "Too Many Mornings" – Ben and Sally
  • "The Right Girl" – Buddy
  • "One More Kiss" – Heidi and Young Heidi
  • "Could I Leave You?" – Phyllis
  • "Loveland" – Company
  • "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow" / "Love Will See Us Through" – Young Ben, Young Sally, Young Phyllis and Young Buddy
  • "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues" – Buddy, "Margie", "Sally"
  • "Losing My Mind" – Sally
  • "The Story of Lucy and Jessie" ≠ – Phyllis and Company
  • "Live, Laugh, Love" – Ben and Company
  • "Chaos" – Ben and Company
  • "Finale" – Young Buddy and Young Ben

≠ Some productions substitute "Ah, But Underneath" when the actress portraying Phyllis is not primarily a dancer.

≠≠ Omitted from some productions

Note: this is the original song list from the original Broadway production in 1971. Variations are discussed in Versions

Songs cut prior to the Broadway premiere include: "All Things Bright and Beautiful" (used in the prologue), "Can That Boy Foxtrot!", "Who Could Be Blue?", "Little White House", "So Many People", "It Wasn't Meant to Happen", "Pleasant Little Kingdom", [7] and "Uptown Downtown". The musical numbers "Ah, But Underneath" (replacing "The Story of Lucy and Jessie"), "Country House", "Make the Most of Your Music" (replacing "Live, Laugh, Love"), "Social Dancing" and a new version of "Loveland" have been incorporated into various productions.

Analysis [ edit ]

Hal Prince said: "Follies examines obsessive behavior, neurosis and self-indulgence more microscopically than anything I know of." [8] Bernadette Peters quoted Sondheim on the character of "Sally": "He said early on that [Sally] is off balance, to put it mildly. He thinks she’s very neurotic, and she is very neurotic, so he said to me, 'Congratulations. She’s crazy.'" [9] Martin Gottfried wrote: "The concept behind 'Follies' is theater nostalgia, representing the rose-colored glasses through which we face the fact of age ... the show is conceived in ghostliness. At its very start, ghosts of Follies showgirls stalk the stage, mythic giants in winged, feathered, black and white opulence. Similarly, ghosts of Twenties shows slip through the evening as the characters try desperately to regain their youth through re-creations of their performances and inane theater sentiments of their past." [10]

Joanne Gordon, author and Chair and Artistic Director, Theatre, at California State University, Long Beach [11] ] [12] ) wrote " Follies is in part an affectionate look at the American musical theater between the two World Wars and provides Sondheim with an opportunity to use the traditional conventions of the genre to reveal the hollowness and falsity of his characters' dreams and illusions. The emotional high generated by the reunion of the Follies girls ultimately gives way to anger, disappointment, and a weary resignation to reality." [13] "Follies contains two scores: the Follies pastiche numbers and the book numbers." [14] Some of the Follies numbers imitate the style of particular composers of the early 20th century: Losing My Mind is in the style of a George Gershwin ballad "The Man I Love". [15] Sondheim noted that the song "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues" is "another generic pastiche: vaudeville music for chases and low comics, but with a patter lyric...I tried to give it the sardonic knowingness of Lorenz Hart or Frank Loesser." [16]

"Loveland", the final musical sequence, (that "consumed the last half-hour of the original" production [17] ) is akin to an imaginary 1941 Ziegfeld Follies sequence, with Sally, Phyllis, Ben and Buddy performing "like comics and torch singers from a Broadway of yore." [18] "Loveland" features a string of vaudeville-style numbers, reflecting the leading characters' emotional problems, before returning to the theatre for the end of the reunion party. The four characters are "whisked into a dream show in which each acts out his or her own principal 'folly'". [17]

Versions [ edit ]

Goldman continued to revise the book of the musical right up to his death, which occurred shortly before the 1998 Paper Mill Playhouse production. Sondheim, too, has added and removed songs that he judged to be problematic in various productions. Ted Chapin explains: "Today, Follies is rarely performed twice in exactly the same version. James Goldman's widow made the observation that the show has morphed throughout its entire life...The London production had new songs and dialogue. The Paper Mill Playhouse production used some elements from London but stayed close to the original. The 2001 Roundabout Broadway revival, the first major production following Goldman's death in 1998, was again a combination of previous versions." [19]

Major changes were made for the original production in London, which attempted to establish a lighter tone and favored a happier ending than the original Broadway production. According to Joanne Gordon, "When 'Follies' opened in London...it had an entirely different, and significantly more optimistic, tone. Goldman's revised book offered some small improvements over the original." [20]

According to Sondheim, the producer Cameron Mackintosh asked for changes for the 1987 London production. "I was reluctantly happy to comply, my only serious balk being at his request that I cut "The Road You Didn't Take" ... I saw no reason not to try new things, knowing we could always revert to the original (which we eventually did). The net result was four new songs...For reasons which I've forgotten, I rewrote "Loveland" for the London production. There were only four showgirls in this version, and each one carried a shepherd's crook with a letter of the alphabet on it." [21]

The musical was written in one act, and the original director, Prince, did not want an intermission, while the co-director, Bennett, wanted two acts. It was originally performed in one act. [22] The 1987 West End, 2005 Barrington Stage Company, [23] the 2001 Broadway revival [24] and Kennedy Center 2011 productions were performed in two acts. [18] However, the August 23, 2011 Broadway preview performance was performed without an intermission. [25] By opening the 2011 Broadway revival was performed with the intermission, in two acts. [26] The 2017 National Theatre production is performed without an interval.

