Exclusive: Sondheim’s Follies comes to Melbourne this May

AussieTheatre.com Exclusive

AussieTheatre.com can confirm that a special production of Sondheim’s musical Follies will be staged at the Melbourne Recital Centre in May, starring a host of Australia’s most popular musical theatre talent.

Produced by Storeyboard Entertainment, Follies in Concert will play three shows only Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 May, featuring a cast of 29 and an orchestra of 23.

Nancye Hayes, Lisa McCune and David Hobson will star in Follies in Concert. Produced by Storeyboard Entertainment
Nancye Hayes, Lisa McCune and David Hobson will star in Follies in Concert at Melbourne Recital Centre, 2016. Produced by Storeyboard Entertainment

This production is the first mainstage work from Storeyboard Entertainment, a new production house led by Adrian Storey, a passionate and experienced producer and a man driven by his love of the arts.

Storey has enlisted one of the busiest men in Australian showbiz – Tyran Parke – to direct the work and the pair have assembled an incredible array of artists including Nancye Hayes, Lisa McCune and David Hobson to bring this musical to life.

According to Storey, engaging Parke as director for his first project was a “no brainer”, and watching them work, it certainly appears to be a match made in heaven. The alacrity and enthusiasm they have for the production is palpable and it’s exciting to hear them discuss their ideas with a reverence for the music, the story and the show.

“If anybody knows Sondheim, it’s Tyran” Storey said, between phone calls and logistics discussions – a producer’s job is never done!

“He knows Sondheim and he actually KNOWS Sondheim. Because of the relationship he has with the material and the man, you know you’re in good hands. It’s a natural fit”, he said.

The pair have been finalising details for the project this week, and with an “eye wateringly good bunch” (according to Parke) of artists lined up to feature in the 19 roles and 10 ensemble positions the production requires, this is going to be an epic, exciting and necessary production. Especially since Melbourne will have the chance to see Nancye Hayes reprise the classic showstopper, ‘Broadway Baby’.

“It’s interesting to note that Follies been done three times in Australia and each time with a cast of true legends that then make way for the next generation”, said Parke.

“Some have played the young roles, then the older roles. But through each one – and continuing through ours – is Nancye Hayes still playing Hattie! That woman is a fine wine and only grows more and more into the role. As far as legends go, she’s ever present and never showing any sign of slowing down!”

Originally produced on Broadway in 1971, directed by Harold Prince (The Phantom of the Opera) and Michael Bennett (A Chorus Line), Follies was nominated for eleven Tony Awards, winning seven including Best Score. Set at a reunion of the soon-to-be demolished Weismann Theatre, once the home of the Weismann Follies, the former stars the venue gather to relive past experiences, renew old friendships… and lie about themselves a little.

“The show is about the regrets that age brings and the fantasies about what might have been. Its about reclaiming the past and making peace with the present”, Parke said, when explaining the depth of the piece.

In this concert production, complete with the original 23 piece orchestrations, Lisa McCune will play the role of troubled ex-showgirl Sally and David Hobson will play her husband, Buddy. Further stars will be announced in the coming weeks and Parke guarantees that the line-up –and the concert – will be legendary.

“This is more than theatre, more than a concert, it’s really a very special event that celebrates the best our industry has to offer. It’s a showcase for the legends of our theatre and through them, a look at our own history”, he said.


Melbourne Recital Centre
Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, Melbourne
May 24 – 25, 2016
Pre-sale from 9am Tuesday 16th February, General Public on sale Thursday 18th February

Tickets from $89.90 – $159.90


Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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