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Company (musical)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Original Broadway playbill
MusicStephen Sondheim
LyricsStephen Sondheim
BookGeorge Furth
PremiereApril 26, 1970 (1970-04-26): Alvin Theatre
Productions1970 Broadway
1971 US Tour
1972 West End
1995 Broadway revival
1995 West End revival
2006 Broadway revival
2018 West End 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

Company is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting 14 Tony Awards, and won six.

Originally titled Threes, its story revolves around Robert (a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage), the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, Company is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Robert's 35th birthday.

Company was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. 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".[1][2]


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.[3]


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 I

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 he has wished for nothing, since his friends are all that he needs ("Company"). What follows is a series of disconnected vignettes in no apparent chronological order, each featuring Robert during a visit with one of the couples or alone with a girlfriend.

The first of these features Robert visiting Sarah, a foodie supposedly now dieting, and her husband Harry, an alcoholic supposedly now on the wagon. Sarah and Harry taunt each other on their vices, escalating toward karate-like fighting and thrashing that may or may not be playful. The caustic Joanne, the oldest, most cynical, and most-oft divorced of Robert's friends, comments sarcastically 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 a person is always 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 Ivy League, 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 they 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 fooling around with—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"). David tries to tell Robert privately that Jenny did not like the marijuana, after she asks for another joint.

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 three 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 as diverse as true sophistication, the difference between uptown and downtown New York, and how she can always tell a New Yorker by his or her ass. Robert is left stunned.

The scene turns to the day of Amy and Paul's wedding; they have lived together for years, but are only now getting married. Amy is in an overwhelming state of panic, and as the upbeat Paul harmonizes rapturously, Amy thinks through her hesitation ("Getting Married Today"). Robert, the best man, and Paul watch as she complains and self-destructs over every petty thing she can possibly think of, and finally, just calls off the wedding explicitly. Paul dejectedly storms out into the rain and Robert tries to comfort Amy, but emotionally winds up offering an impromptu proposal to her himself ("What Did I Just Do?"). His words jolt Amy back into reality, and with the parting words "you need to marry some body, not just some body", 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 II

The birthday party scene is reset, and Robert goes to blow out his candles. This time, he gets them about half out, and the rest have to help him. The couples share their views on Robert with each other, comments which range from complimentary to unflattering, as Robert reflects on being the fifth 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, or as in the case of the 2006 Broadway revival in a musical solo section, each man, in turn, does a dance step, or as in the revival, plays a solo on his instrument, answered by his wife. Then, Robert likewise does a step, or as in the case of the 2006 Broadway revival, plays two bad notes on a kazoo, but he has no partner to answer it.

Robert brings April to his apartment for a nightcap, after a date. She marvels ad nauseam 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 seduction. Meanwhile, the married women worry about Robert's single and lonesome status (as they see it), and particularly about the unsuitable qualities they find in the women he does date, asking, "Isn't she a little bit, well--Dumb? Tacky? Vulgar? Old? Tall? Aggressive? Where is she from?...She's tall enough to be your mother...." ("Poor Baby"). When the inevitable sex happens, we hear Robert and April's thoughts, interspersed with music that expresses and mirrors their increasing excitement. This music often, as in the original Broadway production, accompanies a solo dance by Kathy, conveying the emotions and dynamics of making love; it has also been staged as a pas de deux, a group number, or been cut altogether, in various productions ("Tick-Tock").[4] The next morning, April rises early, to report for duty aboard a flight to Barcelona ("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 seems to lose 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 not with triumph, nor even ambivalence, but with evident fear and regret.

In the following scene, Robert takes Marta to visit Peter and Susan, on their terrace. Apparently, Peter flew to Mexico to get the divorce, but he phoned Susan and she joined him there for a vacation. Bizarrely, 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 by the divorce. 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 the conversation off 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",[5] 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". The reply this elicits from him, "But who will I take care of?" seems to surprise him, and to strike Joanne as a profound breakthrough on his part, "...a door opening that's been stuck for a long time". Robert insists it is not, that he has studied and 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". Larry and she go home, leaving Robert lost in frustrated contemplation.

The couples' recurrent musical motif begins yet again, with all of them focused anew on their "Bobby Bubbi", "Robert darling", or "Bobby baby", and again inviting him to "Drop by anytime...". Rather than the cheery, indulgent tone he had responded with in earlier scenes, Robert suddenly, desperately, shouts "STOP!" In their stunned silence, he challenges them with quiet intensity: "What do you get?" 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").


Character Description
Robert The central character (referred to by other characters as "Bobby"); his 35th birthday brings the group together.
Sarah Learning karate and has problems with food and dieting, married to Harry.
Harry Friendly and affable, but has problems with drinking, married to Sarah.
Susan A gracious Southern belle who suffers from fainting spells, married to Peter.
Peter Formerly Ivy League, possibly gay but married to Susan.
Jenny Sweet, but square, married to David.
David Chic and a bit controlling, married to Jenny.
Amy Neurotic Catholic who gets cold feet on her wedding day, engaged to Paul.
Paul Amy's fiancé, Jewish, who has learned how to put up with her manic spells.
Joanne Cynical, older than Robert's other friends, and very acerbic; married to Larry.
Larry Joanne's third husband; sweet and understanding.
April A naïve flight attendant, self-described as "dumb", one of Robert's girlfriends.
Marta Hip and vulgar; loves New York, one of Robert's girlfriends.
Kathy A small-town girl who feels out of place in New York; Robert's long-time on-off girlfriend.