Productions [ edit ]

1971 Original Broadway [ edit ]

Follies had its pre-Broadway tryout at the Colonial Theatre, Boston, from February 20 through March 20, 1971. [27] [28]

Model of set design by Boris Aronson

Follies premiered on Broadway on April 4, 1971 at the Winter Garden Theatre. It was directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, with choreography by Bennett, scenic design by Boris Aronson, costumes by Florence Klotz, and lighting by Tharon Musser. It starred Alexis Smith (Phyllis), John McMartin (Ben), Dorothy Collins (Sally), Gene Nelson (Buddy), along with several veterans of the Broadway and vaudeville stage. The supporting role of Carlotta was created by Yvonne De Carlo, and usually is given to a well-known veteran performer who can belt out a song. Other notable performers in the original productions were: Fifi D'Orsay as Solange LaFitte, Justine Johnston as Heidi Schiller, Mary McCarty as Stella Deems, Arnold Moss as Dimitri Weismann, Ethel Shutta as Hattie Walker, and Marcie Stringer and Charles Welch as Emily and Theodore Whitman.

The show closed on July 1, 1972 after 522 performances and 12 previews. According to Variety , the production was a "total financial failure, with a cumulative loss of $792,000." [29] Prince planned to present the musical on the West Coast and then on a national tour. However, the show did not do well in its Los Angeles engagement and plans for a tour ended. [30]

Frank Rich, for many years the chief drama critic for The New York Times , had first garnered attention, while an undergraduate at Harvard University, with a lengthy essay for the Harvard Crimson about the show, which he had seen during its pre-Broadway run in Boston. He predicted that the show eventually would achieve recognition as a Broadway classic. [31] Rich later wrote that audiences at the original production were baffled and restless. [32]

For commercial reasons, the cast album was cut from two LPs to one early in production. Most songs were therefore heavily abridged and several were left entirely unrecorded. According to Craig Zadan, "It's generally felt that ... Prince made a mistake by giving the recording rights of Follies to Capitol Records, which in order to squeeze the unusually long score onto one disc, mutilated the songs by condensing some and omitting others." [33] Chapin confirms this: "Alas ... final word came from Capitol that they would not go for two records.... [Dick Jones] now had to propose cuts throughout the score in consultation with Steve." [34] "One More Kiss" was omitted from the final release but was restored for CD release. Chapin relates that "there was one song that Dick Jones [producer of the cast album] didn't want to include on the album but which Steve Sondheim most definitely did. The song was "One More Kiss", and the compromise was that if there was time, it would be recorded, even if Jones couldn't promise it would end up on the album. (It did get recorded but didn't make its way onto the album until the CD reissue years later.)" [35] [36]

1972 Los Angeles [ edit ]

The musical was produced at The Muny, St. Louis, Missouri in July 1972 and then transferred to the Shubert Theatre, Century City, California, running from July 22, 1972 through October 1, 1972. It was directed by Prince and starred Dorothy Collins (Sally; replaced by Janet Blair), Alexis Smith (Phyllis), John McMartin (Ben; replaced by Edward Winter), Gene Nelson (Buddy), and Yvonne De Carlo (Carlotta) reprising their original roles. [37] The production was the premiere attraction at the newly constructed 1,800-seat theatre, which, coincidentally, was itself razed thirty years later (in 2002, in order to build a new office building), thus mirroring the Follies plot line upon which the musical is based. [ citation needed ]

1985 Wythenshawe and Lincoln Center [ edit ]

A full production ran at the Forum Theatre, Wythenshawe, England, from 30 April 1985, directed by Howard Lloyd-Lewis, design by Chris Kinman, costumes by Charles Cusick-Smith, lighting by Tim Wratten, musical direction by Simon Lowe, and choreographed by Paul Kerryson. [38] The cast included Mary Millar (Sally Durant Plummer), Liz Izen (Young Sally), Meg Johnson (Stella Deems), Les Want (Max Deems), Betty Benfield (Heidi Schiller), Joseph Powell (Roscoe), Chili Bouchier (Hattie Walker), Shirley Greenwood (Emily Whitman), Bryan Burdon (Theodore Whitman), Monica Dell (Solange LaFitte), Jeannie Harris (Carlotta Campion), Josephine Blake (Phyllis Rogers Stone), Kevin Colson (Ben), Debbie Snook (Young Phyllis), Stephen Hale (Young Ben), Bill Bradley (Buddy Plummer), Paul Burton (Young Buddy), David Scase (Dimitri Weismann), Mitch Sebastian (Young Vincent), Kim Ismay (Young Vanessa), Lorraine Croft (Young Stella), and Meryl Richardson (Young Heidi). [39]

