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Stephen Sondheim's Follies in Concert

47 customer reviews

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(Jul 24, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The incomparable Stephen Sondheim brought his sensational Follies to the stage in 1971 where it was hailed as "monumental theater" by The New York Times. Fourteen years later, the magic was recreated by an unparalleled gathering of stage and screen luminaries performing with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center for a wildly enthusiastic audience. This one-night-only performance became a legendary event in Broadway history--Follies in Concert! The evolution of this unique, historic event is exclusively captured in this film, from the first rehearsal--just four days before the show--to the last-second butterflies just before the curtain rose. This is a rare treasure for all fans of musical theater. Includes the memorable songs "Losing My Mind" and "I'm Still Here" and an all-star cast: Carol Burnett, Liz Callaway, Betty Comden, Barbara Cook, Adolph Green, George Hearn, Howard McGillin, Liliane Montevecchi, Phyllis Newman, Mandy Patinkin, Lee Remick, and Elaine Stritch. 90 minutes.

Additional Features

The DVD release of Follies in Concert contains the original 90-minute documentary with no additional footage, which is a disappointment to fans longing to see the parts of the concert that were never released on video. Sound quality is fairly good, though the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo provides a somewhat narrow soundstage. The picture retains much of the graininess of the original film, most notably the portions shot in low lighting conditions. Most welcome will be the DVD's 23 chapters, which allow the viewer to skip the concert preparation and go straight to the songs, all of which are individually tracked (even the 45-second "Rain on the Roof"). --David Horiuchi

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Andre Gregory, Arthur Rubin, Barbara Cook, George Hearn, Jim Walton
  • Directors: Michael Houldey
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005KH3H
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,425 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stephen Sondheim's Follies in Concert" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Dan Sherman VINE VOICE on July 12, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a documentary of a 1985 concert performance from Lincoln Center of Stephen Sondheim's 1971 "Follies." A really great cast of Broadway greats was brought together for this concert that was basically put together is a few days. Although the backstage elements of the show are great (e.g., showing actors working through dance numbers, flubbing lyrics, Sondheim talking with the actors), the real interest of the show is in the performaces themselves that make up about half of the 90 minute documentary. The unfortunate thing about the documentary is that we only see about half the concert, mostly in the form of excerpts. It really would have been much better to see a COMPLETE version of the concert. One really wonders why this wasn't filmed and made available in some format. There is, however, a 2-CD album of the whole concert to fill in the gaps.
This concern aside, the concert is a great chance to see the likes of Barbara Cook, Lee Remick, George Hearn, Carol Burnett, Elaine Stritch, and Adolph Green and Betty Comden singing and within the frame of a concert performance) acting their way through one of the great musicals of our age.
This DVD is a definite buy!
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Lyn Hollis on August 23, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is not "Follies in Concert," it is the reader's digest version. Many numbers have been truncated and many omitted, most notably "Waiting for the Boys Upstairs" and "The Road I Didn't Take." While the concert itself ran over 130 minutes, the DVD is made from a 90 minute video tape. Include the fact that they added about 30 minutes of rehearsal interviews, and the concert is basically cut in half. In addition, the DVD is video tape quality and the sound is unstable. All in all, a very disappointing recording for Sondheim lovers.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By T. Halkin on August 25, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Thank God that there is a full recording of this evening available on CD, because this video only shows about 45 minutes of the actual concert. Granted, they are 45 minutes that are not to be missed with this brilliant cast and this amazing show from Stephen Sondheim. This is truly a Broadway event. The documentary, which makes up most of the running time of the video is a lot of fun, but cutting the actual concert down to bare bones is a sin. We who adored Sondheim should appeal to the producers and beg that this magical night be released on video in its entirety.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Classic Film Buff on February 27, 2011
Format: DVD
On Friday evening September 6, 1985, my then girlfriend and I attended American Ballet Theatre's performance of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. The tickets were one of my birthday presents to her, but that was hardly the star attraction at Lincoln Center that evening. As we got out of our taxi in front of the Lincoln Center Plaza several individuals asking if we had tickets for "Follies in Concert" bombarded us. This was a sold out star-studded concert version of the 1971 Broadway musical "Follies" at the Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic. As we strolled past the Avery Fisher Hall and the milling crowds there was a palpable electricity and excitement in the air, this was a BIG event! I gazed wistfully over, wishing we were attending that instead of "Romeo and Juliet", even though Juliet was being danced by Leslie Browne the lovely young ballerina from the film "The Turning Point".

In the spring of next year, this documentary was aired on PBS, and I saw it, and if one wasn't fortunate enough to attend either of the two performances, this was an excellent substitute. A couple of years ago my wife gave me the DVD as a Christmas present, and it was great to reacquaint myself. If you have any interest in musical theatre I highly recommend this. "Follies" when it opened in 1971 to mixed to rave reviews ran a year, but didn't recoup its cost, and over the years became a cult musical. The Stephen Sondheim score is extensive, and when recorded on the original cast album was truncated so it would fit on just one record when it really needed two. This "Follies in Concert" purpose was to get a complete recording of the score and to justify this a special occasion was needed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Halpin on May 13, 2002
Format: DVD
It has been noted several times that this DVD is not a recording of the famous concert at Lincoln Center, but a documentary of that concert including rehearsals and some of the concert. The concert was used as the platform to make the first full recording of this incredible score. Many may not realise that in order to preserve the show on 1 LP, the original Broadway cast recording had substantial cuts made while it was being recorded. The OBC cd's released later include only one cut song from that original cast recording. The OBC recording of Follies is a crime to be sure.
But back to the DVD. This is an interesting behind the scenes look at the mad house it took to present a full stage concert of Follies in about a week. It is interesting to watch Thomas Z. Shepherd at work here as the record producer. (An interesting comparison would be to buy the documentary of the recording of Company to see a younger Sheperd at work) There are scenes in the rehearsal halls, the terror of opening night and wonderful scenes on stage.
If you are a theater lover, this DVD is a wonderful documentary of how a show like this is put together. And there are wonderful clips of Carol Burnett singing "I'm Still Here" and Elaine Stritch singing "Broadway Baby". And who can ever resist Barbara Cook?
The packaging may be confusing for die hard theater fans. The DVD cover uses the famous David Byrd logo from the original Broadway cast and not the photograph cover from the recording. But dont let that fool you, this documentary is worthy of any serious theater lovers collection.
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Topic From this Discussion
If FOLLIES is were a movie, whom would you cast in the various roles.
What about Streisand? Couldn't she play an abundance of the roles in this movie? She may be 66 years old, but she looks, I vocally we all know she wouldn't have a problem....
May 27, 2008 by gerwill |  See all 5 posts
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