Dear Mr. Sondheim,
I would like to take this opportunity to express my extreme gratitude to you for bringing the world “Company.” I’ll admit it, the first few times I saw it, I wasn’t so sure. It’s a musical about relationships and marriage. Kind of a tough sell, don’t you think?
It wasn’t that I didn’t love the first version that I saw. The 2006 Broadway Revival cast with Raul Esparza as Bobby was great. He did a wonderful job. The minimal set was crisp, clean, and I loved the fact that the actors played instruments.
But it didn’t really “pop” for me. It was kind of blah and left me feeling meh. For what’s a musical without some flashy, showy, grandiosity? Nothing. I mean, what would the Music Man have been without “76 Trombones”? Or Rent without “525,600 Minutes”? What would the 2011 Tony Award winning, The Book of Mormon have been without “I Believe”? Just a boring story about Mormons, that’s what.
But I have to admit, over the past few months I’ve slowly fallen in love with Company. To the point where I actually wanted to take a Megabus up to NYC to see the New York Philharmonic’s performance. Alas, I didn’t have that kind of money to spend, so I was over the moon excited when I found out that it would have a limited release in theaters this summer. Honestly, it was my second-most eagerly anticipated theater release this summer, only beat by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.
The cast was phenomenal. I honestly enjoyed everyone’s performance; the casting balanced Broadway with television perfectly. Here’s were the notes that stood out the most:
- Christina Hendricks did a good job. Honestly, I haven’t really watched Mad Men (I know, I know – for shame!), so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, one of my favorite moments througout the entire production was her character April’s story about the butterfly.
- Stephen Colbert had a serviceable voice. I had only ever heard him perform at the Rally for Sanity, and that wasn’t really the optimal setting to judge his voice. He did well, but looked super awkward while singing. It just seemed like he didn’t know what to do with his hands. Jon Cryer looked much more at ease.
- I fell more in love with Neil Patrick Harris, a feat I no longer thought possible. Keep in mind that I watched this after his hosting gig at the Tonys. Is he ever not delightful?
- Aside from April’s butterfly anecdote, my favorite scene was Amy’s wedding freak-out. I think that happened because I could easily identify with her. Committing to one person for the rest of your life? That’s crazy talk! But she’d really already been in that position. She metaphorically hit herself on the head and charged ahead.
The format in which the musical was presented – not a full stage production, but not simply a concert, either – and cast really pulled me in and made me understand the musical better than I had on my previous three viewings. I felt more connected with the characters and plot. For the first time I really came away feeling like I understood everything that was being broadcast instead of kind of being comfortably confused about it all. Bobby became less of a character and more of a person to me. The story seemed juicier as well as being easier to swallow. If this version ever comes out on DVD, I’ll actually go out and buy it. Even if my friends already have copies.
So, if you ever feel like doing another stage showing of Company, allow me to make a few suggestions. May I present to you my Dream Cast:
Bobby: Neil Patrick Harris
Sarah : Ellen Degeneres
Harry: Nathan Fillion
Susan : Evan Rachel Wood
Peter : Jason Segel
Jenny: Felicia Day
David: Joel McHale
Amy: Jayma Mays
Paul: Rob Lowe
Joanne: Jane Lynch
Larry: Robert Sean Leonard
April: Zoey Deschanel
Marta: Rosario Dawson
Kathy: Sarah Paulson