Friday, November 17, 2006

A night with Stevie

"Is that your father?" (pointing to a framed portrait of Stephen Sondheim) --Memorable line from an otherwise forgettable film about theater nerds (2003's Camp)

Saw Company tonight at the Barrymore. My fourth official on-Broadway viewing of a Sondheim. Not as powerful as seeing Sweeney Todd last year, but definitely a close second in terms of overall thespian-induced smiles. Like a lot of his work, it's a revue at heart, a combination of amazing songs on a common theme. I was pretty familiar with all the music, having listened to the soundtrack from the '95 revival with Veanne Cox in the role of Amy ("Not Getting Married Today") -- for whatever reason it's her I remember from the cast, maybe because she was in You've Got Mail and I've since seen her live, in The Wooden Breeks. The production is a first cousin to John Doyle's Sweeney in that the actors double as the musicians, carrying around various instruments, alternating between playing and singing. Once again, they do a good job of blending into the action, and it rarely feels forced. There are even some neat flourishes where the instruments are written to hit the grace notes normally reserved for the voices (like the trio of saxophones played by Robert's love interests in "Drive a Person Crazy"). And there's some fun choreography during "Side by Side by Side" where Robert -- played by Raul Esparza, who has a really great voice and cool stage presence, I now know -- appears to be drunkenly presiding over a marching band and then a carillon made up of his married friends. In terms of costumes, I really enjoyed Amy's black wedding dress, which works both as a comment on her character's marquee song and also blends in wonderfully with the style of clothes (variations on black) worn by the rest of the cast. There didn't seem to be any overt attempt to update the 1970 musical and at the same time no overt attempt to cover up its original references, unless I'm missing something, having never seen a staged production before. So much about love, marriage and New York hasn't really changed all that much in the past 36 years. And the comment about "Doesn't anybody smoke anymore?" still seems apt and funny. Definitely worth seeing as a New Yorker and/or Sondheim fan.


Sarah said...

Interestingly, as both a New Yorker and a Sondheim fan. I didn't care for the production at all. And I love Company.

But that line from 'Camp' is funny.

Jeremy said...

You should write up why you didn't like it! When'd you see it?