The Adventure Continues

TT in the Blue Mountains and Sheldy in New York.

Culture Shock.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sondheim's "Company"

(Sheldy) We missed the live concert and subsequent cinema screenings of Lonny Price's NY Philharmonic staging of COMPANY over 12 months ago so we leapt at the chance to see a single afternoon showing at the historic Ziegfeld Theatre today. I'd heard mixed reports from mates who had sat in on the dress rehearsal so really wasn't prepared for the emotional rollercoaster we found ourselves on. The 1970 original Broadway cast recording is one of the greatest show albums of all time and one of my happiest theatrical experiences was playing Paul in the Sydney Theatre Company production in 1986 but this latest version will certainly prove hard to beat.
George Furth's script has seen many additions over the past 42 years and has grown much richer and deeper. The score remains a timeless marvel. What the show says about marriage and relationships becomes more poignant and resonant the older one gets, and with our current status as residents of NYC the many gags about living in New York land with even greater force.

The casting across the board was nigh on perfect with especially notable performances from Martha Plimpton and Stephen Colbert as Sarah & Harry and Jennifer Laura Thompson & Jon Cryer as Jenny and David. Neil Patrick Harris was very funny as an amiably sexy Robert.
One of the evening's surprise triumphs is the performance of Christina Hendricks (as April) who combines all the voluptuous sexiness of her MAD MEN character Joan Holloway with the most hilarious feyness and terrific musical theatre star quality. And Cryssie Whitehead's "Tick Tock" dance number is cleverly staged with the assistance of four other female dancers now representing the five wives rather than just as a gratuitous solo showpiece.

And, of course, Patti LuPone lands "Ladies Who Lunch" with full force but without becoming the screaming harpy that seems to be the popular interpretation of late. Jim Walton is also very touching as her patient husband Larry. We hear the concert will be released on dvd later in the year. A shame not to see it on the big screen but still a definitive version for the collection.

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