A staged concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, was performed on September 6 and 7, 1985. The concert starred Barbara Cook (Sally), George Hearn (Ben), Mandy Patinkin (Buddy), and Lee Remick (Phyllis), and featured Carol Burnett (Carlotta), Betty Comden (Emily), Adolph Green (Theodore), Liliane Montevecchi (Solange LaFitte), Elaine Stritch (Hattie Walker), Phyllis Newman (Stella Deems), Jim Walton (Young Buddy), Howard McGillin (Young Ben), Liz Callaway (Young Sally), Daisy Prince (Young Phyllis), Andre Gregory (Dmitri), Arthur Rubin (Roscoe), and Licia Albanese (Heidi Schiller). Rich, in his review, noted that "As performed at Avery Fisher Hall, the score emerged as an original whole, in which the 'modern' music and mock vintage tunes constantly comment on each other, much as the script's action unfolds simultaneously in 1971 (the year of the reunion) and 1941 (the year the Follies disbanded)." [32]

Among the reasons the concert was staged was to provide an opportunity to record the entire score. The resulting album was more complete than the original cast album. [32] However, director Herbert Ross took some liberties in adapting the book and score for the concert format—dance music was changed, songs were given false endings, new dialogue was spoken, reprises were added, and Patinkin was allowed to sing "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues" as a solo instead of a trio with two chorus girls. Portions of the concert were seen by audiences worldwide in the televised documentary about the making of the concert, also released on videotape and DVD, of 'Follies' in Concert . [40]

1987 West End [ edit ]

The London production purple poster

The musical played in the West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre on July 21, 1987 and closed on February 4, 1989 after 644 performances. The producer was Cameron Mackintosh, direction was by Mike Ockrent, with choreography by Bob Avian and design by Maria Bjornson. The cast featured Diana Rigg (Phyllis), Daniel Massey (Ben), Julia McKenzie (Sally), David Healy (Buddy), Lynda Baron, Leonard Sachs, Maria Charles, Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson. Dolores Gray was praised as Carlotta, continuing to perform after breaking her ankle, although in a reduced version of the part. [41] During the run, Eartha Kitt replaced Gray, sparking somewhat of a comeback (she went on to perform her own one woman show at The Shaftesbury Theatre to sell-out houses for three weeks from 18 March 1989 after "Follies" closed). Other cast replacements included Millicent Martin as Phyllis. Julia McKenzie returned to the production for the final four performances. [41]

The book "was extensively reworked by James Goldman, with Sondheim's cooperation and also given an intermission." The producer Cameron Mackintosh did not like "that there was no change in the characters from beginning to end.... In the London production ... the characters come to understand each other." Sondheim "did not think the London script was as good as the original." However, he thought that it was "wonderful" that, at the end of the first act, "the principal characters recognized their younger selves and were able to acknowledge them throughout the last thirty minutes of the piece." [42] Sondheim wrote four new songs: "Country House" (replacing "The Road You Didn't Take"), "Loveland" (replacing the song of the same title), "Ah, But Underneath" (replacing "The Story of Lucy and Jessie", for the non-dancer Diana Rigg), and "Make the Most of Your Music" (replacing "Live, Laugh, Love"). [41]

Critics who had seen the production in New York (such as Frank Rich) found it substantially more "upbeat" and lacking in the atmosphere it had originally possessed. According to the Associated Press (AP) reviewer, "A revised version of the Broadway hit "Follies" received a standing ovation from its opening-night audience and raves from British critics, who said the show was worth a 16-year wait." The AP quoted Michael Convey of The Financial Times , who wrote: "'Follies' is a great deal more than a camp love-in for old burlesque buffs and Sondheim aficionados." [43] The New York Times critic wrote: "The initial critics' reviews ranged from unqualified raves to some doubts whether the reworked book of James Goldman is up to the inventiveness of Sondheim's songs. 'A truly fantastic evening,' The Financial Times concluded, while The London Daily News said, 'The musical is inspired,' and The Times described the evening as 'a wonderful idea for a show which has failed to grow into a story.'" He further commented: "In part, the show is a tribute to musical stage history, in which the 57-year-old Mr. Sondheim is steeped, for he first learned song writing at the knee of Oscar Hammerstein II and became the acknowledged master songwriter who bridged past musical stage romance into the modern musical era of irony and neurosis. Follies is a blend of both, and the new production is rounded out with production numbers celebrating love's simple hope for young lovers, its extravagant fantasies for Ziegfeld aficionados, and its fresh lesson for the graying principals." [44]

This production was also recorded on two CDs and was the first full recording. [45]

Follies was voted ninth in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the UK's "Nation's Number One Essential Musicals." [46]

U.S. regional productions [ edit ]

Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT) was the first major American opera company to present Follies as part of their main stage repertoire, running from October 21, 1988 through November 6. The MOT production starred Nancy Dussault (Sally), John-Charles Kelly (Buddy), Juliet Prowse (Phyllis) and Ron Raines (Ben), Edie Adams (Carlotta), Thelma Lee (Hattie), and Dennis Grimaldi (Vincent). [47] [48]

