An elderly man walks slowly down the aisle of a dark decayed theater. The beams of his flashlight bounce jaggedly from crumbling cornices, and the shadows they cast are of ghosts. Ghosts of glamorous stars, beautiful chorines, beguiling songs, glittering romance, the ghosts of this and all Broadway theaters. Even the man with the flashlight is a ghost: a once powerful impresario, long retired, but stepping up on stage for one last celebration of the past— an evening in which, as he puts it, we can glamorize the old days, stumble through a song or two, and lie about ourselves.

Thus begins the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Follies at the Belasco —the stylish prologue of the latest attempt to dodge the show’s indestructible paradox: song for song, it’s a glorious summation of Broadway’s illustrious past; yet, as a whole, it denies the possibility of any kind of future. For its original...


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