Company (musical)

Company is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original 1970 production was nominated for a record-setting 14 Tony Awards, winning six. Company lacks a linear plot, depicting instead a story occurring in the mind of the central character,[1] a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a 35th birthday.[2]

Company
KertCompany.jpg
Original Broadway playbill
MusicStephen Sondheim
LyricsStephen Sondheim
BookGeorge Furth
PremiereApril 26, 1970 (1970-04-26): Alvin Theatre
Productions1970 Broadway
1971 North American Tour
1972 West End
1995 Broadway revival
1995 London revival
2006 Broadway revival
2018 West End revival
2021 Broadway revival
Awards1971 Tony Award for Best Musical
1971 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical
1971 Tony Award for Best Score (music)
1971 Tony Award for Best Lyrics
2006 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical
2019 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival
2022 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical

Company was among the first book musicals to deal with contemporary dating, marriage, and divorce.[3]

BackgroundEdit

George Furth wrote 11 one-act plays planned for Kim Stanley as each of the separate leads. Anthony Perkins was interested in directing, and asked Sondheim to read the material. After Sondheim read the plays, he asked Harold Prince for his opinion; Prince thought the plays would make the basis for a musical. The theme would be New York marriages with a central character to examine those marriages.[4]

"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."

— Stephen Sondheim[5]

SynopsisEdit

In the early 1990s, Furth and Sondheim revised the libretto, cutting and altering dialogue that had become dated and rewriting the end to act one. This synopsis is based on the revised libretto.

Act IEdit

Robert is a well-liked single man living in New York City whose friends are all married or engaged couples: Joanne and Larry, Peter and Susan, Harry and Sarah, David and Jenny, and Paul and Amy. It is Robert's 35th birthday, and the couples have gathered to throw him a surprise party. When Robert fails to blow out any candles on his birthday cake, the couples promise him that his birthday wish will still come true, though Bobby has wished for nothing, claiming that his friends are all that he needs ("Company").

What follows is a series of disconnected vignettes in no apparent chronological order; each features Robert visiting with one of the couples or alone on a date with a girlfriend. In the first vignette, Robert visits Sarah, a foodie supposedly now dieting, and her husband Harry, an alcoholic supposedly now recovered. Sarah and Harry taunt each other on their vices, escalating toward karate-like fighting and thrashing that may or may not be playful. This prompts the caustic Joanne — the oldest, most cynical, and most-often divorced of Robert's friends — to sarcastically comment to the audience that it is the little things that make a marriage work ("The Little Things You Do Together"). Harry then explains, and the other married men concur, that people are both thankful and regretful about getting married, and that marriage changes both everything and nothing about the way they live ("Sorry – Grateful").

Robert is next with Peter and Susan, on their apartment terrace. Peter is an Ivy League graduate, and Susan is a Southern belle; the two seem to be a perfect couple, yet they surprise Robert with the news of their upcoming divorce. At the home of the uptight Jenny and chic David, Robert has brought along some marijuana that the three share. The couple turns to grilling Robert on why he has not yet gotten married. Robert claims he is not against the notion, but three women he is currently dating—Kathy, Marta, and April—appear and proceed, Andrews Sisters-style, to chastise Robert for his reluctance to being committed ("You Could Drive a Person Crazy"). After Jenny asks for another joint, but is discouraged by David, David privately tells Robert that Jenny does not actually like marijuana, but partakes in it as a show of her love for him.

All of Robert's male friends are deeply envious about his commitment-free status, and each has found someone they find perfect for Robert ("Have I Got a Girl for You"), but Robert is waiting for someone who merges the best features of all his married female friends ("Someone Is Waiting"). Robert meets his three girlfriends in a small park on separate occasions, as Marta sings of the city: crowded, dirty, uncaring, yet somehow wonderful ("Another Hundred People"). Robert first gets to know April, a slow-witted airline flight attendant. Robert then spends time with Kathy. They had dated previously and both admit that they had each secretly considered marrying the other. They laugh at this coincidence before Robert suddenly considers the idea seriously. However, Kathy reveals that she is leaving for Cape Cod with a new fiancé. Finally, Robert meets with Marta; she loves New York, and babbles on about topics both highbrow and lowbrow. Robert is left stunned.