A production also ran from March to April 1995 at the Theatre Under the Stars, Houston, Texas and in April to May 1995 at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle with Constance Towers (Phyllis), Judy Kaye (Sally), Edie Adams, Denise Darcel, Virginia Mayo and Karen Morrow (Carlotta). [49] The 1998 Paper Mill Playhouse production (Millburn, New Jersey) was directed by Robert Johanson with choreography by Jerry Mitchell and starred Donna McKechnie (Sally), Dee Hoty (Phyllis), Laurence Guittard (Ben), Tony Roberts (Buddy), Kaye Ballard (Hattie ), Eddie Bracken (Weismann), and Ann Miller (Carlotta). Phyllis Newman and Liliane Montevecchi reprised the roles they played in the Lincoln Center production. [50] "Ah, But Underneath" was substituted for "The Story of Lucy and Jessie" in order to accommodate non-dancer Hoty. [51] This production received a full-length recording on two CDs, including not only the entire score as originally written, but a lengthy appendix of songs cut from the original production in tryouts. [52]

Julianne Boyd directed a fully staged version of Follies in 2005 by the Barrington Stage Company (Massachusetts) in June–July 2005. Principal cast included Kim Crosby (Sally), Leslie Denniston (Phyllis), Jeff McCarthy (Ben), Lara Teeter (Buddy), Joy Franz (Solange), Marni Nixon (Heidi), and Donna McKechnie (Carlotta). Stephen Sondheim attended one of the performances. [53]

1996 and 1998 concerts [ edit ]

Dublin concert

The Dublin Concert was held in May 1996 at the National Concert Hall. Directed by Michael Scott. The cast included Lorna Luft, Millicent Martin, Mary Millar, Dave Willetts, Trevor Jones Bryan Smyth, Alex Sharpe, Christine Scarry, Aidan Conway and Enda Markey. [54]

London concert

A concert was held at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on December 8, 1996, and broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on February 15, 1997. The cast starred Julia McKenzie (Sally), Donna McKechnie (Phyllis), Denis Quilley (Ben) and Ron Moody (Buddy). This show recreated the original Broadway score. [55]

Sydney concert

Follies was performed in concert at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra [56] in February 1998 as the highlight of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and had three performances. It followed a similar presentation at the 1995 Melbourne Festival of Arts. The show starred Toni Lamond (Sally), [57] Jill Perryman, Judi Connelli, Terence Donovan, Ron Haddrick, Todd McKenney, and Leonie Page. [58] [59]

2001 Broadway revival [ edit ]

A Broadway revival opened at the Belasco Theatre on April 5, 2001 and closed on July 14, 2001 after 117 performances and 32 previews. This Roundabout Theatre limited engagement had been expected to close on September 30, 2001. Directed by Matthew Warchus with choreography by Kathleen Marshall, it starred Blythe Danner (Phyllis), Judith Ivey (Sally), Treat Williams (Buddy), Gregory Harrison (Ben), Marge Champion, Polly Bergen (Carlotta), Joan Roberts (the original Laurey from the original Broadway production of Oklahoma! ; later replaced by Marni Nixon), Larry Raiken (Roscoe) and an assortment of famous names from the past. Former MGM and onetime Broadway star Betty Garrett, best-known to younger audiences for her television work, played Hattie. [60] It was significantly stripped down (earlier productions had featured extravagant sets and costumes) and was not a success critically.

According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter , "almost every performance of the show played to a full house, more often than not to standing-room-only. Tickets always were tough to come by. The reason the final curtain came down Saturday was because, being a production by the Roundabout Theatre Company – a subscription-based 'not-for-profit' theater company – it was presented under special Equity terms, with its actors paid a minimal fee. To extend the show, it would have been necessary to negotiate new contracts with the entire company ... because of the Belasco's limited seating, it wasn't deemed financially feasible to do so." [61]

Theatre writer and historian John Kenrick wrote, "the bad news is that this Follies is a dramatic and conceptual failure. The good news is that it also features some of the most exciting musical moments Broadway has seen in several seasons. Since you don't get those moments from the production, the book or the leads, that leaves the featured ensemble, and in Follies that amounts to a small army. ... Marge Champion and Donald Saddler are endearing as the old hoofers. ... I dare you not to fall in love with Betty Garrett's understated "Broadway Baby" – you just want to pick her up and hug her. Polly Bergen stops everything cold with "I’m Still Here," bringing a rare degree of introspection to a song that is too often a mere belt-fest.... [T]he emotional highpoint comes when Joan Roberts sings 'One More Kiss'." [62]

2002 London revival [ edit ]

A production was mounted at London's Royal Festival Hall in a limited engagement. After previews from August 3, 2002, it opened officially on August 6, and closed on August 31, 2002. Paul Kerryson directed, and the cast starred David Durham as Ben, Kathryn Evans as Sally, Louise Gold as Phyllis, Julia Goss as Heidi and Henry Goodman as Buddy. Variety singer and performer Joan Savage sang "Broadway Baby". [63] [64] [65] This production conducted by Julian Kelly featured the original Broadway score. [66]

2002 Los Angeles [ edit ]

Follies was part of L.A.'s Reprise series, and it was housed at the Wadsworth Theatre, presented as a staged concert, running from June 15 to June 23, 2002. The production was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, set design by Ray Klausen, lighting design by Tom Ruzika, costumes by Randy Gardell, sound design by Philip G. Allen, choreography by Kay Cole, musical director Gerald Sternbach. [67]

