Lifestyle"Company" revival performs at Kennedy Center until March 31

“Company” revival performs at Kennedy Center until March 31

Birthday observances can bring joy, reflection, or a desire for a total life reboot. “Company” brings all of that and more, and the Tony Award-winning musical is at the Kennedy Center for its final week.  

“Company” premiered on Broadway in 1970, with fun and introspective music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, one of the giants of American musical theater. 

The original premise of “Company” is with the lead character “Bobby” celebrating his 35th birthday with dear friends. A revival of this storyline came to Broadway on Dec. 9, 2021, when the script was flipped, and Bobbie became a female in this North American tour production, currently running in D.C.

Britney Coleman plays Bobbie, whose friends and family are concerned about who is keeping her company. As her character, Coleman is beautiful, upbeat, and curious, with a sparkling soprano voice. She navigates this Sondheim score with dynamic energy. Energy is a keyword because Coleman is in every scene of “Company.” Each scene analyzes what friends think about a non-coupled Bobbie on her 35th birthday.

“So many of our scenes are small themes on their own,” Coleman said in an interview with The Washington Informer. “When the music comes in a scene, it is a commentary on what happened.” 

Spot-On Performances 

Surrounding Bobbie on her birthday are an assortment of well-meaning folks. Katheryn Allison and James Earl Jones, II are Sarah and Harry, a married couple who have been together for a while. 

It felt like they were constantly analyzing their marriage but with a lot of humor. Javier Ignacio and Marina Kondo are Peter and Susan, a married couple discovering an exciting approach to reigniting their marriage.

Jhardon DiShon Milton and Matt Rodin play Paul and Jamie, who, on their wedding day, one of these guys has cold feet. 

Then there is Bobbie’s mother, Joanne, played by Judy McLane, and her current husband, Larry, played by Derrick Davis. Joanne has been married several times and is cynical about matrimony, but Larry adores her. 

Britney Coleman (left) star as Bobbie and Jacob Dickey as Andy in the North American tour of “Company,” playing at the Kennedy Center until March 31. (Courtesy of Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)
With such a crew around her, it is no wonder Bobbie may have reservations about coupling with someone. Throughout this tale, Bobbie considers her situation compared to her experiences with her company of friends and family.

When she takes up company with Andy, played by Jacob Dickey, a flight attendant, it feels like Bobbie’s standards are low or she has given in to the pressure of friends. 

Music Worth Hearing

This five-time Tony Award-winning revival has retained the big song performances those who know this musical have come to expect. 

There is high praise for the title song, “Company,” sung by the ensemble; “Ladies Who Lunch,” performed by Joanne, Bobbie’s mother; and the finale, “Being Alive,” where Bobbie is on stage alone, evaluating her thoughts.

“We call it the ‘void’ when Bobbie’s alone on stage. That’s the only moment she gets to breathe, think, and reflect,” said Colemen about her character. “You get to hear what she’s thinking.”

Sondheim died on Nov. 26, 2021, a few days before this revival opened on Broadway. In several interviews before the opening, he was excited about the direction of the musical’s new vision. That was a strong acknowledgment, as the original production of “Company” received 14 Tony nominations and won six.

“Company” continues its run until March 31. 

For ticket information, go to kennedy-center.org.

Source: Washington Informer

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