Principal casts

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

Song list


Original Broadway production

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".[9]

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 seven previews.[10][11] The opening cast included Dean Jones, who had replaced Anthony Perkins early in the rehearsal period when Perkins departed to direct a play,[12] 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[10] 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.[13] 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.”[14] Mark Evanier[15] and Canadian journalist Jaime Weinman[16] are 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.”[17]

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.[18]

Original replacement cast members included John Cunningham (the original Peter) as Bobby, and Vivian Blaine and Jane Russell, as Joanne.[10][13]

Original Cast Album: Company

The making of the original cast recording was captured by award-winning documentary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker, shortly after the show opened on Broadway,[19] as a pilot for a TV series highlighting the different ways a cast-album recording session could be conducted. It was shown at the New York Film Festival in September 1970 and was unanimously praised and saw many people turned away as the auditorium was at capacity.[20] The documentary was scheduled to be broadcast in New York on October 25, 1970.[20] However, a week after the original screening, all the original producers for the proposed series were hired to go out to Hollywood and head up production at MGM. As nobody was left in New York to spearhead the project, the series was scrapped. Only this lone pilot film remains, of an idea never brought to fruition.[21]

On June 15, 2020, to wide acclaim,[22][23][24] Criterion began streaming the documentary, along with a commentary recorded in 2001 by Pennebaker, Prince and Stritch, who offer insight into the creation of the original Broadway production, as well as the documentary itself. Prince shares his account of Dean Jones' experience and the challenges of playing the lead. (See above on Jones' departure.) Prince observes that no one was better in the very difficult part than Jones.[14]

Reviews of the film include a long piece in the July 10, 2020, issue of The New Yorker by Richard Brody, The Unstrung Power of Elaine Stritch,[25] and a brief rave in The New York Times in October 2014, when it was slated for showing in a theater.[26]

The 1970 film, Original Cast Album: Company, is filled with behind the scenes footage of the marathon recording process at the Columbia Records 30th Street recording studio at East 30th Street and Third Avenue on the first Sunday in May, complete with much of the musical direction from and insight of Sondheim himself. Several of the show's numbers were captured in the film—including "Another Hundred People", "Getting Married Today", and "Being Alive"—all recorded with a live orchestra, done in multiple takes, over the course of several hours.

Eventually, only "The Ladies Who Lunch" remained to be recorded. It was well past midnight, and Stritch, Sondheim, and the orchestra were all clearly suffering from the effects of the day's marathon recording session. Stritch struggled repeatedly to record a satisfactory version of the song, even going so far as to slightly drop the key for a few takes. Her voice continued to degrade and her energy continued to ebb away. As she struggled, some conflict was seen between Stritch, the producer, Thomas Z. Shepard, and Sondheim.

Before dawn, everyone agreed to stop. They recorded one last take of the orchestra by themselves and agreed to have Stritch come back early in the week and record the vocal over the previously recorded orchestra track.[27] The finale of the film features a revitalized Stritch, in full hair and makeup in preparation for a Wednesday matinee performance of the show, successfully performing "The Ladies Who Lunch".

The film and musical was the inspiration for the Documentary Now! parody, Original Cast Album: Co-Op. The mockumentary follows the recording of the cast album of a fictional Company-style musical, about the residents and employees of a co-op apartment. The musical is so poorly reviewed that it closes after its first day, and the cast is informed of this during the recording session. The episode was written by John Mulaney and Seth Meyers. It features Mulaney as a Stephen Sondheim analog, Paula Pell as a Stritch-styled character struggling through multiple takes of her number, in addition to Taran Killam, James Urbaniak, Alex Brightman, Richard Kind, and Renée Elise Goldsberry.[28][29][30] A conversation about the parody, recorded in 2020, is also available on Criterion.

In February 2019, The New York Times' television critic Mike Hale interviewed Meyers, Mulaney, Pennebaker and Sondheim for a piece headlined John Mulaney and Seth Meyers Fondly Send Up Sondheim. He’s Amused.[31]

On August 17, 2021, The Criterion Collection released a special edition DVD and Blu-ray release of the documentary.[32] The release includes a restored 4K transfer of the film, along with newly-produced and archival special features including a newly-recorded commentary with Sondheim.[33]

First national tour

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.[34]

Original London production

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.[35]

Original Australian production

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.[36][37]

1993 reunion concerts

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.[38] 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.[39][40] The excitement of the reunion concerts resonated, even in comparison to later full-scale revivals.[41]

1995 Broadway revival

After 43 previews, the 1995 Roundabout Theatre revival, directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Rob Marshall, opened on October 5, 1995, at the Criterion Center Stage Right, where it ran for 60 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.[42][43]

