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NPH in Company

quitetheatrical23
Understudy
joined:1/30/10
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 02:57pm
I'm obviously very late to the party, but I just watched the Philharmonic version of Company which has long been one of my favorite musicals. And I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed by NPH and really felt he was woefully miscast. Raul Esparza knocked my socks off when I saw him in it and the cast recording of him singing Being Alive still gives me chills. But for some reason NPH really didn't do it for me (I normally like him a lot), he seemed too nice and too happy and not in enough of a state of crisis, I think I even caught him smiling in a bunch of places where it seemed wrong. Just curious if I'm the only one who thinks this (and maybe I'll get attacked), very curious to hear other people's thoughts.
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ShakinBaconGirl
Broadway Star
joined:3/25/14
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 02:58pm
I liked his acting but I have never cared for NPH as a singer. His voice just isn't very good.
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mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:00pm
The thing about NPH is that he is a huge celebrity so everyone would come and see him in the show and they would sell tickets. However, he cannot act or sing so watching him onstage is quite painful when everyone goes wild over him and he gives a miserable performance.
Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:03pm
...he can certainly act and sing.

I thought his Bobby was excellent.
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Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:04pm
Of course he can act and sing. He was great in Company, and equally great as Hedwig.
Dilettante
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:06pm
I saw the cinecast and thought Harris was fine. It seems clear that people who don't like him for whatever reason are just never going to like him. I don't know why they put themselves through performances by people they know they aren't going to like. Personally, I find my life is far too short to spend any of it watching anything with Tom Cruise, Patrick Wilson, or Hunter Parrish, to name just three of the most awful.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
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CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:06pm
I thought NPH was excellent as Bobby in the New York Philharmonic Concert staging of COMPANY.
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icecreambenjamin
Featured Actor
joined:6/7/14
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:21pm
NPH is good as Bobby but not great. I enjoy Raul far more. NPH is a good actor with a pretty good voice and was great as Hedwig but he's really nothing special.
The Other One
Featured Actor
joined:4/1/08
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:40pm
I think that "Company", in spite of its great score, is not a very good musical overall. I liked the original production when I was a kid, but the three subsequent productions I've seen, including NPH's on PBS, have been an endurance test. Its weak book thinks it's a lot more funny and clever than it actually is, although Doyle's strained efforts to vacuum every laugh from the piece was no solution to this problem.

Neil was good. I greatly preferred him to Raul, who sang "Being Alive" as though we owed him a coronation. I attribute that more to a misconceived production than to him.

I liked John Cunningham, who was Larry Kert's understudy, back in 1970 or '71, and I was glad to see Dean Jones reunite with his old castmates in Long Beach back in 1992 or '93. I think the show was tailored to its original cast and that it has never worked well without them because there isn't enough "there" there.