The scene turns to the day of Amy and Paul's wedding; they have lived together for years, but are just now getting married. Amy has gotten an overwhelming case of cold feet, and as the upbeat Paul harmonizes rapturously, a panicking Amy confesses to the audience that she can't go through with it ("Getting Married Today"). Robert, the best man, and Paul watch as Amy complains and self-destructs over every petty thing she can possibly think of, and then finally explicitly calls off the wedding. Paul dejectedly storms out into the rain and Robert tries to comfort Amy, but emotionally winds up offering an impromptu proposal to her himself. His words jolt Amy back into reality, and she runs out after Paul, at last ready to marry him. The setting returns to the scene of the birthday party, where Robert is given his cake and tries to blow out the candles again. He wishes for something this time ("Marry Me A Little").

Act IIEdit

The birthday party scene is reset, and Robert goes to blow out his candles. This time, he gets them about half out, and the couples have to help him with the rest. The couples share their views on Robert — both complimentary and unflattering – with each other as Robert reflects on being the third wheel ("Side By Side By Side"), soon followed by the up-tempo paean to Robert's role as the perfect friend ("What Would We Do Without You?"). In a dance break in the middle of the number, each man, in turn, does a dance step that is answered by his wife. Robert likewise does a step but he has no partner to answer it.

Robert brings April to his apartment for a nightcap, after a date. She marvels at how homey his place is, and he casually leads her to the bed, sitting next to her on it and working on getting her into it. She earnestly tells him of an experience from her past, involving the death of a butterfly; he counters with a bizarre remembrance of his own, obviously fabricated and designed to put her in the mood to succumb to his seduction. Meanwhile, the married women worry about Robert's single status and the unsuitable qualities they find in the women he dates ("Poor Baby"). As Robert and April have sex, we hear Robert and April's thoughts, interspersed with music that expresses and mirrors their increasing excitement ("Tick-Tock"). In some productions, including the original Broadway production, this is accompanied by a solo dance by Kathy.[6] The next morning, April rises early, to report for duty aboard a flight to Barcelona. Robert tries to get her to stay, at first wholeheartedly, parrying her apologetic protestations that she cannot with playful begging and insistence. As April continues to reluctantly resist his entreaties, and sleepiness retakes him, Bobby loses conviction, agreeing that she should go; that change apparently gets to her, and she joyfully declares that she will stay, after all. This takes Robert by surprise, and his astonished, plaintive "Oh, God!" is suffused with fear and regret ("Barcelona").

Robert and Marta visit Peter and Susan, and learn that Peter flew to Mexico to get the divorce, but he phoned Susan and she joined him there for a vacation. Though they are divorced, they are still living together, claiming they have too many responsibilities to actually leave each other's lives, and that their relationship has actually been strengthened. Susan takes Marta inside to make lunch, and Peter asks Robert if he has ever had a homosexual experience. They both admit they have, and Peter hints at the possibility that Robert and he could have such an encounter, but Robert uncomfortably laughs off the conversation as a joke.

Joanne and Larry take Robert out to a nightclub, where Larry dances, and Joanne and Robert sit watching, getting thoroughly drunk. She blames Robert for always being an outsider, only watching life rather than living it, and also persists in berating Larry. She raises her glass in a mocking toast, passing judgment on various types of rich, middle-aged women wasting their lives away with mostly meaningless activities ("The Ladies Who Lunch"). Her harshest criticism is reserved for those, like herself, who "just watch",[7] and she concludes with the observation that all these ladies are bound together by a terror that comes with the knowledge that "everybody dies". Larry returns from the dance floor, taking Joanne's drunken rant without complaint and explains to Robert that he still loves her dearly. When Larry leaves to pay the check, Joanne bluntly invites Robert to begin an affair with her, assuring him that she will "take care of him". Robert's reply, "But who will I take care of?" seems to surprise even him, and strikes Joanne as a profound breakthrough on his part. Robert insists he has been open to marriages and commitment, but questions "What do you get?" Upon Larry's return, Robert asks again, angrily, "What do you get?" Joanne declares, with some satisfaction, "I just did someone a big favor". She and Larry go home, leaving Robert lost in frustrated contemplation.

