Company

Bobbie just got super real about being single, and her friends are revealing the truth about their relationships.

By Andrew Andrews

Director Marianne Elliot’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical comedy Company gets a 21st century update at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway. Original image by djhalo.

Bobbie’s friends are gathered in the perpetually-single woman’s apartment to throw her a surprise 35th birthday party.

When she fails to blow out even one of the dozens of candles on her cake, the friends—all in relationships—disagree on whether she’ll still get her wish.

Bobbie claims to wish for nothing, saying that all she needs is their company. But over a series of scenes visiting each of the individual couples, Bobbie appears eager (and constantly prodded) to find her Mr. Right and settle down into marriage, which is billed by the others as amazing and depressing at the same time.

Originally produced for a male lead, the return of Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical comedy includes noticeable modernizations such as vaping and smartphone selfies, in addition to gender reversals and subtle updates to the score.

Greg Hildreth, Christopher Fitzgerald, Rashidra Scott, Nikki Renée Daniels, Manu Narayan, Patti LuPone, Terence Archie, Katrina Lenk (as Bobbie), Bobby Conte, Christopher Sieber, Jennifer Simard, Claybourne Elder, Etai Benson and Matt Doyle. Original photo by Matthew Murphy.

Revising a well-known (and loved) musical carries certain risks, but Company manages to satisfy fans of the original while appealing to a more modern audience.

Due to the constant influx of singles in Manhattan, the story is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago, although the music remains true to the popular styles of its time.

Company is billed as a musical comedy, and the comedy is where the production and its script really shine. Like a well-written sitcom, the cast frequently had me bursting out laughing with the crowd, leaving the moments in-between the gags feeling somewhat drawn-out.

Except for the phenomenal rendition of Getting Married Today by Matt Doyle and the entire ensemble, and a few moments when various soloists were careful to hold their extended notes flawlessly, the singing seemed lackluster for a Broadway production. Perhaps it’s because the cast already delivered a matinee before the evening performance I attended, or maybe the sound operator just wasn’t giving the microphones the prominence they needed, but the 2018 London recording delivers a lot more energy over my smartphone speaker than the live cast did in the theatre.

The audience for this show was surprisingly well-behaved (considering the trend toward rudeness that emerged after quarantine), and the seats in the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre are roomy enough that I didn’t feel cramped with my heavy winter coat.

With productions shutting down left-and-right and the dearth of live theatre to be had over the coming months, it’s nice to know that you don’t just have to settle for Company: you’ll most certainly enjoy it. And with great seats available from tkts, you’ll get your money’s worth, too.

4

Andrew Andrews attended Company at Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in Manhattan on Saturday, January 15, 2022 @ 8:00pm to write this review.