The production starred Bob Gunton (Ben), Warren Berlinger (Dimitri Weismann), Patty Duke (Phyllis), Vikki Carr (Sally), Harry Groener (Buddy), Carole Cook (Hattie), Carol Lawrence (Vanessa), Ken Page (Roscoe), Liz Torres (Stella), Amanda McBroom (Solange), Grover Dale (Vincent), Donna McKechnie (Carlotta), Carole Swarbrick (Christine), Stella Stevens (Dee Dee), Mary Jo Catlett (Emily), Justine Johnston (Heidi), Jean Louisa Kelly (Young Sally), Austin Miller (Young Buddy), Tia Riebling (Young Phyllis), Kevin Earley (Young Ben), Abby Feldman (Young Stella), Barbara Chiofalo (Young Heidi), Trevor Brackney (Young Vincent), Melissa Driscoll (Young Vanessa), Stephen Reed (Kevin),and Billy Barnes (Theodore). [68] Hal Linden was originally going to play Ben, but left because he was cast in the Broadway revival of Cabaret as Herr Schultz. [69] Tom Bosley was also originally cast as Dimitri Weismann.

2007 New York City Center Encores! [ edit ]

New York City Center's Encores! "Great American Musicals in Concert" series featured Follies as its 40th production for six performances in February 2007 in a sold out semi-staged concert. The cast starred Donna Murphy (Phyllis), Victoria Clark (Sally), Victor Garber (Ben) and Michael McGrath (Buddy). Christine Baranski played Carlotta, and Lucine Amara sang Heidi. The cast also included Anne Rogers, Jo Anne Worley and Philip Bosco. The director and choreographer was Casey Nicholaw. [70] [71] This production used the original text and the "Loveland" lyrics performed in the 1987 London production. [72]

2011 Kennedy Center and Broadway [ edit ]

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts production at the Eisenhower Theatre started previews on May 7, 2011, with an official opening on May 21, and closed on June 19, 2011. [73] The cast starred Bernadette Peters as Sally, Jan Maxwell as Phyllis, Elaine Paige as Carlotta, Linda Lavin as Hattie, Ron Raines as Ben and Danny Burstein as Buddy. The production was directed by Eric Schaeffer, with choreography by Warren Carlyle, costumes by Gregg Barnes, set by Derek McLane and lighting by Natasha Katz. [74] Also featured were Rosalind Elias as Heidi, Régine as Solange, Susan Watson as Emily, and Terri White as Stella. The budget was reported to be $7.3 million. [18] [73] The production played to 95% capacity. [75]

Reviews were mixed, with Ben Brantley of The New York Times writing, "It wasn't until the second act that I fell in love all over again with Follies ". Peter Marks of The Washington Post wrote that the revival "takes an audience halfway to paradise." He praised a "broodingly luminous Jan Maxwell" and Burstein's "hapless onetime stage-door Johnny", as well as "the show's final 20 minutes, when we ascend with the main characters into an ironic vaudeville dreamscape of assorted neuroses - the most intoxicating articulation of the musical's 'Loveland' sequence that I've ever seen." Variety gave a very favorable review to the "lavish and entirely satisfying production", saying that Schaeffer directs "in methodical fashion, building progressively to a crescendo exactly as Sondheim does with so many of his stirring melodies. Several show-stopping routines are provided by choreographer Warren Carlyle." Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal noted that "One of the signal achievements of this 'Follies' is that it succeeds in untangling each and every strand of the show's knotty plot... Mr. Schaeffer is clearly unafraid of the darkness of 'Follies', so much so that the first act is bitter enough to sting. Yet he and Warren Carlyle ... just as clearly revel in the richness of the knowing pastiche songs with which Mr. Sondheim evokes the popular music of the prerock era." [18] [76]

The production transferred to Broadway at the Marquis Theatre in a limited engagement starting previews on August 7, 2011, with the official opening on September 12, and closing on January 22, 2012 after 151 performances and 38 previews. [77] The four principal performers reprised their roles, as well as Paige as Carlotta. Jayne Houdyshell as Hattie, Mary Beth Peil as Solange LaFitte, and Don Correia as Theodore joined the Broadway cast. [78] A two-disc cast album of this production was recorded by PS Classics and was released on November 29, 2011. [79]

Brantley reviewed the Broadway revival for The New York Times , writing: "Somewhere along the road from Washington to Broadway, the Kennedy Center production of 'Follies' picked up a pulse. ... I am happy to report that since then, Ms. Peters has connected with her inner frump, Mr. Raines has found the brittle skeleton within his solid flesh, and Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Burstein have only improved. Two new additions to the cast, Jayne Houdyshell and Mary Beth Peil, are terrific. This production has taken on the glint of crystalline sharpness." [80] The production's run was extended, and its grosses exceeded expectations, but it did not recoup its investment. [81]

The Broadway production won the Drama League Award, Distinguished Production of a Musical Revival for 2011-12 [82] and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Burstein) and Outstanding Costume Design (Barnes). [83] Out of seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical, it won only one, for Barnes' costumes. [84]