The couples' recurrent musical motif begins yet again, as they all again invite Bobby to "drop by anytime...". Rather than the cheery, indulgent tone he had responded with in earlier scenes, Robert suddenly, desperately, shouts "STOP!" He sings, openly enumerating the many traps and dangers he perceives in marriage; speaking their disagreements, his friends counter his ideas, one by one, encouraging him to dare to try for love and commitment. Finally, Bobby's words change, expressing a desire, increasing in urgency, for loving intimacy, even with all its problems, and the wish to meet someone with whom to face the challenge of living ("Being Alive"). The opening party resets a final time; Robert's friends have waited two hours, with still no sign of him. At last, they all prepare to leave, expressing a new hopefulness about their absent friend's chances for loving fulfillment, and wishing him a happy birthday, wherever he may be, as they leave. Robert then appears alone, smiles, and blows out his candles ("Finale").

Principal castsEdit

Character Broadway
(1970)
North American Tour
(1971)
West End
(1972)
First Broadway Revival
(1995)
First West End Revival
(1996)
Kennedy Center
(2002)
Second Broadway Revival
(2006)
New York Philharmonic Concert
(2011)
Second West End Revival
(2018)
Third Broadway Revival
(2021)
Robert Dean Jones George Chakiris Larry Kert Boyd Gaines Adrian Lester John Barrowman Raúl Esparza Neil Patrick Harris Rosalie Craig
(originated the gender-swapped role of Bobbie)
Katrina Lenk
(as Bobbie)
Larry Kert
Joanne Elaine Stritch Debra Monk Sheila Gish Lynn Redgrave Barbara Walsh Patti LuPone
Larry Charles Braswell Robert Goss Timothy Landfield Paul Bentley Walter Charles Bruce Sabath Jim Walton Ben Lewis Terence Archie
Amy Beth Howland Veanne Cox Sophie Thompson Alice Ripley Heather Laws Katie Finneran Jonathan Bailey
(originated the gender-swapped role of Jamie)
Matt Doyle
(as Jamie)
Paul Steve Elmore Del Hinkley Steve Elmore Danny Burstein Michael Simkins Matt Bogart Robert Cunningham Aaron Lazar Alex Gaumond Etai Benson
Sarah Barbara Barrie Marti Stevens Kate Burton Rebecca Front Keira Naughton Kristin Huffman Martha Plimpton Mel Giedroyc Jennifer Simard
Harry Charles Kimbrough Charles Braswell Kenneth Kimmins Robert Westenberg Clive Rowe David Pittu Keith Buterbaugh Stephen Colbert Gavin Spokes Christopher Sieber
Susan Merle Louise Milly Ericson Joy Franz Patricia Ben Peterson Clare Burt Christy Baron Amy Justman Jill Paice Daisy Maywood Rashidra Scott
Peter John Cunningham Gary Krawford J. T. Cromwell Jonathan Dokuchitz Gareth Snook Dan Cooney Matt Castle Craig Bierko Ashley Campbell Greg Hildreth
Jenny Teri Ralston Diana Canova Liza Sadovy Emily Skinner Leenya Rideout Jennifer Laura Thompson Jennifer Saayeng Nikki Renée Daniels
David George Coe Lee Goodman John Hillner Teddy Kempner Marc Vietor Fred Rose Jon Cryer Richard Henders Christopher Fitzgerald
April Susan Browning Bobbi Jordan Carol Richards Jane Krakowski Hannah James Kim Director Elizabeth Stanley Christina Hendricks Richard Fleeshman
(originated the gender-swapped role of Andy)
Claybourne Elder
(as Andy)
Marta Pamela Myers LaChanze Anna Francolini Marcy Harriel Angel Desai Anika Noni Rose George Blagden
(originated the gender-swapped role PJ)
Bobby Conte Thornton
(as PJ)
Kathy Donna McKechnie Charlotte d'Amboise Kiran Hocking Elizabeth Zins Kelly Jeanne Grant Chryssie Whitehead Matthew Seadon-Young
(originated the gender-swapped role Theo)
Manu Narayan[note 1]
(as Theo)

Song listEdit

ProductionsEdit

Beth Howland as Amy introduced the song "Getting Married Today" on Broadway in 1970, while Jonathan Bailey originated the gender-swapped role of Jamie who first performed the song as a man in the West End revival in 2018.[10]

