About Company ...
Company premiered in 1970, musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. It had a cast that included Dean Jones, Charles Kimbrough, Barbara Barrie, George Coe, Donna McKecknie, Beth Howland and Elaine Strich. Company was a brilliant success,nominated for a record-setting 14 Tony Awards and it won 6.
Company was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships, and it was among the first "concept musicals." that is, it doesn't have a linear narrative. The action progresses through a series of related vignettes.
Its subject matter was quite new in the musical world. As Sondheim puts it, "Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we're going to bring it right back in their faces."
On the night of his 35th birthday, Robert struggles to think of a wish to make as he blows out his birthday candles. The lone bachelor, surrounded by “those good and crazy people” -- his married friends -- Robert is uncertain whether he should simply be happy with his lot or whether he should wish for his own romantic partner.
Over a series of dinner parties, first dates, and thoughtful conversations, Robert attempts to understand the pros and cons of marriage from his diverse and frequently hilarious friends, and begins to make sense of his own persistent bachelorhood.
The relationships are presented in a series of vignettes, primarily through Bobby's eyes, so we see less than ideal aspects of commitment. However, it becomes obvious to the audience that the committed couples are happy. Eventually, Bobby learns that while relationships aren't perfect, they are a necessary part of "Being Alive."
Many of the songs in Company have achieved classic status, especially Being Alive, The Ladies Who Lunch, Barcelona, and the opening ensemble, Company.
Sondheim, like Mozart before him, is a master of the ensemble number, in which each character can speak their mind and the intricate ensemble gathers its own expressive force.
This performance of the great opening ensemble is from a 2011 concert performance of Company at the New York Philharmonic.
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