‘Company’ revival captures ‘being alive’ in modern NYC

Caryl Anne Francia, Business Editor

Following the death of playwright Stephen Sondheim, New Yorkers and theatergoers alike came together at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, where previews for the revival of his show “Company” were showing. Today, the musical comedy is still bringing audiences together with laughter after two years in the dark.

“Company” follows Bobby, a single but content male, as he celebrates his 35th birthday with his married friends and three girl friends. Originally premiered in 1970, the show has since been performed and revived around the world many times, introducing several standard show tunes including the songs, “Another Hundred People” and “Being Alive.”

The current Broadway revival transferred from a modernized and gender-bent 2018 West End production. Previews started March 2, 2021 but went dark with the rest of Broadway after nine shows due to the COVID-19pandemic. The show resumed previews last year on Nov. 15 and had its opening night on Dec. 9.

With a small but space-optimizing set design, the show’s neon lights — also a motif on its promotional materials found in Times Square — brings vibrant colors to this production.

Tony Award winner Katrina Lenk struts in a striking red jumpsuit as a Jack Daniels prone, gender-bent Bobbie.

Most of the married friends have their roles reversed, where the male partners act more inferior to their female partners, while Bobbie’s partners become male. The female character Amy, who is anxious to marry Paul, becomes the male character “Jamie.”

In addition to its comically anxious delivery by Jamie, “Not Getting Married” features a cast making the most out of the small set design, leaving the audience laughing at its absurd comedy and praising Jamie’s performer.

The sensual “Tick-Tock” dance number is re-imagined into an existential crisis before Bobbie’s eyes. While performed but sometimes omitted to showcase the dance skills of a cast member, this version comes with unexpectedly delightful humor.

Reprising her role from the 2011 New York Philharmonic concert and the West End production, Patti LuPone returns as Bobbie’s wise, thrice-divorced friend Joanne.

She delivers a more solemn delivery of her Joanne’s “The Ladies Who Lunch” in contrast with her lively 2011 performance. Also worth mentioning is the extravagant get-up she wears for the club scene she sings it in.

Even after over 50 years since the original production, the music and comedy still manage to hold up in this day in age.

While that could be attributed to the refreshed direction, it has to be the talent of the late Sondheim that has to be credited to making this show work. Not praised enough, the props in the show add to the physical comedy of this revival, from the friends’ gifts in the prologue to the party decorations throughout the show.

The show has been revived on Broadway four times, each in their own unique direction and audiences coming back again and again. For people who want to watch a comedic story about drunk single female empowerment against existential troubles unfold in two hours, this is the show to watch.