WHAT’S GOING ON, BROADWAY FANS?! You are waking up to NEW YORK BROADWAY TOURS TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN as we present some of the best performances from the past telecasts leading up to June 9th, 2019. Can you believe we are only 20 DAYS AWAY till Broadway’s biggest night of the year…. The 73rd Annual Tony Awards?! Here comes another showstopper!!
At #20 on our countdown, our selection today is another all time classic. This show explores the life of a just turned 35 year old single man (who is unable to commit to a full steady romance) as learns from all his friends (who are all in relationships and married) about the pros and cons about love. We are talking about the original Sex & The City themed musical itself…. COMPANY!! The show features a score by the legendary Stephen Sondheim and a book by George Furth. It was well known as one of the first few major musicals out there dealing with adult themes.
From the 2011 telecast, Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris as that 35 year old single man known as “Bobby” and the cast of that year's acclaimed New York Philharmonic concert production reunited for one night only to perform the classic SIDE BY SIDE.
COMPANY was originally conceived as a one person play called THREES by George Furth for the late actress Kim Stanley. Furth asked some of his peers to read the script to share their thoughts about the play. One of those peers was director Anthony Perkins before passing it onto composer Stephen Sondheim and then to director Hal Prince. After Prince finished reading it, he thought it be a great idea as a musical before asking Sondheim to write the score. Prince went on to direct the production.
COMPANY originally had its world premiere out of town tryout in Boston in the late 60’s earning mixed reviews.
It arrived on Broadway in the Spring of 1970 playing the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre) for a total of 712 performances. Under the direction of Hal Prince and choreography by the late Michael Bennett, the original cast consisted of….
Dean Jones (Larry Kert right after the Opening) as “Bobby”,
Barbara Barrie as “Sarah”
Charles Kimbrough as “Harry”,
Merle Louise as “Susan”,
John Cunningham as “Peter”,
Teri Ralston as“Jenny”,
George Coe as “David”,
Beth Howland as“Amy”,
Steve Elmer as “Paul”,
The late Elaine Stritch as “Joanne”,
Charles Braswell as “Larry”,
Susan Browning as “April”,
Pamela Myers as “Marta”,
and Donna McKechnie as “Kathy”.
The original production was nominated for a record breaking (at the time) 14 Tony Awards in 1971. It won 6 including Best Musical, Best Score (for Stephen Sondheim), and Best Direction of a Musical (for Hal Prince).
In addition during the original Broadway run of COMPANY, acclaimed filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker made a documentary about the making of the show’s original cast album. Entitled ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY, it features the entire cast spending over the exhausting 14 hours at Columbia Records’ Big Church Recording Studio. You can hear the cast as the mic performing BEING ALIVE, ANOTHER HUNDRED PEOPLE, GETTING MARRIED TODAY, and a one take recording of a tired Elaine Stritch performing the song she made famous in the musical THE LADIES WHO LUNCH, It also features interviews with Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, and members of the cast.
The show went on to become a worldwide hit in London’s West End (TWICE) , Australia, and more. The show was later revived twice on Broadway.
The first revival of COMPANY was produced by Roundabout Theatre Company in 1995. It played the Criterion Center Stage Right for a total of 111 performances. Under the direction of Scott Ellis (a Tony nominee again this year) and staged by Tony nominee and Oscar winner Rob Marshall, this revival consisted of….
Boyd Gaines as “Bobby”,
Tony nominee Kate Burton as “Sarah”,
Robert Westenberg as “Harry”,
Patricia Ben Peterson as “Susan”,
Jonathan Dokuchitz as “Peter”,
Diana Canova as “Jenny”,
John Hillner as “David”,
Veanne Cox as “Amy”,
Tony nominee Danny Burnstein as “Paul”,
Tony winner Debra Monk as “Joanne”,
Timothy Landfield as “Larry”,
Tony winner LaChanze as “Marta”,
Tony nominee Charlotte d'Amboise as “Kathy”,
and Tony winner Jane Krakowski as “April”.
This revival was nominated for 2 Tony Awards in 1996 for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (for Veanne Cox). However, it lost both categories.
The most recent Broadway revival of COMPANY happened in 2006. Following a successful run at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the production went on to play Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre for a total of 280 performances. The production was well known for being very intimate with no pit. The actors in the production also doubled up as the orchestra (playing multiple instruments live). Under the direction of Tony winner John Doyle, this quadruple threat cast from that recent Broadway revival included….
Raúl E. Esparza as “Bobby”,
Kristin Huffman as “Sarah,
Keith Buterbaugh as “Harry,
Amy Justman as “Susan”,
Matt Castle as “Peter”,
Leena Rideout as “Jenny”,
Fred Rose as “David”,
Heather Laws as “Amy”,
Robert Cunningham as “Paul”,
Tony nominee Barbara Walsh as “Joanne”,
Bruce Sabath as “Larry”,
Angel Desai as “Marta”,
Kelly Jeane Grant as “Kathy”,
and Elizabeth Stanley as “April”.
That most recent revival of COMPANY was nominated for 3 Tony Awards in 2007 winning only 1 for Best Revival of a Musical.
Towards the end of the run, the production was captured on film from the stage of the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, It was aired on Great Performances l PBS and was released (still available today) on DVD.
In addition to its success on Broadway, another well successful production happened in 2011. The production was a semi-staged concert production accompanied by the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. Under the direction of Tony nominee Lonny Price, it featured a full all star cast consisting of…
Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris as “Bobby”,
Martha Plimpton as “Sarah”,
Stephen Colbert as “Harry”,
Jill Paice as “Susan”,
Tony nominee Craig Berko as “Peter”,
Tony nominee Jennifer Laura Thompson as “Jenny”,
Jon Cryer as “David”,
Tony winner Katie Finneran as “Amy”,
Aaron Lazar as “Paul”,
2 time Tony winner Patti LuPone as “Joanne”,
Jim Walton as “Larry”,
Tony winner Anika Noni Rose as “Marta”,
Chryssie Whitehead as “Kathy”,
and Christina Hendricks as “April”.
The concert was captured on film and was played in selected Movie Theatres in June 2011. It was released on DVD in the Fall of 2012 plus was also seen on PBS.
COMPANY is still in talks of soon making its way back to Broadway. This new production rumored to hit New York is based on the recently acclaimed production in London's West End with a twist. For Company West End, several roles including "Bobby" has been gender swapped now being known as "Bobbi". Under the direction of Marianne Elliott, it's expecting to feature several of its London stars including Rosalie Craig as "Bobbi" and Patti LuPone (from the 2011 concert) reprising the role of “Joanne” which she just received an Olivier Award for her performance. Fingers crossed.
COMPANY continues to be a legendary musical with productions playing in colleges, community, and regional theaters worldwide.
How romantic, funny, and dramatic is this Sondheim classic?!!