Quote of the Day: Don’t be afraid that it won’t be perfect. The only thing to be afraid of, really, is that it won’t be. from Company by the late, great Stephen Sondheim.
The Tony Awarding-winning revival of Company is on tour with a stop at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Nov. 14-19, 2023. This gorgeous musical about life, love, and what it means to be alive, has a fresh look with a gender swap of the main character Bobby to a female Bobbie. She is celebrating her 35th birthday, and her friends have comments on all that.
Britney Coleman is stunning in the lead role of Bobbie. She has a gorgeous, strong singing voice that fills the large Orpheum theater and raises the rafters. But, she doesn’t just belt and blare, she offers sweet notes, tremendous humor and heart to this iconic role. It’s fun seeing a woman playing this role. Sondheim originally wrote the role, in 1970, for a male, and all the couples were heterosexual. Modern technology and clothing styles aren’t the only updates, either. Now, the show depicts same sex and interracial couples, and people at all stages of marital bliss, or not.
Judy McLane is phenomenal as Joanne. She’s strikingly beautiful, brassy, and bold. She talks frankly to Bobbie and challenges her attitudes and actions. She’s a woman who has faced life’s challenges and grown stronger because of it. I loved her solo in “The Ladies Who Lunch.”
The show is told through vignettes of Bobbie interacting with her friends, memories and reflections, as she’s about to blow out the 35 candles on her birthday cake. She pops into the living space of various couples. Harry (James Earl Jones, II) and Sarah (Kathryn Allison), a middle-aged couple who have been together for several years, bring out the big laughs in their scene with Bobbie. Great physical comedy as well as singing. Susan (Marina Kondo) and Peter (Javier Ignacio) are teetering on the edge of a break-up, but seem somehow closer because of it. David (Will Blum) and Jenny (played by MN native Emma Stratton) are sort of careful with each other, like their romance is both new and fragile. And, Jamie (Matt Rodin) is freaking out on his wedding day, pushing his soon-to-be husband Paul (Ali Louis Bourzgui) away. Matt’s fast-paced freak-out song “Getting Married Today” brought the house down! This brilliantly staged scene is so full of movement, you don’t even know where to look!
The set, by Tony Award-winning scenic designer Bunny Christie, is large, movable pieces outlined in lights, creating a frame around each scene. The lights change to fit the mood and song. The sizes of the apartments vary, and the cast has to work with so many doors! The freak-out wedding day scene “Getting Married Today” is filled with surprises and cast members popping out of all sorts of places. The same is echoed in the bedroom scene during “Poor Baby.”
Tony Award-winning director Marianne Elliott brings out the heart and humor of this piece with an exceptional cast. Costumes by Bunny Christie. Music direction by Charlie Alterman with a fantastic live orchestra. Choreography by Liam Steel. Everything is absolutely stunning. Catch this show if you can!
The National Tour of Company is on stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Nov. 14-19, 2023. Visit Hennepin Theatre Trust website for tickets, or the Company National Tour for stops in a city near you.
You can hear an interview with Twin Cities Theater Bloggers and Emma Stratton who plays Jenny in the Company tour at Twin Cities Theater Chat.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: How did you celebrate your latest birthday, or a milestone birthday?