Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Imelda: Sondheim Told Me Role Wasn't Folly; Actress Says She Was Urged to Take Musical Part by Composer Himself

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Imelda: Sondheim Told Me Role Wasn't Folly; Actress Says She Was Urged to Take Musical Part by Composer Himself

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Dex Arts Correspondent

IMELDA STAUNTON says she had to be talked into taking her role in the new production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies by the 87-year-old composer himself.

The actress plays Sally, a showgirl turned bored housewife, who visits the fictional Weismann Theatre in New York for one last reunion with her former troupe before the bulldozers move in.

Staunton, 61, who won rave reviews for her performances in recent revivals of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Gypsy, admitted she had doubts about taking the part.

She said: "I never say yes instantly, I never do, I always think I can't do it. This is a very different sing for me, a very different sing from Gypsy, from Sweeney Todd, so I thought, 'I can't sing it'."

It took an intervention from director Dominic Cooke and Sondheim to persuade her. Staunton said she and Sondheim "know each other well. I said to him, 'I don't think I can do it' and he did say, 'You can do anything' so I thought, 'Oh well OK I'll give it a go'. …

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