Stephen Sondheim's 'Company', first performed in 1970, may well be the perfect musical for someone in their late 20s/30s, particularly those of us who are single. It is the best discovery I've made this year.
About 4 weeks ago I saw the DVD of the 2011 revival performance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which stars Neil Patrick Harris, (How I Met Your Mother) Stephen Colbert, (The Colbert Report) and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) amongst others and completely fell in love with it. In my current incarnation I can relate to every single minute
The plot is outlined below.
Originally titled Threes, its plot revolves around Bobby (a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage), the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, Company is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Bobby's 35th birthday.
It is not until the final song that Bobby comes to the conclusion that he sees the value in these relationships. ‘Being Alive’ is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, not only because Bobby comes to a fundamental conclusion through song, but it is because we have all come to the same conclusion at some point in our lives. ‘Alone is alone, not alive’ might be one of the few phrases that sums up the biological need for intimate comfort, connection and support.
Someone has been kind enough to upload the entire performance up on YouTube. Believe me it is well and truly worth 2.5 hours of your time. Like all great art, it captures a time in one’s life that is both personal and universal