Original Broadway productionEdit

Company opened in Boston in out-of-town tryouts, receiving mixed reviews, ranging from the Boston Evening Globe's "Brilliant", to Variety's observations: "The songs are for the most part undistinguished" and "As it stands now it's for ladies' matinees, homos and misogynists".[11]

Directed by Hal Prince, the musical opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on April 26, 1970, and closed on January 1, 1972, after 705 performances and twelve previews.[12][13] The opening cast included Dean Jones, who had replaced Anthony Perkins early in the rehearsal period when Perkins departed to direct a play,[14] Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, George Coe, Pamela Myers, Barbara Barrie, Charles Kimbrough, Merle Louise, Beth Howland, and Elaine Stritch. Musical staging was by Michael Bennett, assisted by Bob Avian. The set design by Boris Aronson[12] consisted of two working elevators and various vertical platforms that emphasized the musical's theme of isolation.

Dean Jones left the show on May 28, 1970. He was replaced by his understudy, Larry Kert, who had created the role of Tony in West Side Story.[15] According to Prince, Jones' departure was planned. In 2001, he recalled the circumstances. Jones was wrestling with a troubled marriage—which Prince did not know at the time—and New York City, in Prince's words, "spooked him." He went to Jones and said, "You can't stand being in New York City, facing a show that may keep you here for a year." Jones replied, "Oh, you are so right." Prince asked that if he promised to replace Jones very quickly, he would give him the opening night "that we deserve and that you are capable of giving." Prince warned Kert, and a few weeks later, "We kept our promise. Dean Jones went home."[16] Mark Evanier[17] is among those who have also reported this version of events.

In his September 2, 2015, obituary for Jones in The New York Times, Mike Flaherty reported that "he quit the production, citing stress and depression related to the recent collapse of his own marriage." Flaherty quotes Jones' 1982 autobiography, Under running laughter, in which he wrote of Company: "It was a clever, bright show on the surface, but its underlying message declared that marriage was, at best, a vapid compromise, insoluble and finally destructive."[18]

Kert earned rave reviews for his performance, and the Tony Awards committee decided that he was eligible to compete for Best Actor in a Musical, an honor usually reserved for the actor who originates a role.[19]

Original replacement cast members included John Cunningham, the original Peter, as Bobby, and Vivian Blaine and Jane Russell, as Joanne.[12][15]

Original Cast Album: CompanyEdit

Award-winning documentary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker captured the making-of the original cast recording shortly after the show opened on Broadway. His 1970 film Original Cast Album: Company earned early accolades, as well as a cult following, for its unvarnished look at a grueling recording session.[20][21] Stritch, Sondheim, and producer Thomas Z. Shepard are featured prominently.

First national tourEdit

The first national tour opened on May 20, 1971, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California, with George Chakiris as Bobby, and closed on May 20, 1972, at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.[22]

Original London productionEdit

The first West End production opened on January 18, 1972, at Her Majesty's Theatre, where it closed on November 4, 1972, after 344 performances. The original cast, directed by Harold Prince with choreography by Michael Bennett, featured Larry Kert, Elaine Stritch, Joy Franz (Susan), Beth Howland (Amy) and Donna McKechnie (Kathy). Dilys Watling (Amy) and Julia McKenzie (April) were replacements, later in the run.[23]

Original Australian productionEdit

The Sydney Theatre Company presented the first Australian production at the Sydney Opera House's Drama Theatre in January and February 1986. Directed by Richard Wherrett, it featured John O'May as Bobby, Geraldine Turner as Joanne, with other cast members, including Tony Sheldon, Simon Burke, Terence Donovan, and Barry Quin.[24][25]

1993 reunion concertsEdit

Most members of the original Broadway cast reunited in California for a concert to benefit Actors Fund of America AIDS charities and the Long Beach Civic Light Opera.[26] Angela Lansbury served as host for the January 23, 1993, performance at the Terrace Theater, with narration by George Hearn. The reunion concert was repeated for two New York performances in April 1993, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, directed by Barry Brown, with Patti Lupone as host.[27][28] The excitement of the reunion concerts resonated, even in comparison to later full-scale revivals.[29]

