By Alicia Fine
November 13, 2015
Long before Hamilton was revolutionizing Broadway, Stephen Sondheim’sCompany was changing conventions about what a musical could be. The show revolves around single Bobby, and the five married couples that he calls his best friends. In 1970 the show premiered on the Great White Way, presenting a modern take on adult relationships that was less plot driven and more character driven. 45 years later, NYU’s Tisch New Theatre group broughtCompany to a new generation of theatergoers this past weekend.
The sold-out run was staged in The Grand Hall, an event room attached to the Kimmel Center. Though not a designated theater space, the room was transformed with a simple tiered stage and intimate, candlelit tables for the audience. The venue allowed for some particularly striking production elements: at the start of the show the window curtains were ceremoniously raised revealing the gorgeous Manhattan skyline, a far better backdrop than any artist could have rendered.
The performances were commendable and believable, despite the characters being a decade or more older than the average college student. A few quips about age made by older couple, Joanne and Larry, lost some of their comedic nature with a cast made up of people of the same age, but any issues were easily made up for by the commitment of the actors. Ashley Coia’s rendition of “The Ladies Who Lunch,” one of the most beloved and well-known songs of the show, was a standout.
Another particularly notable performance was Olivia Wendel’s portrayal of the lovably neurotic bride, Amy. The difficult “Getting Married Today” was attacked at breakneck speed, and she nailed it. Bobby’s flight attendant girlfriend was also perfectly cast. Caroline Keegan brought April to life with just the right balance of ditziness and strength. In fact, the whole cast deserves a nod for their embodiment of their characters. Each one had a distinct personality, which was particularly apparent during the impressively staged group numbers, like “Side by Side by Side.”