RISE AND SHINE BROADWAY FANS! It’s getting closer by the days to celebrating Broadway’s biggest night and the return of Live Theater. The 74th Annual Tony Awards is just 23 DAYS AWAY. We at New York Broadway Tours have more iconic performances coming up on our TOP 50 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN.
At # 23 on our countdown, we have a musical that truly celebrates romance and relationships in New York City. Mainly, we follow a 35 year old single person unable to commit to a full steady romance and learning from all the friends about the pros and cons about love. It’s best known as the original Sex and the City musical itself….. This is Company!!! The show features a notable score by Stephen Sondheim and a book by George Furth.
From the 2007 telecast, Tony nominee Raúl E. Esparza as “Bobby” in the 2006 Broadway revival performs one of the musical’s most legendary 11:00 numbers that has become a legendary standard in Musical Theater history….. BEING ALIVE.
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 the late 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”,
Tony winner 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 3 TIMES 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 and staged by Tony nominee and Oscar winner Rob Marshall, this revival consisted of….
Tony winner 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”,
Tony winner Veanne Cox as “Amy”,
Tony nominee Danny Burstein as “Paul”,
Tony winner Debra Monk as “Joanne”,
Timothy Landfield as “Larry”,
Tony winner LaChanze as “Marta”,
Tony nominee Charlotte d’Amboise as “Kathy”,
Tony winner Jane Krakowski as “April”.
It 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 2nd 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….
Tony nominee 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”,
Tony nominee (this year) 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 PBS’ Award winning Great Performances and is available today on DVD.
At the time prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, COMPANY had just returned to Broadway for its 3rd revival playing the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. This new production is a transfer of a critically acclaimed production that originally premiered in London’s West End that won multiple Olivier Awards. Conceived by Marianne Elliot, this new revival is a GENDER-SWAPPED production. Several notable characters have had their names rewritten, changed, and fully updated. It originally started previews on March 2nd, 2020 and was set to open on March 22nd, 2020 (Stephen Sondheim’s 90th Birthday). However, after only a week and a half of previews, the production was abruptly shutdown. This production is slated to return to Broadway this Fall. Previews will resume on November 15th, 2021 and will now officially open on December 9th, 2021. With Elliot’s direction, this cast is led by….
Tony winner Katrina Lenk as “Bobbi” (formerly the male lead role of “Bobby”),
Tony nominee Jennifer Simard as “Sarah”,
Tony nominee Christopher Sieber as “Harry”,
Rashidra Scott as “Susan”,
Broadway favorite Greg Hildreth as “Peter”,
Broadway veteran Nikki Renee Daniels as “Jenny”,
Tony nominee Christopher Fitzgerald as “David”,
Broadway favorite Matt Doyle as “Jamie” (formerly the featured female role of “Amy”),
Etai Benson as “Paul”,
Tony winning legend Patti LuPone as “Joanne”,
Terence Archie as “Larry”,
Bobby Conte Thornton as “P.J.” (formerly the featured female role of “Martha”.
T.B.D. performer will play Theo (formerly the featured female role of “Kathy”,
Broadway favorite Claybourne Elder as “Andy” (formerly the featured female role of “April”),
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”,
Patti LuPone (of the new revival) as “Joanne”,
Jim Walton as “Larry”,
Tony winner Anika Noni Rose as “Marta”,
Chryssie Whitehead as “Kathy”,
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 today has been a popular musical performed in schools, community, and regional theaters everywhere.