1995 Broadway revivalEdit

After 43 previews, a revival for the Roundabout Theatre, directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Rob Marshall, opened October 5, 1995, at the Criterion Center Stage Right, where it ran for 68 performances. The cast included Boyd Gaines (Bobby), Kate Burton, Robert Westenberg, Diana Canova, Debra Monk (Joanne), LaChanze, Charlotte d'Amboise, Jane Krakowski, Danny Burstein (Paul), and Veanne Cox (Amy). This production was nominated for the Tony award, Best Revival of a Musical.[30][31]

1995 London revivalEdit

A London revival directed by Sam Mendes at the Donmar Warehouse opened December 13, 1995, and closed there March 2, 1996;[32][33] the production quickly transferred to the Albery Theatre, with previews starting March 7, opening March 13, and closing June 29.[34][32] The cast included Adrian Lester, as the first Black actor to play Bobby in a major production of the show.[33]

A videotaped recording of the Donmar Warehouse production was broadcast by BBC Two on March 1, 1997. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, a one-off concert of Company, starring most of the 1995 London revival cast, including Adrian Lester as Bobby, was held at the Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, to commemorate the 80th birthday of composer Stephen Sondheim.[citation needed]

Kennedy Center productionEdit

A production for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., presented as part of a summer-long celebration of Sondheim musicals, opened May 17, 2002, for a limited run of 17 performances. Directed by Sean Mathias, the cast included John Barrowman as Robert, Emily Skinner, Alice Ripley, and Lynn Redgrave.[35][36] The production used the book from the original Broadway production, instead of the 1995 revision.[35]

2006 Broadway revivalEdit

A new revival had try-outs at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Robert S. Marx Theatre in March through April 2006. The cast featured Raúl Esparza (Bobby) and Barbara Walsh (Joanne), with direction and choreography by John Doyle.[37][38]

This production opened on Broadway on November 29, 2006, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.[2] The actors themselves provided the orchestral accompaniment.[38] For example, Esparza plays percussion, Walsh plays Orchestra Bells and percussion, and Heather Laws (Amy) plays French horn, trumpet and flute.[39] The production won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.[40][2] The musical closed on July 1, 2007, after 34 previews and 246 performances.[2] The production was filmed for Great Performances and broadcast in 2008,[41][40] with a subsequent DVD release.

2007 Australian productionEdit

Kookaburra Musical Theatre mounted a production directed by Gale Edwards, in Sydney in June 2007, starring David Campbell as Bobby, with a cast including Simon Burke, Anne Looby, James Millar, Pippa Grandison, Katrina Retallick, Tamsin Carroll and Christie Whelan. The show was well-received, and Sondheim travelled to Australia for the first time in thirty years to attend the opening night.[42] However, the production caused major controversy when Whelan was out sick for one performance and (with no understudy) Kookaburra chief executive Peter Cousens insisted the show be performed anyway, but without the character of April. This involved cutting several numbers and scenes with no explanation, and that night's performance ended twenty minutes early. Following complaints from the audience, there was considerable negative press attention to the decision, and Sondheim threatened to revoke the production rights for the show.[43]

2011 New York Philharmonic concertEdit

In April 2011, Lonny Price directed a staged concert production,[44] with Neil Patrick Harris as Robert, Stephen Colbert as Harry, Craig Bierko as Peter, Jon Cryer as David, Katie Finneran as Amy, Christina Hendricks as April, Aaron Lazar as Paul, Jill Paice as Susan, Martha Plimpton as Sarah, Anika Noni Rose as Marta, Jennifer Laura Thompson as Jenny, Jim Walton as Larry, Chryssie Whitehead as Kathy, and Patti LuPone as Joanne. Paul Gemignani conducted a 35-piece orchestra, which used similar orchestrations to the first Broadway production. This concert followed a long tradition of Stephen Sondheim concert productions at the New York Philharmonic, including Sweeney Todd and Passion.[45][46] The cast reunited on June 12, 2011, to perform "Side by Side by Side" on the 65th Tony Awards, hosted by Harris.[47]

A filmed presentation of the three-night concert production saw limited theatrical release on June 15, 2011,[48] with DVD and Blu-ray releases on November 13, 2012.[49]

2018 West End gender-swapped productionEdit

"It's thrilling from beginning to end. And the last scene of Act I (which is now two guys) will completely shatter you, as well as it being one of the funniest scenes on record. All due to [Jonathan Bailey], the guy who plays Jamie, the Amy-equivalent. I only wish George Furth [the book's writer] could see it, as it definitively proves what Judy Prince said about him: he's J. D. Salinger."

