Friday, October 28 th, 2016 at 00:10 am 

Follies is the revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical with a huge cast that’s headlined in this particular case by Bernadette Peters and Jan Maxwell, as well as Elaine Paige.  The idea is that a whole lot of women converge on a theatre that’s being torn down to reminisce about their lives and loves as the functional equivalent of Zeigfield girls and at the core of it is two couples – the celebrity couple that is the senator and his gorgeous trophy wife, Jan Maxwell and Ron Raines, and their best friends, Bernadette Peters and Danny Burston.  It turns out when they were both young and dancers in the Follies, they were roommates as were the guys.  Jan and Ron ended up together and Bernadette and Danny ended up together, but Bernadette has nurtured a long lost love for Ron, who she thought was going to marry her.  In some ways, this is very secondary to the dancing and the singing that all the women do.  This is really Jan Maxwell’s show much more than Bernadette Peters’.  First of all, she towers over her.  She is beautiful.  To be quite honest, I’m a Jan Maxwell fan, and she has a certainly serviceable voice.  She can’t dance, but she’s a terrific actress with a serviceable voice.  The first act is significantly better than the second — but the problem about this particular play is it seems to be more about individual actresses coming out and belting out a song and then fading back into the scenery than it does a real play about real people.  There are four or five standout numbers.  Probably my favorite is Jayne Houdyshell, who I think is nobody’s version of a Broadway baby, but she gets to come out and sing Broadway Baby: the idea being, at one point, she was young and glamorous with five husbands, and she brings down the house.  There are four or five outstanding numbers but in the two and a half hour show, you would probably like to have a little bit more coherence.  Two and a half stars.