1995 London revival

The 1995 London revival was directed by Sam Mendes at the Donmar Warehouse. Previews began on December 1, with opening on December 13 and closing on March 2, 1996.[44][45] The production transferred to the Albery Theatre, with previews starting on March 7, opening on March 13 and closing on June 29.[46][44] The cast included Adrian Lester, as the first black actor to play Bobby in a major production of the show.[45]

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 the composer, Stephen Sondheim.[citation needed]

Kennedy Center production

A Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) production, presented as part of a summer-long presentation of Sondheim musicals, opened on May 17, 2002, for a 17-performance run. Directed by Sean Mathias, the cast included John Barrowman as Robert, Emily Skinner, Alice Ripley, and Lynn Redgrave.[47][48] The production used the book from the original Broadway production, not the 1995 revision.[47]

2006 Broadway revival

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.[49][50]

This production opened on Broadway on November 29, 2006, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.[51] The actors themselves provided the orchestral accompaniment.[50] For example, Esparza plays percussion, Walsh plays Orchestra Bells and percussion, and Heather Laws (Amy) plays French horn, trumpet and flute.[52] The production won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.[53][51] The musical closed on July 1, 2007, after 34 previews and 246 performances.[51]

It was taped[54] and broadcast on the Great Performances program of PBS in 2007.[53] That video was released on DVD in 2008.

2007 Australian production

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.[55] 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.[56]

2011 New York Philharmonic concert

In April 2011, Lonny Price directed a staged concert production,[57] 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.[58][59] The cast reunited on June 12, 2011, to perform "Side by Side by Side" on the 65th Tony Awards, hosted by Harris.[60]

A filmed presentation of the three-night concert production saw limited theatrical release on June 15, 2011,[61] with DVD and Blu-ray releases on November 13, 2012.[62]

2018 West End revival

A West End revival was staged at the Gielgud Theatre in previews from September 26, 2018, and 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.[63] The revival/remake featured changes to the genders of several characters.[64] 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.[65] Sondheim approved both changes and worked on revisions of the script with director Marianne Elliott.[66]

Company topped the list of the 2019 Olivier Award nominations, alongside Come From Away, with nine nominations, including Best Musical Revival.[67] The production closed on March 30, 2019.[68]

2021 Broadway revival

A Broadway transfer of the 2018 West End revival was originally slated to open March 22, 2020, coinciding with Sondheim's 90th birthday. The production began previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on March 2, but after nine preview performances, was suspended (along with all other Broadway shows) due to the coronavirus pandemic. No Broadway performances were scheduled from March 12 through April 12.[69] Theatre closures were subsequently extended,[70] first to September 6,[71] then to early 2021, and again through May 2021.[72] That month the production announced its return to Broadway on December 20, 2021, with an opening night scheduled for January 9, 2022.[73] In July 2021, it was announced that the production would resume performances a month earlier than previously announced, with previews set to begin on November 15, 2021 and an opening night set for December 9.[74]

LuPone reprises her role as Joanne, with Katrina Lenk as Bobbie;[75] the production is directed by Marianne Elliott, with choreography by Liam Steel, music supervision and direction by Joel Fram, scenic and costume designs by Bunny Christie, lighting design by Neil Austin, sound design by Ian Dickinson (for Autograph Sound), and illusions by Chris Fisher.[76]

International productions

  • 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]


The original Broadway cast album features Jones, because it had been recorded prior to Kert assuming the role of Bobby. However, when the cast traveled to London to reprise their roles, Columbia Records took Kert into the studio to record new vocal tracks, and had Jones' original vocals mixed out of the original backing tracks. 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.[86]

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.

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production awards

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1971 Drama Desk Award[87] 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[87] Susan Browning Won
Tony Award[87] 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 awards

Source: Internet Broadway database[42]

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 awards

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1996 Laurence Olivier Award[88] 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 awards

Source: Internet Broadway Database[89]

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

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2018 Evening Standard Theatre Award[90] Best Musical Nominated
Best Musical Performance Rosalie Craig Won
Best Director Marianne Elliott Won
Best Design Bunny Christie Nominated
Critics' Circle Theatre Award[91] Best Musical Won
Best Designer Bunny Christie Won
2019 Laurence Olivier Award[92] 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[93] Theatre Nominated

Film version

Sondheim once asked William Goldman whether he would be interested in writing a screenplay for a film version of the musical. Goldman responded:

Company is one of those great shows, along with Gypsy and Pal Joey, that I think of as the greatest, quintessential, most beloved musicals. I remember seeing Company five times and I loved it, and I had a huge... problem which was that the main character's obviously gay but they don't talk about it. Hal, George and Steve all claim it's about a straight guy with commitment problems. Anyway I loved the show. And I figured out a way to change it, keep the score, but give it some narrative.[94]

Herbert Ross was meant to direct but Goldman says the director talked Sondheim out of doing the film.[94]

In 2010, there was speculation that Neil LaBute would direct a film version.[95]


  1. ^ Kyle Dean Massey played the role in previews, 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 and the 2011 New York Philharmonic staging.
  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".



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Further reading

  • 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 links

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