2013, after renovation of facade
|Address||32 rue Richer
|Opened||2 May 1869|
Established in 1869, the house was at the height of its fame and popularity from the 1890s' Belle Époque through the 1920s' Années folles. The institution is still in business, and is always a strong symbol of French and Parisian life.
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It opened on 2 May 1869 as the Folies Trévise, with light entertainment including operettas, opéra comique (comic opera), popular songs, and gymnastics. It became the Folies Bergère on 13 September 1872, named after a nearby street, the rue Bergère ("bergère" means "shepherdess"). The American impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., named his light-hearted, extravagant Broadway revues the Ziegfeld Follies (1907-1931), after the Parisian venue.
In 1886, Édouard Marchand conceived a new genre of entertainment for the Folies Bergère: the music-hall revue. Women would be the heart of Marchand's concept for the Folies. In the early 1890s, the American dancer Loie Fuller starred at the Folies Bergère. In 1902, illness forced Marchand to leave after 16 years.
In 1918, Paul Derval (1880–1966) made his mark on the revue. His revues were to feature extravagant costumes, sets and effects, and his "small nude women". Derval's small nude women would become the hallmark of the Folies. During his 48 years at the Folies, he launched the careers of many French stars including Maurice Chevalier, Mistinguett, Josephine Baker, Fernandel and many others. In 1926, Josephine Baker, an African-American expatriate singer, dancer, and entertainer, caused a sensation at the Folies Bergère in a new revue, La Folie du Jour, in which she danced a number Fatou wearing a costume consisting of a skirt made of a string of artificial bananas and little else. Her erotic dancing and near nude performances were renowned. The Folies Bergère catered to popular taste. Shows featured elaborate costumes; the women's were frequently revealing, practically leaving them naked, and shows often contained a good deal of nudity. Shows also played up the "exoticness" of persons and objects from other cultures, obliging the Parisian fascination with the négritude of the 1920s.
In 1936, Derval brought Josephine Baker from New York to lead the revue En Super Folies. Michel Gyarmathy, a young Hungarian arrived from Balassagyarmat, his hometown, designed the poster for En Super Folies, a show starring Josephine Baker in 1936. This began a long love story between Michel Gyarmathy, Paris, the Folies Bergère and the public of the whole world which lasted 56 years. The funeral of Paul Derval was held on 20 May 1966. He was 86 and had reigned supreme over the most celebrated music hall in the world. His wife Antonia, supported by Michel Gyarmathy, succeeded him. In August 1974, the Folies Antonia Derval passed on the direction of the business to Hélène Martini, the empress of the night (25 years earlier she had been a showgirl in the revues). This new mistress of the house reverted to the original concept to maintain the continued existence of the last music hall which remained faithful to the tradition.
Since 2006, the Folies Bergère has presented some musical productions with Stage Entertainment like Cabaret (2006–2008) or Zorro the Musical (2009–2010).
- 1935: Folies Bergère de Paris directed by Roy Del Ruth, with Maurice Chevalier, Merle Oberon, and Ann Sothern
- 1935: Folies Bergère de Paris directed by Marcel Achard with Maurice Chevalier, Natalie Paley, Fernand Ledoux. A French-language version of the 1935 Hollywood film.
- 1956: Folies-Bergère directed by Henri Decoin with Eddie Constantine, Zizi Jeanmaire, Yves Robert, Pierre Mondy
- 1956: Énigme aux Folies Bergère directed by Jean Mitry with Dora Doll, Claude Godard
- 1991: La Totale! directed by Claude Zidi with Thierry Lhermitte
The Folies Bergère inspired the Ziegfeld Follies in the United States and other similar shows, including a longstanding revue at the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and the Teatro Follies in Mexico. In the 1930s and '40s the impresario Clifford C. Fischer staged several Folies Bergere productions in the United States. These included the Folies Bergère of 1939 at the Broadway Theater in New York and the Folies Bergère of 1944 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.
The Las Vegas Folies Bergere, which opened in 1959, closed at the end of March 2009 after nearly 50 years in operation. Another recent example is Faceboyz Folliez, a monthly burlesque and variety show at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.
- In the musical Nine, the character of Liliane La Fleur sings a song titled "Folies Bergère" in an homage to the Folies Bergère and similar musical acts.
- In the 1960s British science fiction TV series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode "Model Spy", Colonel White remarks that Cloudbase is an operational base and not the Folies Bergère.
- In the 1960s British science fiction TV series Thunderbirds episode "The Perils of Penelope" Alan Tracy expresses disappointment at not being able to accompany his brothers to "The Folies". Lady Penelope tells him he is too young.
- In Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game", General Zaroff "hummed a snatch of song from the 'Folies Bergere'" when referring to the pack of dogs he released to patrol the grounds every night.
- A Brief History of the Folies-Bergère Art & Architecture
- "Édouard Marchand et les Folies bergère". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- "Folies Bergère 1939". Playbillvault.com. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- "Follies Bergere in San Francisco, 1944". News.google.com. 1943-11-23. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- "Poster, card, and photo from The Folies Bergere of 1944 in San Francisco". Glopad.org. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- Prentice, Claire (2009-03-28). "BBC: Folies bows out amid credit crisis". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- "Folies Bergere To Close In Las Vegas". NPR. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- John Palmer. "‘Les Folies Bergere’ to end run at Tropicana". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- "Just Do Art! | The Villager Newspaper". Thevillager.com. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
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