Updated: Mar 13, 2022
A night with good company
I’ll admit, I knew very little about Company before purchasing my ticket. What I knew was what all New Yorkers could see in newspaper headlines – delayed opening due to COVID-19, star-studded cast with Patti LuPone, and perhaps most tragically, the show opened on November 15, 2021, with Stephen Sondheim himself in attendance just 11 days before his death.
The show was also receiving buzz for the gender swap of the main character. In the original production, the story follows Robert, a 35-year-old single man living in New York. In the return, Bobbie is a single 35-year-old woman. Both share major concerns about marriage and commitment, despite the fact that most of their friends are in seemingly perfect, long-term relationships.
It was this gender swap that piqued my interest the most. As a society, we are often wrangling with celebrated cultural moments from the past that don’t age well in today’s society that celebrates visibility and opportunity for marginalized communities. To see that a classic Broadway show was willing to make changes to appeal to today’s audience was exciting to me. Sondheim himself addressed this in a 2021 interview with the New York Times: “What keeps theater alive is the chance to always do it differently, with not only fresh casts, but fresh viewpoints. It's not just a matter of changing pronouns, but attitudes.”
I was excited to be mask-up in the crowded theater, full from a huge pasta dinner at Carmine’s, to take in the show. I was stunned by the fast-paced set changes, the dazzling lights, and the funny characters. The fact that I saw parts of myself – a single 27-year-old woman living in New York City – was just icing on the cake. The play is fun, colorful and energetic, capturing the beat of New York City, where you can hang out with friends, go on fun dates and seemingly never really be bored. But evidently that comes with a dark side where that lack of boredom can serve as an incredible distraction, reminding us that at times we must deliberately stop and really think about what we want in life, or the time will just pass us by. In Bobbie’s case, she discovers that what she really wants is to find a long-term partner to enjoy “being alive” with.
Overall the show was both entertaining, thought-provoking, and made for a perfect NYC night with good food, theater and company.