Ah, My Dear Miss Trudy,
The incredibly thoughtful Miss Oxford (you remember her: high IQ, impressive bust, a gopher's overbite) presented You-Know-Who and me with ducats for Company as an anniversary gift. (Don't ask what anniversary, please!) Well, Y-K-W and I were not the only ones celebrating. George and Steve's little entertainment has turned twenty-five and Scott Ellis, et al. are marking the event with a new production at Roundabout.
Well, well, well... I have a dirty little secret to impart. (There are, of course, eight hundred and seventy-five billion little secrets, but I'm going to share the dirty little secret regarding Company.) Well, my dear, don't you and I have soaring memories of watching Dean and Elaine and Beth and Donna caper to the sophisticated rhythms of Steve's enormously inventive music? Did we not giggle and smile in awe at the nimbleness of lyrics, the quality of which had only been seen once or twice in all theatre HISTORY? Well, my dear, the dirty little secret is Company ain't so good! WHAT! BLASPHEMY! UNCLEAN UNCLEAN!
I'm sorry, but it's true. It was twenty-five years ago and it was fresh, exciting, insouciant, witty, fantastic. If only we had all stayed in 1970. (Actually, that is a terrible thought. I'm glad to say good-bye to Kent State and The Beverly Hillbillies - I didn't watch that often, but oh, that young Max Baer, Jr. I digress.) It is no longer 1970 and watching middle-aged people smoke maryjane for the first time isn't exactly the gut buster it seemed a quarter of a century ago. We all snarled at the churlishness of Company's Boston critic who said that the female characters were horrible, but at at least they had characters, which the men did not! The little bastard was right! Furth's wit - well, it isn't witty. And the show simply does not prove its thesis. The marriages portrayed within C's frame are utterly without merit. But I do not see - not in this production - what's so terrible about Bobby's life. The lyric in Side-By-Side-By-Side runs, "ONE'S IMPOSSIBLE, TWO IS GLOOMY..." Sorry, Mr. Furth, my regrets Mr. Sondheim, the way I see your people, you have that sentiment backwards.
Now the production... Pretty good. WHAT! BLASPHEMY! UNCLEAN UNCLEAN! It isn't Hal and Michael's production, Lord knows. I miss Boris's spectacular set. I miss the fuller sound of Jonathan's full orchestrations (a pit-band, worthy in size of a mid-range Bar Mitzvah band assays the charts.) Still, it is cleanly done. There are nice directorial jokes. "Tick Tock" is fun. And, best of all, there are lovely performances. (If you can slip into NYC without being detained by the... authorities, you will see some nice acting. I like nice acting, don't you?) The women are great, and the men do the best they can with poor material. I love Miss Monk. I love Veanne Cox. I enjoy La Chanze.
AND THE SCORE IS JUST SO DAMNED GOOD! Sigh...
SURPRISE! They added "Marry Me A Little" to the end of Act One. They should subtract it.
Am I glad they put Company on display again? I'm ambivalent. I remembered the original with such a special feeling that I am rather sad to see the material's faults. Oh, well, theatrically-inclined children should see it for historical reasons. Bad Company is better than no Company at all. (This is only true of the show - not guests. God knows it's not true of guests.)
It's martini time and Y-K-H needs to take his walk.
Love and sandy kisses to you...
(Any day now NYC will be as dry as your back yard. It's so scary.)
Love and other things...