Stephen Sondheim after watching the first gender-swapped production of Company in the West End in 2018[50]

A West End revival was staged at the Gielgud Theatre which started previews from September 26, 2018, and opened officially, on October 17. The production was part of Elliott & Harper Productions' debut season, a production company formed by director Marianne Elliott and producer Chris Harper.[51] The revival/remake featured changes to the genders of several characters.[52] The character of Bobby was changed to Bobbie, a female role, and was played by Rosalie Craig. Additionally, the production featured a same-sex couple for the first time, with Jonathan Bailey as cold-footed groom Jamie (originally written as the female character Amy) and Alex Gaumond as his devoted fiancé Paul.[53] Sondheim approved both changes and worked on revisions of the script with director Elliott.[54] Patti LuPone and Mel Giedroyc also star.

Company topped the list of the 2019 Olivier Award nominations, alongside Come From Away, with nine nominations, winning Best Musical Revival.[55] It also won Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical (LuPone), Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Bailey) and Best Musical Revival.[10]

The cast recording was made available for digital release and streaming by Warner Classics on February 1, 2019.[56] The production closed on March 30, 2019.[57][50]

"When I was auditioning in London, I couldn't find the person [to play Amy]. I also felt like this woman wasn't now, wasn't a very modern woman. So then I did a crazy thing — I asked a friend of mine, Jonathan Bailey... 'Would you mind just coming in and trying something for me? It's a bit crazy.'
We worked for maybe an hour and a half, and it wasn't perfect, but I felt (gasp), this is exciting, there's a potential here. So I then immediately got on the email to Steve, and I said, 'Steve, you have to be sitting down. You have to be having a glass of wine in your hand. And take a deep breath, but I'm going to say something to you: I think possibly we should change Amy into a man.' And Steve's reply sums him up, really, as a collaborator. He basically said, 'Marianne, you need to be sitting down, you need to have a glass of wine in your hand, you need to take a deep breath: I think it's a great idea.'"

— Marianne Elliott on reimagining Amy as a man with Jonathan Bailey[58]

2021 Broadway revivalEdit

 
Branding of the 2021 Broadway revival, as seen on the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

A Broadway transfer of the 2018 West End revival opened December 9, 2021, to broad acclaim.[59][60][61] Marianne Elliott once again directs,[62] and Patti LuPone reprises her role as Joanne, with Katrina Lenk as Bobbie,[63] choreography by Liam Steel, music supervision and direction by Joel Fram, scenic and costume designs by Bunny Christie, and lighting design by Neil Austin.[64]

Originally slated to open on Sondheim's 90th birthday (March 22, 2020), the production began previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on March 2. After nine preview performances, the production came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.[65] All Broadway shows went dark, and theatre closures were subsequently extended numerous times.[66][67][68][69] The production resumed previews November 15, 2021,[70] with Sondheim in attendance shortly before his death.[71] The cast, musicians, and crew then dedicated their entire run to the late composer.[72][73]

Five days before he died, Sondheim discussed the revival's change of the lead character's gender from male (Bobby) to female (Bobbie). He expressed how theater is distinguished from film and video because "you can do it in different ways from generation to generation… What keeps theater alive is the chance always to do it differently, with not only fresh casts, but fresh viewpoints. It's not just a matter of changing pronouns, but attitudes."[62]

The production became the most nominated musical revival of the season, receiving nine Tony Award nominations and winning five including Best Revival of a Musical.[74] The documentary film Keeping Company with Sondheim aired on Great Performances in May 2022, examining this production alongside the show's previous incarnations. The production closed July 31, 2022, after 300 performances (32 previews and 268 regular performances).[75] A North American tour is planned for the 2023-24 season.[76]

