THE year is 1971. The place is the remnants of the iconic theatre that once housed the famous Weismann Follies.

The occasion is a first and last reunion of the people who worked, loved and lived there in its glory days between the wars, on the night before the building is set for demolition.

Good news, you have an invitation to join the farewell party in Pick Me Up Theatre's production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the John Cooper Studio Theatre @41Monkgate, York, from July 6 to 14.

Against a backdrop of bittersweet nostalgia, the Follies showgirls from a bygone era drink, laugh, "lie about themselves a little" and perform the show-stopping numbers that once made them famous.

Sondheim's 1971 musical, with a book by James Goldman, focuses on Sally and Phyllis, gorgeous Weismann showgirls back in the day, and the boys who were their double dates, always "Waiting For The Girls Upstairs". Sally married Buddy, but was in love with Ben, who married Phyllis, and the reunion throws them right back into their complicated love quadrangle.

Three performers will make their Pick Me Up debuts in principal roles. Tracey Rea will play Sally after appearing as Sally Bowles in Cabaret with Italia Conti, London, and a life on the ocean waves as a principal singer and dancer on Olsen, Celebrity and P&O cruise liners. Glynn Mills will star as husband Buddy, following lead roles as Willie in The Sunshine Boys in Scarborough and Captain Hook in Peter Pan The Musical for Whitby Musical Society.

David Radford will play Phyllis's husband Ben, adding to a credits list that includes Anatoly Sergievsky in Chess and Nathan Detroit in Guys And Dolls at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York. The quartet will be completed by Pick Me Up regular Susannah Baines as Phyllis, having impressed in past Sondheim shows as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, Rose in Gypsy and the Witch in Into The Woods.

"Director Robert Readman has assembled a terrific supporting cast to play all the wonderful veterans of the Follies and the ghosts of their younger selves," says Pick Me Up press officer Joanna Hird. "Showcase songs will be performed by Sandy Nicholson, singing I’m Still Here, and Juliet Waters, singing Who’s That Woman, while Maggie Smales and Noel Stabler, who played Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, will play the duo Emily and Theodore Whitman singing The Rain On The Roof."

Fellow company debutants will be Beryl Nairn, singing Broadway Baby, after roles elsewhere as Queenie in Bomb Happy, Elizabeth Welsh in Blue Stockings and Mrs Alving in Ghosts, and Pat Parry, who has performed in Patience with the D’Oyly Carte and a West End production of Carousel.

Emma Louise Dickinson will be seen as young Sally, having taken the roles of Milly in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and Anna in The King And I with York Light Opera Company and Nancy in Oliver! with NE Musicals York. Gemma-Louise Keane will add young Phyllis to her Pick Me Up roles, following on from Anna in Saucy Jack And The Space Vixens.

Adam Price, from Pick Me Up's My Fair Lady, will be Young Buddy and Sam Hird will play young Ben, having starred as Anthony in Sweeney Todd, The Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins and Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

Pick Me Up Theatre staged Sondheim’s Into The Woods at the Grand Opera House in 2014 and a 41 Monkgate double bill of Assassins and Sweeney Todd in summer 2016. "Audiences who attended that summer season will know the effect these pieces have when you’re up close and personal with the performers," says Joanna. "So Mark Hird's Dimitri Weismann invites you to join Pick Me Up cabaret-style for the Follies reunion and enjoy some of Sondheim's most memorable songs, such as Losing My Mind, I'm Still Here and Broadway Baby."

Tickets for the 7.30pm evening shows and two 2.30pm Saturday matinees are on sale on 01904 623568 or at

Charles Hutchinson