The second North American tour – Company – premiered tonight at the Orpheum. Company’s music and lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production followed a male lead, Robert, who is celebrating his 35th birthday and his friends are all asking him when is he going to settle down. During the celebration there are images of Robert as he experiences different interactions amongst his friends, who are either married or engaged along with interactions with three women he is dating.
Company has run as a production since the 1970’s with several breaks over the years. In 2018 Company received a refresh with the lead now a woman, Bobbie; a same sex couple and three men as romantic options for Bobbie. The stage set was a unique design of mobile vignettes designed to be Bobbie’s apartment, bedroom, friends living quarters, etc. The second song in the first act “ Company” performed by Bobbie and The Company took place in her “apartment” a smaller square vignette. While the song was being preformed, members kept being added to the small set and continued to move and rotate around each other in rather clever choreography. I believe I counted 15 bodies in the small space at one time, which was quite the feat.
“Getting Married Today” also in the First Act, focuses on a same-sex couple on their wedding day. It is a clever performance featuring the entire cast as they are integrated in the stage set, popping out of corners totally unexpected. The audience appeared to enjoy the fun surprises, including someone walking out a refrigerator door.
Company has a long history of being performed over the past decades. With periods of time passing when it is dark on the stage. After this tour concludes, it might be good to shelve this production and let it shine in its glory days of the years gone past. The story line is thin, hard to follow and several of the characters lackluster. The cast is very talented, all with wonderful resumes of successful shows in the past. This production doesn’t allow them to fully show their talents. The scenes were just a bit too long and the songs a bit too dull. As the show concluded with Bobbie blowing out her final birthday candle, plunging the stage into darkness, the audience started a very fast exit the doors, as if they were grateful the show was done.
Company is at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through November 19, 2023. Tickets start at $40.
DEAL ALERT: Student/Educator Rush tickets are availble:
1. $30 cash only
2. 2 ticket limit per valid Student/Educator ID
3. Starts two hours prior to show in person at the Orpheum Theatre
4. Line forms outside the theatre
Review by Rachel Gorman; photo by Matthew Murphy