International productionsEdit

  • A 1997 production was staged in the Philippines, by the Repertory Philippines as part of its 55th season. The production starred Cocoy Laurel as Bobby and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Joanne.[77]
  • A Brazilian production opened on February 8, 2001, at the Teatro Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, closed April 22, opened April 27 at the Teatro Alfa in São Paulo, then returned to the Teatro Villa-Lobos in Rio.[78]
  • A 2010 production opened in Norway, at The National Venue of Norway (Den Nationale Scene) in Bergen. The cast included Jon Bleiklie Devik, Karoline Krüger/Ragnhild Gudbrandsen, Wenche Kvamme, and Monica Hjelle, among others.[79]
  • A 2011 Israeli production opened on May 28, 2011, at the Beersheba Theatre.
  • A 2011 production by Sheffield Theatres opened at the Crucible Theatre, starring Daniel Evans (actor) as Bobby and Rosalie Craig as Marta, among others.[80]
  • A 2012 production opened in Lima, Perú, directed by Alberto Ísola. The cast included Rossana Fernández-Maldonado, Marco Zunino, Tati Alcántara and Paul Martin.
  • A 2012 production in Singapore, directed by Hossan Leong, was staged at the Drama Centre, November 1–16, 2012.[81] The cast included Peter Ong, Seong Hui Xuan, Mina Ellen Kaye, Tan Kheng Hua and Petrina Kow.[82]
  • A 2013 production opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at Teatro La Comedia. Cast members included Alejandro Paker, Cecilia Milone and Natalia Cociuffo.[83]
  • A 2019 production in Slovenia, translated into Slovenian and directed by Nejc Lisjak, opened on September 27, 2019, in the Kulturni Dom in Radomlje. It starred Lisjak as Robert, Anja Strajnar as Joanne, and Špela Prenar as Amy, among others.[84]
  • A 2019 production in Brazil, directed by João Fonseca, was staged at the Teatro Sesc Ginástico. It opened on August 30 and closed on September 29.
  • A 2019 production in the Philippines, directed by Topper Fabregas, was staged at Maybank Theater, BGC Arts Center. The production starred OJ Mariano as Bobby and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, reprising her role as Joanne. The production ran from September 13 to 22.[85][77]
  • A 2021 production in Spain, directed and starred by Antonio Banderas, opened on November 17, 2021 at Teatro del Soho Caixabank in Malaga.
  • A 2022 production in Poland, directed by Michał Znaniecki and translated into Polish by Maciej Glaza, opened on March 26, 2022, at Basen Artystyczny in Warsaw.[86]

RecordingsEdit

The original Broadway cast album features Jones, having been recorded prior to Kert assuming the role of Bobby. When the cast traveled to London to reprise their roles, Columbia Records took Kert into the studio to record new vocal tracks, then mixed out Jones' original vocals. This recording featuring the new Kert vocals laid over the Broadway backing tracks was released as the Original London Cast recording. After Sony Music acquired the Columbia catalogues, a newly remastered CD of the original Broadway cast recording was released in 1998, featuring Kert's rendition of "Being Alive" as a bonus track.[87] The original Broadway cast album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Revival cast recordings for both the 1995 Broadway and London productions were released; recordings were also released for the 2006 actor-orchestra Broadway cast and the 2018 gender-swapped London cast.

Video recordings were released for the 1995 London, 2006 Broadway, and 2011 New York Philharmonic revivals.

Selections from the show were broadcast in 1979 on Musical Comedy Tonight hosted by Sylvia Fine, with songs performed by Carol Burnett, Richard Chamberlain, Sandy Duncan, and Bernadette Peters.[88]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Original Broadway production awardsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1971 Drama Desk Award[89] Outstanding Book of a Musical George Furth Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Harold Prince Won
Outstanding Lyrics Stephen Sondheim Won
Outstanding Music Won
Outstanding Set Design Boris Aronson Won
Theatre World Award[89] Susan Browning Won
Tony Award[89] Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical George Furth Won
Best Score (music) (For the only time, the Tony Awards for Music and Lyrics were split into two categories. Sondheim won both awards.) Stephen Sondheim Won
Best Lyrics Stephen Sondheim Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Larry Kert Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Elaine Stritch Nominated
Susan Browning Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Charles Kimbrough Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Barbara Barrie Nominated
Pamela Myers Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Harold Prince Won
Best Choreography Michael Bennett Nominated
Best Scenic Design Boris Aronson Won
Best Lighting Design Robert Ornbo Nominated

