Thursday, June 23, 2011

Company at the Movie Theater

Back in the fall buzz got started online of a four day revival of Sondheim's Company at the New York Philharmonic. Almost immediately the announced the lead would be played by Neil Patrick Harris. Later, more of the star-studded cast was announced. This cast would make a Hollywood buff want to head straight to New York, but made a Broadway lover, like myself, excited just as much. With stage veterans like Patti LuPone, Aaron Lazar, and Katie Finneran along side of Hollywood big-names like NPH, Jon Cryer, Stephen Colbert, and Martha Plimpton, I would have loved to have been close enough to New York to have seen this show. It took place in April of this year. Of course, I wasn't there (curses!).

But, it seems that more and more Broadway productions are realizing that not everyone can make it to New York. Just a couple of months ago it was announced that the production had been filmed and would be shown in movie theaters. Other shows like Memphis and The Importance of Being Earnest have done this as well. Both of those productions I missed because the showings are at so few theaters (and I live in the middle of nowhere).

I got lucky with Company. It showed at a theater only an hour from my house. My friend and I went, and coughed up the $18 to see it (waaayyy more than your standard movie ticket, but whatever). I'm glad I did it though. I had never seen a production of Company before and I loved it! I laughed almost all the way through and was amazed at the singing and dancing skills of some of the Hollywood actors. I mean, who knew Stephen Colbert could sing & dance?? Or Jon Cryer for that matter. Not me.

Robert, played by Neil Patrick Harris, is 35 and lives in New York. He's surrounded himself with friends that are all couples, while he himself is still single. The entire show is about his interaction with the couples and showcasing both the bad and good parts of marriage.

I was blessed enough to see Katie Finneran in her Tony Award winning performance in Promises, Promises last year. She stole the show in the performance and did a darn good job in her role in Company as well. It was great to see her again. Like always, she made me laugh more than I can imagine, especially during her number "Getting Married Today" where she sings about her reluctance to get married to long time boyfriend Paul (played by Aaron Lazar).

Martha Plimpton (formerly of The Goonies and more recently of Raising Hope on Fox) and Stephen Colbert played a couple of which one is on a diet and the other "on the wagon" when it comes to drinking. Of course, Bobby comes over hilarity ensues when both Plimpton and Colbert's characters fall off their perspective wagons and end up in a pseudo-karate match (since Plimpton's character is studying karate). It's obvious to Bobby that this couple drives each other crazy.

Perhaps the biggest laugh was a scene in which Robert visits with Jenny (played wonderfully by Jennifer Laura Thompson) and David (Jon Cryer...need I say more) and they all smoke pot together. Seeing the relationship between David and Jenny was interesting, even through the laughs.

Patti LuPone's presences as Joanne in this show was so fun. I loved the character of Joanne and I loved the two big songs that LuPone got to sing, "The Little Things You Do Together" and "The Ladies Who Lunch." Someday I hope to actually see her on Broadway.

Robert's random three girlfriends, Marta, Kathy, and April made for some good laughs. April (played by Christina Hendricks) the airhead stewardess made for some great laughs and one liners. Marta (played by Anika Noni Rose) had some fantastic monologues, including one about New York that I WILL find and memorize some day.

The original showings were supposed to be for 4 days between June 15th and June 21st. Of course, it's past that time, so typically it wouldn't have done anyone any good to read my thoughts on the show. But "due to popular demand" it extended for dates from June 23rd thru June 26th. Sadly, it's no longer at a theatre close to me. But someone else might have the chance to go see it. I encourage you to do so. You can find theaters where it is showing listed HERE.

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