Saturday, September 17, 2011

Three Views: "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through"

Follies, straight from Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center, recently opened on Broadway, and the reviews have been mostly positive. Although I probably won't be able to get up to NYC to see the show (funding and time are not on my side right now), YouTubers have been diligently putting up videos from the Kennedy Center production, and I'm certain that some videos from Broadway will be up soon. With that in mind, I thought it might be interested to look at and compare three interpretations of one of my favorite numbers from Follies: "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through" from the Loveland section and starring the younger versions of our four main characters (Phyllis and Ben/Sally and Buddy).
From the Papermill Playhouse Production (1998)

Although this wasn't a Broadway production, it was perhaps the next best thing. Starring Ann Miller, Donna McKechnie, and a host of other notables, this production received a lot of attention. Although the sound and video quality isn't great, you can really see the talent of the cast and the vision of the choreographer (Jerry Mitchell). I particularly like the pairing of Meredith Patterson and Michael Gruber. They do a nice job portraying their characters' brittle veneer of sophistication without delving into caricature.

From Sondheim: The Birthday Concert (2011)

Yeah, I know this wasn't a production, but there is a lot to like about the staging and interpretation of this version. Although I really don't like Jen Colella's take on "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow" (I'm giving Matt Cavanaugh a pass because he's more subtle than Colella), Laura Osnes and Bobby Steggart totally won me over with their adorableness in "Love Will See Us Through." Their wide-eyed sweetness is a charming counterpoint to the utter smarminess of the other couple.

On a terribly shallow note, I think that Jen Colella is a perfect example of why you shouldn't get a tattoo in a super-conspicuous place (or why, if you do, you might want to wear a dress with sleeves).

Kennedy Center Production (2011)

Based on this video, I'm torn about this version of the song(s). The Ben/Phyllis duet is fine if not terribly exciting, while the Buddy/Sally version is just too broad for me to get behind. I feel like the entire "Love Will See Us Through" piece is done with too much of a knowing wink to the audience; the couple's discomfort is obvious and palpable. Although I know that we are supposed to get that Sally is not terribly happy for having to settle for Buddy, pulling it back just a bit would have helped the number immensely. One thing that I really liked about Osnes and Cavanaugh's interaction (see the concert version) is that the Sally/Ben interaction is subtle but very telling. By this point in the show, we don't need to be hit over the head with the fact that Sally is not happy with Buddy. Trust me, we know.