Paper Mill is replacing "The Song of Lucy and Jessie" with "Ah, but Underneath," a number written for the 1987 London production. "The feeling there was that 'Lucy and Jessie' was an interesting song, but it never really made a journey, and I think that when they rewrote the number for London, they wanted to emphasize the fact that Phyllis, who does it, had made her whole life a facade. 'Ah, but Underneath' is a strip, so she's stripping away her facade and really finding out that there may be nothing underneath when she gets it all off. There's nothing else like that number in the show, and it's certainly the kind of thing that was typical of the old follies."
Paper Mill is also merging into a single couple (danced by Donald Saddler and Natalie Mosco) the two pairs of dancers featured on Broadway. "Having two couples dissipated the effect of this metaphor of dancing through the years and through life. This one couple, whose marriage has lived through it all, has found their 'glue' through their dancing, and instead of their popping in for a single number, they're now threaded through the entire evening."
Johanson says he and Goldman have also worked to clarify the "ghost story" aspect of the book, which had each of the aging showgirls represented by a younger counterpart of herself, a performer dressed in black and white, wearing ghostly pale makeup. "The original production, I think, was a little confusing as to what the 'ghosts' were and what they were doing," Johanson says. "We've tried to make that clearer and more 'present' in the production."
"What Jim has done is to emphasize all the people who have passed through
midlife and are embracing every day as a party."