The one that had a whole host of Broadway stars in? I and could watch in a cinema?
My friend sent me email, “Pete do you want to watch the Broadway production of Company with me on Sunday?” My initial thought was, my goodness he has won the lottery and we’re flying to New York. Then I wondered if it was on DVD… it isn’t, but when I heard it was at the cinema I nearly wet myself! My favourite Sondheim AND popcorn! Admittedly I was having a geek out over an MT show… and fortunately the cinema held several others who were beaming at the prospect of seeing a sold out limited, fully staged production of a show that only had four performances, in New York!
£15 is the cheapest plane ticket I’ve ever bought!
This production of Company was to be like no other, partly because of a great big 55 piece orchestra by the name of The New York Philharmonic, accompanying the cast… but the cast starred people such as Neil Patrick Harris, Jon Cryer, Christina Hendricks and wait for it… Patti LuPone.
We were in for a treat. And a treat it was. It would be easy to assume this production would be a simple stand and sing but this is far from the case. LuPone joining the cast in a kick line makes you realise how much of a gem this is! Director Lonny Price brings out the best of one of Sondheim’s best productions. A piece that is some 40 years old seems timeless as the audience were laughing loudly… I even found myself urging to applaud at the screen.
Neil Patrick Harris as the 35 year bachelor Bobby is
outstanding. A true MT performer Harris is just watchable for all the right
reason, and carries the journey of Bobby and more so ties the various couples
he meets in a perfect performance that climaxes with a stunning rendition of
Being Alive, the final line deserves the accolade the American audience are so
keen to give him.
There really is so many magical moments in this production, that really enforce the reason it is still regarded as a great piece of musical theatre. The pairings of each couple were fantastic and each pair worked so well within each other’s performance but also collectively. It is so unbelievably difficult to believe that the cast rehearsed separately in all different parts of the country and only brought it together on the day of the first performance, when the show’s production quality is flawless.
Katie Finneran has the tremendous task of tackling the character of Amy and delivering thee performance of “Not Getting Married Today” With greats such as Caroline Burnett performing this number they’re big shoes to fill, but Finneran makes it her own, winning the audience when marching up to conductor Paul Gemignani and promptly snapping his baton.
As more and more of the excited Sondheimites in the cinema started applauding the screen, it started to become harder to resist, opting for a polite few seconds of patter to acknowledge each point of applause. Then Patti Lupone “arrives” as Joanne and give the most extraordinary performance of “Ladies who lunch” promptly drowning the front row of the audience with her vodka stinger at the end of the performance… the audience went absolutely mental and took a good 4 minutes before the play could resume as the Lincoln Center exploded.
The opportunity to bring an exciting production to the masses was fantastic and a genuine buzz of excitement was encapsulated from the moment I entered the cinema foyer. I’ve never quite experienced it. The benefit of having my comfy cinema seat in London is that actually due the epic size of the theatre I was fortunate to have several camera angles, close ups, and frames of the entire cast that many in the audience would struggle to see.
However as amazing as the production was, the idea of actually being there would have been incredible with an electric atmosphere hailing a wonderful presentation with a truly one off cast.