There are two ways you can learn a strict lesson in regret: Catch “Follies” on Broadway before it closes this Sunday — or don’t. The plot is former showgirls, decades past their prime, reuniting in an old theater that's about to become a parking lot. The cast features heavyweights Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Elaine Paige, Danny Burstein and Ron Raines — plus a powerful supporting cast belting out such Sondheim favorites as “Broadway Baby,” “I’m Still Here” and “Losing My Mind.” It’s an extraordinary opportunity to see a slightly older ensemble bringing their expertise to the stage.

Slow to start, “Follies” is a simmering story of past meeting present that boils over in the second act — when a giddy dreamscape of the theater’s glory days almost sadistically underscores the demons that have plagued the four central characters through the years. Despite brief illusions of rekindling ancient relationships, the boozy couples must ultimately sober up from their unrealistic what-ifs.

Confronting each other is only half the battle; it’s when the mature protagonists are forced to reconcile with themselves that the true heart of this work emerges.

All throughout, skyscraper showgirls sparkle in the shadows. A simple touch on an otherwise bare stage, these glittering ghosts accentuate the haunting atmosphere.

The musical debuted in New York in 1971 and was later revived in 2001 and 2011, receiving mixed reviews until its latest moody, magical incarnation — making this one the “Follies” you don’t want to miss.

 

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