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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by comparing Sondheim’s 1971 musical Follies with Ravel’s La Valse. It uses that comparison to suggest that Follies exercises a complex form of nostalgia that hovers between pastiche and irony. Follies, then, both glorifies and criticizes the history of the Broadway and film musicals of the first half of the twentieth century, and behind them the ideologies of youth, innocence, and the American Dream, which they are so often made to represent. The latter part of the chapter is an initial attempt to strip away the complex layers of allusion to be found in the songs of Sondheim’s “antimusical musical.”

Keywords: Follies, nostalgia, Ravel, pastiche, Broadway, ruins, Ziegfeld, American Dream

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