2012 Los Angeles [ edit ]

The 2011 Broadway and Kennedy Center production transferred to the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, California, in a limited engagement, from May 3, 2012 through June 9. The majority of the Broadway cast reprised their roles, with the exception of Bernadette Peters, who had prior concert commitments and was replaced by Victoria Clark in the role of Sally, a role she has previously played in New York. [85] [86] Other new cast members included Carol Neblett as Heidi, Sammy Williams as Theodore and Obba Babatunde as Max. [87]

2013 Toulon Opera House (France) [ edit ]

For its first production in France, Follies was presented at the Toulon Opera House in March, 2013. [88] This English-language production, using the full original orchestration, was directed by Olivier Bénézech and conducted by David Charles Abell. The cast featured Charlotte Page (Sally), Liz Robertson (Phyllis), Graham Bickley (Ben), Jérôme Pradon (Buddy), Nicole Croisille (Carlotta), Julia Sutton (Hattie) and Fra Fee (Young Buddy) [89]

2016 Australian Concert Version [ edit ]

A concert version at the Melbourne Recital Centre, [90] [91] staged with a full 23-piece orchestra and Australian actors Philip Quast (Ben), David Hobson (Buddy), Lisa McCune (Sally), Anne Wood (Phyllis), Rowan Witt (Young Buddy), Sophie Wright (Young Sally), Nancy Hayes (Hattie), Debra Byrne (Carlotta), and Queenie van de Zandt (Stella). [92] The production was directed by Tyran Parke and produced by StoreyBoard Entertainment.

2017 National Theatre London [ edit ]

A London revival is currently being performed at the National Theatre in the Olivier Theatre (22 August until 4 November 2017 - later extended to 3 January 2018, as extensions are common practice at the National Theatre). The production is directed by Dominic Cooke, choreographed by Bill Deamer and stars Imelda Staunton as Sally, Janie Dee as Phyllis, Philip Quast as Ben [93] [94] and Tracie Bennett as Carlotta. Full casting was announced on 9 June. [95] This production notably goes back to the original run of a one-act performance. The production will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide on 16 November through the National Theatre Live programme. [96]

Characters and original cast [ edit ]

The characters and original cast:

Character Broadway
1971 [97] Lincoln Center
1985 [32] London
1987 [41] Paper Mill Playhouse
1998 [98] Broadway Revival
2001 [99] London Revival
2002 [100] City Center Encores!
2007 [101] Kennedy Center
2011 [102] Broadway Revival
2011 [103] Royal Albert Hall
2015 [104] London Revival 2017 [95] Buddy Plummer Gene Nelson Mandy Patinkin David Healy Tony Roberts Treat Williams Henry Goodman Michael McGrath Danny Burstein Peter Polycarpou Peter Forbes Sally Durant Plummer Dorothy Collins Barbara Cook Julia McKenzie Donna McKechnie Judith Ivey Kathryn Evans Victoria Clark Bernadette Peters Ruthie Henshall Imelda Staunton Benjamin Stone John McMartin George Hearn Daniel Massey Laurence Guittard Gregory Harrison David Durham Victor Garber Ron Raines Alexander Hanson Philip Quast Phyllis Rogers Stone Alexis Smith Lee Remick Diana Rigg Dee Hoty Blythe Danner Louise Gold Donna Murphy Jan Maxwell Christine Baranski Janie Dee Young Buddy Harvey Evans Jim Walton Evan Pappas Billy Hartung Joey Sorge Matthew Cammelle Curtis Holbrook Christian Delcroix Jos Slovick Fred Haig Young Sally Marti Rolph Liz Callaway Deborah Poplett Danette Holden Lauren Ward Emma Clifford Katie Klaus Lora Lee Gayer Amy Ellen Richardson Alex Young Young Ben Kurt Peterson Howard McGillin Simon Green Michael Gruber Richard Roland Hugh Maynard Colin Donnell Nick Verina Alistair Brammer Adam Rhys-Charles Young Phyllis Virginia Sandifur Daisy Prince Gillian Bevan Meredith Patterson Erin Dilly Kerry Jay Jenny Powers Kirsten Scott Laura Pitt-Pulford Zizi Strallen Stella Deems Mary McCarty Phyllis Newman Lynda Baron Phyllis Newman Carol Woods Shezwae Powell Joanne Worley Terri White Anita Dobson Dawn Hope Carlotta Campion Yvonne De Carlo Carol Burnett Dolores Gray Ann Miller Polly Bergen Diane Langton Christine Baranski Elaine Paige Betty Buckley Tracie Bennett Heidi Schiller Justine Johnston Licia Albanese Adele Leigh Carol Skarimbas Joan Roberts Julia Goss Lucine Amara Rosalind Elias Charlotte Page Josephine Barstow Hattie Walker Ethel Shutta Elaine Stritch Margaret Courtenay Kaye Ballard Betty Garrett Joan Savage Mimi Hines Linda Lavin Jayne Houdyshell Lorna Luft Di Botcher Dimitri Weismann Arnold Moss Andre Gregory Leonard Sachs Eddie Bracken Louis Zorich Russell Dixon Philip Bosco David Sabin Alistair McGowan Gary Raymond Emily Whitman Marcia Stringer Betty Comden Pearl Carr Natalie Mosco Marge Champion Myra Sands Anne Rogers Susan Watson Anita Harris Norma Attallah Theodore Whitman Charles Welch Adolph Green Teddy Johnson Donald Saddler Tony Kemp Robert Fitch Terrence Currier Don Correia Roy Hudd Billy Boyle Max Deems John J. Martin N/A Peter Cormican Nick Hamilton Gerry Vichi Frederick Strother N/A Adrian Grove Dee Dee West Helon Blount N/A Billie Thrash Dorothy Stanley N/A Dorothy Stanley Colleen Fitzpatrick N/A Liz Izen Roscoe Michael Bartlett Arthur Rubin Paul Bentley Vahan Khanzadian Larry Raiken Paul Bentley Arthur Rubin Michael Hayes Russell Watson Bruce Graham Young Stella N/A Pamela Jordan Allyson Tucker Keisha Marina Atwell Ashlee Fife Erin N. Moore Lucy James Leisha Mollyneux Young Heidi Victoria Mallory Erie Mills Michelle Todd Ingrid Ladendorf Brooke Sunny Moriber Philippa Healey Leena Chopra Leah Horowitz Sarah Bakker Alison Langer Solange LaFitte Fifi D'Orsay Liliane Montevecchi Maria Charles Liliane Montevecchi Jane White Anna Nicholas Yvonne Constant Régine Zylberberg Mary Beth Peil Stefanie Powers Geraldine Fitzgerald Kevin Ralph Nelson N/A Stephen Campanella N/A Clyde Alves N/A Clifton Samuels N/A colspan='1' "text-align: center;" Jordan Shaw [105] Sandra Crane Sonja Levkova N/A Laura Kenyon Nancy Ringham N/A Diane J. Findlay Florence Lacey N/A Julie Armstrong Young Carlotta N/A Jillana Urbina Sally Mae Dunn N/A Jennifer Mathie Pamela Otterson N/A Emily Langham Young Hattie Mary Jane Houdina N/A Krista Lepore Kelli O’Hara N/A Cameron Adams Jenifer Foote N/A Aimee Hodnett Young Emily N/A Pascale Faye Carol Bentley N/A Denise Payne N/A Danielle Jordan N/A Anouska Eaton Young Dee Dee N/A Karen Lifshey Roxane Barlow N/A Natalie King Smith Leslie Donna Flesner N/A Christine Tucker Young Solange N/A Jean Marie Jacqueline Hendy N/A Shannon Marie O’Bryan Suzanne Hylenski Ashley Yeater N/A Sarah-Marie Maxwell Young Sandra N/A Julie Connors Dottie Earle N/A Jenifer Foote Kiira Schmidt N/A Kate Parr

