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BWW Review: COMPANY at Musical Theater Heritage

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Super production of groundbreaking Sondheim show

BWW Review: COMPANY at Musical Theater Heritage
Mandy Morris, Jessalyn Kincaid, and Morgan Walker in "Company"
Photo by Cory Weaver

Now through November 21, Musical Theater Heritage offers a super production of "Company," Stephen Sondheim's breakthrough 1970 musical. "Company" marks the first appearance of the indelible Sondheim musical voice we have heard so often since.

"Company" broke the Rogers / Hammerstein story-telling framework in exchange for a more character driven musical structure. Robert, portrayed expertly in this very good MTH production by Seth Golay, is a successful New York single, on the cusp of his thirty-fifth birthday. Robert is long term friends with five married couples and three women who are his occasional dates.

BWW Review: COMPANY at Musical Theater Heritage
Seth Golay as Robert in "Company"
Photo by Tim Scott

The working conceit of the show is a surprise, birthday party thrown by Robert's close "couple-friends." In their own ways, each couple is concerned Robert is lacking for "Company." Robert wonders if he is missing something or conversely if he is better off alone.

"Company" explores relationship dynamics through a score full of offbeat narrative musical compositions. Many have found their way into the American songbook without necessarily connecting to the source material.

As a reviewer, I've seen hundreds of musicals and am familiar with many of the songs, but this production is my first experience with "Company."

Director Tim Scott has assembled a top cast utilizing a simple production scheme. They include Nedra Dixon, Evan Gamsu, Kimberly Horner, Jessalyn Kincaid, Mandy Morris, T. Eric Morris, Mike Ott, Tyler Rowe, and Morgan Walker. These folks are all better than good; all are strong vocalists and fine actors. The trio of Jessalyn Kincaid, Morgan Walker, and Mandy Morris in particular are super. Morris is individually very funny as April, the less than Mensa-adjacent flight attendant.

Director Scott has previously shown a talent for deconstructing complex theater pieces and reassembling them on the small MTH stage in ways that work very well. This is a case where less is more. Ashley Personett adds just the proper amount of choreography. Lighting by Danny Lawrence, sound by Jon Robertson, and set designs by Mark A. Exline spice the remaining production elements appropriately.

MTH founder George Harter lends a helpful level of context with a program article. "Company"

BWW Review: COMPANY at Musical Theater Heritage
Nedra Dixon in "Company"
Photo by Cory Weaver

began life as eleven short vignettes by George Furth written originally for a single actress. It transformed into most of the musical you see today following a long dinner between Mary Rogers (who was then suffering through the end of her own second marriage) and her friend Stephen Sondheim busily taking notes. Sondheim was late thirties at the time, single, and unsure of where his life was heading.

"Company" won six out of fourteen nominated Antoinette Tony Awards in 1970.

Recognizable musical numbers include "The Little Things You Do Together," "You Could Drive A Person Crazy," "Another Hundred People," "Getting Married Today," "Side By Side By Side," "Ladies Who Lunch," and "Being Alive."

"Company" continues through November 21 at Musical Theater Heritage inside Crown Center. Tickets are available at Musical Theater Heritage at www.musicaltheaterheritage.com or by phone at 816-221-6987.


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