1995 Broadway revival awardsEdit

Source: Internet Broadway database[30]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1996 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Veanne Cox Nominated
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Veanne Cox Nominated

1995 London revival awardsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1996 Laurence Olivier Award[90] Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical Adrian Lester Won
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Sheila Gish Won
Sophie Thompson Nominated
Best Director Sam Mendes Won

2006 Broadway revival awardsEdit

Source: Internet Broadway Database[91]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2007 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Raúl Esparza Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Barbara Walsh Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical John Doyle Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Mary Mitchell Campbell Won
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Raúl Esparza Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical John Doyle Nominated

2018 West End revival awardsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2018 Evening Standard Theatre Award[92] Best Musical Nominated
Best Musical Performance Rosalie Craig Won
Best Director Marianne Elliott Won
Best Design Bunny Christie Nominated
Critics' Circle Theatre Award[93] Best Musical Won
Best Designer Bunny Christie Won
2019 Laurence Olivier Award[94] Best Musical Revival Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical Rosalie Craig Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical Patti LuPone Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Jonathan Bailey Won
Richard Fleeshman Nominated
Best Director Marianne Elliott Nominated
Best Set Design Bunny Christie Won
Best Lighting Design Neil Austin Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Liam Steel Nominated
South Bank Sky Arts Award[95] Theatre Nominated

2021 Broadway revival awardsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2022 Drama League Award[96] Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Direction of a Musical Marianne Elliott Won
Distinguished Performance Award Matt Doyle Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[97] Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Matt Doyle Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Patti LuPone Won
Tony Awards[98] Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Matt Doyle Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Patti LuPone Won
Jennifer Simard Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Marianne Elliott Won
Best Scenic Design of a Musical Bunny Christie Won
Best Lighting Design of a Musical Neil Austin Nominated
Best Sound Design of a Musical Ian Dickinson for Autograph Nominated
Best Orchestrations David Cullen Nominated
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Matt Doyle Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Patti LuPone Won
Jennifer Simard Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Marianne Elliott Won
Outstanding Choreography Liam Steel Nominated
Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical Bunny Christie Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design for a Musical Ian Dickinson for Autograph Nominated
  • Due to a performer only being allowed to win the Distinguished Performance Award once in their lifetime, LuPone isn't able to be officially nominated again; she was however given an honourable mention for her work in Company.

Unproduced filmEdit

Sondheim approached William Goldman to write a screenplay adaptation of the musical; the director Herbert Ross reportedly talked Sondheim out of doing the film.[99] Speculation arose in 2010 about Neil LaBute working on a film version of the show.[100]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Kyle Dean Massey played the role during the 2020 previews before the COVID-19 shutdown, but will not return, since he and his husband are expecting their first child.
  2. ^ Played in most productions by the actor who plays Susan or Jenny.
  3. ^ In the 1990s, "Marry Me a Little" was restored permanently to close Act I and added to the 1995 and 2006 revivals, it is also included in the official composer's edition of the vocal selections, published in 1996 (ISBN 0-7935-6763-7).
  4. ^ Added in for the 1995 Broadway Revival.
  5. ^ The dance number "Tick-Tock" (arranged by David Shire) was abridged for the first Broadway revival, and afterward deleted entirely from the score. However, it has since been restored in some productions, such as the 2004 Reprise! production in Los Angeles, the 2011 New York Philharmonic staging, and the 2021 Broadway revival.
  6. ^ The song "Multitude of Amys" was the original finale but was cut due to major structural changes in the script. "Marry Me a Little" was started as a replacement but subsequently moved to the end of the first act. "Happily Ever After" was used as the finale for the first few performances before being replaced by "Being Alive".

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

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BibliographyEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Ilson, Carol. Harold Prince: A Director's Journey (2004), Limelight Editions, ISBN 0-87910-296-9.
  • Mandelbaum, Ken. A Chorus Line and the Musicals of Michael Bennett (1990), St Martins Press, ISBN 0-312-04280-9.
  • Prince, Harold. Contradictions: Notes on twenty-six years in the theater (1974), Todd, Mead, ISBN 0-396-07019-1.
  • Rich, Frank. The Theater Art of Boris Aronson (1987), Knopf. ISBN 0-394-52913-8.

External linksEdit