Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Back in the summer I saw Company that had been filmed in concert version and shown in select movie theaters. It quickly became I favorite of mine after I ordered the book and another filmed stage version from the mid-90s. Most people would think that my love of Company would be fact that it is set in Manhattan. While that's part of it, I love that Company is a hard, REAL look at relationships, marriage, and being single in a world centered around relationships.

The Circle Players in Nashville are currently running Company at the Keeton Theatre. I'd never seen a production by the Circle Players, but I wasn't disappointed.

Robert, played by Mike Baum, is a single man turning 35 years old that is surrounded by friends who are couples. They all want to know why he's alone, but each couple has their own issues to deal with. Sarah and Harry, played by Rebekah Durham and Geoff Davin, continuously disagree on pretty much everything. When Robert asks Harry if he's sorry he got married, Harry sings the song "Sorry-Grateful" which is as every bit the contradiction that it sounds like.

Southerner Susan and husband Peter, played by real-life married couple Lynda Cameron Bayer and David Bayer, seem to be the perfect couple until the abruptly announce to Robert that they are getting a divorce. While Jenny and David, played by Lindsay Hess and Russell Qualls, offer lots of laughs as they, along with Robert, smoke some marijuana.

By far, however, the most hilarious scene of the show is with Amy and Paul in their apartment on the morning of their wedding. Paul, played by Scott Rice, is thrilled that he's marrying the love of his life Amy, played by Megan Murphy Chambers. Amy, however, is terrified. To say that cold feet have set in is a slight understatement. Amy sings "Getting Married Today" about how she's NOT getting married and all the reasons why we should go home as to not be disappointed when she doesn't get married. This song takes a true talent to pull it off. Megan Murphy Chambers was incredible. She did stressed and crazy in a hilariously convincing way. And while I don't like to compare actors, I've seen two-time Tony Award winner Katie Finneran play this role, and I think Chambers could play on the same stage, easily.

Robert's trio of girlfriends, Marta, Kathy, and April show the single side of life. Quirky Marta, played by Erica Haines, has one of my favorite monologues ever, that discusses New York and the center of the universe (14th Street, if you're interested). Kathy, played by Stacie Riggs, is a former girlfriend of Robert's, and is leaving New York to move back to her hometown. Kathy is the woman who marries because she's ready to marry, not necessarily because she's in love. And then there's ditsy flight attendant, April, played by Melodie Madden Adams. April gives "air head" a whole new meaning. Adams does a great job portraying the sweet, but simple character who ends up being a prime example of a one night stand gone wrong.

Perhaps one of the best roles of the show is that of Joanne. In this production of Company, Debbie Kraski conquered the role with grandeur. The cougar working on her third husband, Larry (played by Daron Bruce) has two of the best songs in the show. "The Little Things You Do Together" at the beginning of the show, and "The Ladies Who Lunch" toward the end. Joanne is crass, blunt, and downright lovable because of her honesty.

Overall, this show was great. I loved the set design, and the talent in the show was fantastic. I do think there were some sound issues during part of the songs, as it seemed like there were times that I couldn't make out certain characters' lines when there were several singing at the same time.

One thing that did kind of throw me off was the time frame for the show. The setting is "Now" for this show. However the original production was on Broadway in 1970. Though the book states "Now" for the setting, some of the phrasing of the characters makes you realize they aren't living in 2012, so the cell phones didn't really fit in my head. Also, the choreography of some of the dance numbers seemed more to fit in with the seventies time frame. I'm not sure that if I didn't know the show that I would have noticed those things, however, so it wasn't a huge deal.

If you have a chance to go see Company at the Keeton Theater, I'd recommend it. Tickets are reasonably priced and you get a great show. Company is running through January 22nd.

1 comment:

  1. Company is probably my favorite show of all time. For sure in the top 5. And (pardon the strange comparison) is a lot like soy milk. Soy milk is delicious, but many people pour their first glass of soy and expect it to taste like MILK...and are disappointed. COMPANY is not a traditional stage show. The plot is incredibly non-linear, and too frequently people say that they didn't "get it" or that it was confusing. You have to walk into COMPANY with an open mind and no preconcived vision of what a musical should FEEL like.

    And you're right, the show takes place NOW, but the music has a bumpy How-To-Succeed sort of vibe that dates it.

    What I really love about this show is that it's about you. And me. While I love the HECK out of a huge Blow-Gabriel-Blow musical number with 100 people on the SS American, I don't live there. Company, however, is set where I live. And it's about my life and my friends.

    Good review! Wish I lived closer so we could enjoy some theater together!