Updated On: 8/4/14 at 03:40 PM
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Borstalboy
Broadway Legend
joined:2/9/04
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:46pm
He was okay. He doesn't have a lot of vulnerability or heart as a performer.
"It's now rather very common to hear people say 'I'm rather offended by that'. As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. It has no meaning, no purpose. It has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that'. Well, so f**king what?"--Stephen Fry
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madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:51pm
The NY Phil production of Company exceeded the revival starring Esparza in every way, which is a remarkable achievement considering the limited rehearsal time the NY Phil cast had.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:51pm
I loved both Esparza's and Harris's very different Bobbies.
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 03:53pm
^ Me too.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
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Sally Durant Plummer
Featured Actor
joined:8/15/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 04:09pm
My thoughts on the latest revival was that I loved all of the cast members - except for the woman who played Joanne, and I hated the reduced orchestrations.
My thoughts on the concert was that I loved the gigantic orchestra, Miss LuPone, who gave a once in a lifetime performance as Joanne, and I really didn't care for any other cast member.
As for NPH, I've liked him in every Movie/TV Show I've seen him in, but I've never been impressed with him on stage. On stage, I've never gotten the sense that he can disappear into the role, it's always Neil Patrick Harris playing Bobby, or neil Patrick Harris in a wig and fishnets.
"I know what a show-stopping song is. I know what you get a Tony for. Neither of those songs were it. And Sheryl Lee Ralph didn't even get nominated. Even with the new material. You know as an artist when somebody's giving you material that will stop a show. Give me the material. I know how to stop a show." - Tonya Pinkins Blocked: mjohnson2
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FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 04:15pm
So this complaint is that he is basically a star. Like a Merman.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
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Sally Durant Plummer
Featured Actor
joined:8/15/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 05:06pm
Not at all. When Patti LuPone played Rose, she BECAME Rose. Just like Audra became Billie. They are both stars (to me, they are more recognizable than NPH, but their ability to disappear in a role is incredible), not to the extent if NPH, but they are still stars. I just don't think that NPH has the ability to disappear into a role - he just takes ona. Few different traits.
"I know what a show-stopping song is. I know what you get a Tony for. Neither of those songs were it. And Sheryl Lee Ralph didn't even get nominated. Even with the new material. You know as an artist when somebody's giving you material that will stop a show. Give me the material. I know how to stop a show." - Tonya Pinkins Blocked: mjohnson2
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Charley Kringas Inc
Stand-by
joined:8/12/11
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 06:09pm
NPH is the first Bobby I've seen who really made me understand the character. I loved the choice to stage it almost as if it were a sitcom episode, like Three's Company - fast, quick, funny - because that's how Bobby seemed to see his life. There would always be a next week, and it would always have a happy ending, until he's finally made to understand that that wasn't necessarily true. The contrast between the jovial zippiness and the harsher underpinnings of the scenes made Bobby's final epiphany really pop. Doyle's version was such a dreary, funereal affair I half expected Esparza to pull out a gun and off himself at the end.
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promisespromises2
Broadway Star
joined:5/23/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 06:25pm
I have to admit, I only watched it because LuPone and Finneran. BUT I didn't mind NPH. His smirk kind of annoys me, and I realized just how much I really hate the character of Bobby because of him, but like I said I didn't mind him. I don't really understand what everyone sees in him (I've never seen him live so that could be it) but I won't deny that he has talent and is obviously a very well-liked man outside of the business.
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 07:08pm
I can't really say that I think Patti ever has "become" a character other than Patti LuPone.
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Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 07:18pm
^ ^ Agree 1000%
Dilettante
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Sally Durant Plummer
Featured Actor
joined:8/15/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 07:35pm
Then we'll agree to disagree :)
"I know what a show-stopping song is. I know what you get a Tony for. Neither of those songs were it. And Sheryl Lee Ralph didn't even get nominated. Even with the new material. You know as an artist when somebody's giving you material that will stop a show. Give me the material. I know how to stop a show." - Tonya Pinkins Blocked: mjohnson2
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Sally Durant Plummer
Featured Actor
joined:8/15/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 07:43pm
I would take Raul as Bobby any day. His take was brilliant - and his Being Alive rivals Larry Kert in being definitive. Raul made Bobby an actual character - and that voice! When I watched NPH - I was nervous during every single song as it sounded as if he couldn't hit the top notes. It mad me very uncomfortable - especially since there is a version of all of Bobby's songs down a few keys that MTI gives out. His Being Alive felt very undeserved. I love the full orchestra though. Sometimes I just turn it on to the Club scene to watch LuPone do the Scene and "Ladies Who Lunch".
"I know what a show-stopping song is. I know what you get a Tony for. Neither of those songs were it. And Sheryl Lee Ralph didn't even get nominated. Even with the new material. You know as an artist when somebody's giving you material that will stop a show. Give me the material. I know how to stop a show." - Tonya Pinkins Blocked: mjohnson2
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ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 07:53pm
Elaine Stritch once said something like "there is always going to be a part of your personality in your portrayal of a character, and that's something that the audience wants." I am greatly paraphrasing, but she's 100% right. If LuPone's Rose was any less LuPone, people would have been furious. Patti is a classically trained actress, she's knows what she's doing. As much as I love her Rose, I was astounded by her 2005 Mrs. Lovett, she completely reinvented her interpretation of the role (and the role itself) and sang with nuance.

Updated On: 8/3/14 at 07:53 PM
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Sally Durant Plummer
Featured Actor
joined:8/15/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 07:59pm
He rendition of "Wait" made me fall in love with the song, which I had never fully appreciated until then. Her interpretation of the role is what makes me keep listening to the revival recording. But the Philharmonic recording is amazing too.
"I know what a show-stopping song is. I know what you get a Tony for. Neither of those songs were it. And Sheryl Lee Ralph didn't even get nominated. Even with the new material. You know as an artist when somebody's giving you material that will stop a show. Give me the material. I know how to stop a show." - Tonya Pinkins Blocked: mjohnson2
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 08:20pm
NPH is the first Bobby I've seen who really made me understand the character.

I didn't see Esparza, but I've seen countless productions of COMPANY (including original and national tour), and I'm with Charley and Kad on this one.

NPH's was the first Bobby I've ever seen who was likable enough to have so many friends. Leave your kids with Larry Kert? I don't think so. (I'm not suggesting Larry (whom I knew and liked very much) was some sort of child molester; he just wasn't the type you'd call for a babysitter.)

There's a big difference between making a marriage and being everybody's best pal. NPH's "Being Alive" was about choosing the former and leaving the latter behind.
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mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
NPH in Company
Posted: 8/3/14 at 08:36pm
We can disagree about this for days, but in reality Dean Jones was probably the best Robert by far, and the small snippets of his performance available are incredible.

Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
Updated On: 8/3/14 at 08:36 PM

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