A Day In The Life: Follies’ Zizi Strallen and Alex Young

By Zizi Strallen & Alex Young, Published November 7, 2017

It’s one of THE musical events of 2017: the National Theatre‘s first staging of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece Follies, directed by Dominic Cooke, is currently playing to packed-out houses in the Olivier, the NT’s largest venue. And with an incredible cast, stunning visuals and a legendary score, it’s easy to see why.

But what’s life like behind-the-scenes of the National’s blockbuster? From quick changes to even quicker toothbrushing, we were taken on a tour of Follies life backstage, courtesy of Zizi Strallen (who plays Young Phyllis) and Alex Young (Young Sally).

Follies will be broadcast via NT Live to cinemas around the UK and internationally on Thursday 16 November. For more information and to find your nearest cinema, visit the NT Live website.

“Hey, Up There!”

We indulge in a pre-show coffee, and we spy a very formal Adam Rhys Charles (Young Ben) up above.

Stage Door

Arriving and signing in at stage door, where we’re greeted by the ever excellent Vince and Cathy.

“Pizza Express”

Our dressing room door. We have been nicknamed “Pizza Express” and “Sylvia Plath” and made very grand name plaques by Jacob in the NT Casting Department. We’ll let you figure out who is who…

Mic’d up

Elayne from Sound pays us a visit to deliver our radio mics. She’s ace.

Warm-up catch-up

At 6pm we head to physical warm-up with our champ of a Dance Captain Emily Goodenough, followed by a vocal warm-up with marvellous Musical Director Nigel Lilley.

Warm-up is essential for any show with physical & vocal demands but it’s also a lovely time to say hello to the company and exchange hugs and gossip… whilst studiously doing what Emily and Nigel ask, obvs.

Make-up time

We make up.

The 5 minute call!

We brush. Both of us have very intimate scenes in the show, so good dental hygiene is a must! Particularly as we’re pretty fond of our on-stage boyfriends!.

Beginners’ Call!

Wee Young Phylis and even wee-er Young Sally are ready to go.

During the show, we rarely leave the stage, but we’ve managed to grab a few photos and videos of the backstage world…

Behind-the-scenes Boogie

Fred having a not-at-all-self-conscious prance during Tracie Bennett’s unforgettable ‘I’m Still Here’.

Hello from backstage!

In the quick change room you’ll find some of our awesome soundies, wiggies and dressers: Claire, Sammy, JC and Toby (and Fred).

Going green

Fred approves of our environmentally friendly water cup system, as do we all.

Time for a quick change

Alex and her brilliant & beautiful dresser Paulina during the quick change from ‘The Chaos’ into ‘Loveland’.

Show done!

We de-robe and invariably head to the bar. Goodnight from us! x

Audiences can also join the cast of Follies as they discuss appearing in the sold-out National Theatre production, directed by Dominic Cooke. Peter Forbes and Imelda Staunton will be in conversation with director Paulette Randall on Monday 11 December, and Josephine Barstow and Tracie Bennett with singer-songwriter and actor Will Young on Monday 18 December.

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