Critical response [ edit ]

In the foreword to "Everything Was Possible", Frank Rich wrote: "From the start, critics have been divided about Follies , passionately pro or con but rarely on the fence... Is it really a great musical, or merely the greatest of all cult musicals?" (Chapin, p. xi) Ted Chapin wrote, "Taken as a whole, the collection of reviews Follies received was as rangy as possible." (Chapin, p. 300) In his New York Times review of the original Broadway production, Clive Barnes wrote: "...it is stylish, innovative, it has some of the best lyrics I have ever encountered, and above all it is a serious attempt to deal with the musical form." Barnes also called the story shallow and Sondheim's words a joy "...even when his music sends shivers of indifference up your spine." [106]

Walter Kerr wrote in The New York Times about the original production: "Follies is intermissionless and exhausting, an extravaganza that becomes so tedious... because its extravaganzas have nothing to do with its pebble of a plot." [107] On the other hand, Martin Gottfried wrote: "'Follies is truly awesome and, if it is not consistently good, it is always great." [108]

Time Magazine wrote about the original Broadway production: "At its worst moments, Follies is mannered and pretentious, overreaching for Significance. At its best moments—and there are many—it is the most imaginative and original new musical that Broadway has seen in years." [109]

Frank Rich, in reviewing the 1985 concert in The New York Times , wrote: "Friday's performance made the case that this Broadway musical... can take its place among our musical theater's very finest achievements." [110] Ben Brantley, reviewing the 1998 Paper Mill Playhouse production in The New York Times , concluded that it was a "...fine, heartfelt production, which confirms Follies as a landmark musical and a work of art..." [111]

The Time Magazine reviewer wrote of the 2001 Broadway revival: "Even in its more modest incarnation, Follies has, no question, the best score on Broadway." He noted, though, that "I'm sorry the cast was reduced from 52 to 38, the orchestra from 26 players to 14...To appreciate the revival, you must buy into James Goldman's book, which is peddling a panoramically bleak take on marriage." Finally, he wrote:"But Follies never makes fun of the honorable musical tradition to which it belongs. The show and the score have a double vision: simultaneously squinting at the messes people make of their lives and wide-eyed at the lingering grace and lift of the music they want to hear. Sondheim's songs aren't parodies or deconstructions; they are evocations that recognize the power of a love song. In 1971 or 2001, Follies validates the legend that a Broadway show can be an event worth dressing up for." [112]

Brantley, reviewing the 2007 Encores! concert for The New York Times , wrote: "I have never felt the splendid sadness of 'Follies' as acutely as I did watching the emotionally transparent concert production...At almost any moment, to look at the faces of any of the principal performers...is to be aware of people both bewitched and wounded by the contemplation of who they used to be. When they sing, in voices layered with ambivalence and anger and longing, it is clear that it is their past selves whom they are serenading." [113]

Recordings [ edit ]

There have been five recordings of Follies released: the original 1971 Broadway cast album; Follies in Concert , Avery Fisher Hall (1985); the original London production (1987); and the Paper Mill Playhouse (1998). [114] [115] The cast recording of the 2011 Broadway revival, by PS Classics, was officially released on November 29, 2011, and also was in pre-sale prior to the store release. PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker said: "We've never had the kind of reaction that we've had for 'Follies'. Not only has it already outsold every other album at our website, but the steady stream of emails from customers has been amazing." [79] This recording includes "extended segments of the show's dialogue." The theatermania.com reviewer wrote that "The result is an album that, more so than any of the other existing recordings, allows listeners to re-experience the heartbreaking collision of past and present that's at the core of the piece." [116] The recording of the 2011 revival was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Musical Theater Album category. [117]

Film adaptation [ edit ]

Tony Award-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan has expressed interest in writing a film adaptation of Follies . [118]

Awards and nominations [ edit ]

Original Broadway production [ edit ]

Year Award Category Nominee Result 1971 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Choreography Michael Bennett Won Outstanding Lyrics Stephen Sondheim Won Outstanding Music Won Outstanding Costume Design Florence Klotz Won Outstanding Set Design Boris Aronson Won Outstanding Performance Alexis Smith Won Outstanding Director Harold Prince and Michael Bennett Won New York Drama Critics' Circle Best Musical Won 1972 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated Best Book of a Musical James Goldman Nominated Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Alexis Smith Won Dorothy Collins Nominated Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Gene Nelson Nominated Best Original Score Stephen Sondheim Won Best Direction of a Musical Harold Prince and Michael Bennett Won Best Choreography Michael Bennett Won Best Scenic Design Boris Aronson Won Best Costume Design Florence Klotz Won Best Lighting Design Tharon Musser Won

Original London production [ edit ]

Year Award Category Nominee Result 1987 Laurence Olivier Award [119] Musical of the Year Won Actress of the Year in a Musical Julia McKenzie Nominated

2001 Broadway revival [ edit ]

Year Award Category Nominee Result 2001 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Polly Bergen Nominated Outstanding Orchestrations Jonathan Tunick Nominated Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Blythe Danner Nominated Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Polly Bergen Nominated Best Costume Design Theoni V. Aldredge Nominated Best Orchestrations Jonathan Tunick Nominated

2011 Broadway revival [ edit ]

Year Award Category Nominee Result 2012 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Danny Burstein Nominated Ron Raines Nominated Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Jan Maxwell Nominated Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Jayne Houdyshell Nominated Best Costume Design Gregg Barnes Won Best Lighting Design Natasha Katz Nominated Best Sound Design Kai Harada Nominated Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won Outstanding Actor in a Musical Danny Burstein Won Outstanding Actress in a Musical Jan Maxwell Nominated Bernadette Peters Nominated Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Elaine Paige Nominated Outstanding Director of a Musical Eric Schaeffer Nominated Outstanding Choreography Warren Carlyle Nominated Outstanding Set Design Derek McLane Nominated Outstanding Costume Design Gregg Barnes Won Outstanding Sound Design Kai Harada Nominated Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated

2017 London [ edit ]

Year Award Category Nominee Result 1987 Evening Standard Theatre Awards [120] Best Musical Pending Best Director Dominic Cooke Pending Best Musical Performance Janie Dee Pending

Notes [ edit ]

  1. ^ Hetrick,Adam. "Good Times and Bum Times": Broadway Revival of Follies Exceeds Expectations, But Doesn't Recoup" Playbill, January 24, 2012
  2. ^ a b Chapin, pp. xxii–xxvi, 7
  3. ^ Citron, Stephen. Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber: The New Musical , "Chapter:Prince and Company". Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber: The New Musical , Oxford University Press US, 2001, ISBN 0-19-509601-0, pp.159-160
  4. ^ a b c d Sondheim, Stephen, and Goldman, James."Act 1" Follies . Theatre Communications Group, 2001, ISBN 978-1-55936-196-5, pp. 2-3, 71
  5. ^ a b "Synopsis" mtishows.com. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  6. ^ Sondheim, p. 231
  7. ^ Banfield, Stephen. "'Follies'" Sondheim's Broadway Musicals , University of Michigan Press, 1993, ISBN 0472080830, p. 189
  8. ^ Hirsch, Foster. "A little Sondheim music". Harold Prince and the American Musical Theatre , CUP Archive, 1989, ISBN 0-521-33609-0, p. 95
  9. ^ Gamerman, Ellen."Bernadette Peters on ‘Follies’ and Puppies" The Wall Street Journal , September 3, 2011