Film Review: Star-Studded Cast Makes For Good ‘Company’

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CHICAGO – Though I’ve often entertained the notion of attending an opera or sporting event at a local theater, I just can’t seem to bring myself to pay the admission. No filmed footage, however intimate and detailed, can truly capture the visceral energy of a live performance. No matter how close a camera can zoom in on the action, it still provides the worst seat in the house.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

That being said, my opinion may have been swayed by the New York Philharmonic’s superb revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical, “Company.” The concert production is not without its flaws, but there are more than enough highlights on hand to compensate. While some onstage portrayals don’t hold up on film due to their larger-than-life nuances, this show is chockfull of veteran TV actors whose work delivers the goods both in close-up and extreme long shot

StarRead Matt Fagerholm’s full review of “Company” in our reviews section.

With marquee names guaranteed to attract their respective fan bases, perhaps “Company” may succeed in its experimental bid to help make future Broadway shows more readily accessible to the mainstream. What’s curious is the choice of production. In 1970, Sondheim and book scribe George Furth originally conceived the play as a direct reflection of the upper middle-class audiences that often turn out for a high-priced evening of high-class theatre. Sondheim wanted to force viewers to confront the problems they were intending to escape, and still deliver two-and-a-half hours of pure entertainment. The resulting show may not have had as memorable a score as Sondheim’s superior classics, but it does contain his signature mixture of witty lyrics, barbed sarcasm, startling poignance and a healthy dose of ambiguity. The question is whether mainstream audiences will care about the existential hemming and hawing of the elite. I don’t see why not. Every convoluted relationship in “Company” is instantly relatable. I think the biggest hurdle facing this limited engagement run is the distance a lens makes between performers and audience members. A month-old recording simply can’t produce the same adrenaline rush as a live show, and I’ll admit that it took me a good half-hour to settle into the rhythms of this production, with its distracting array of celebrities accompanied by smiling members of the 35-piece orchestra residing onstage. But once I did, I was hooked.

‘Company’ stars Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Craig Bierko, Jon Cryer, Katie Finneran, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Lazar, Jill Paice, Martha Plimpton, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Lauren Thompson, Jim Walton, Chryssie Whitehead and Patti LuPone. It was written by George Furth and Stephen Sondheim and directed by Lonny Price. It opened June 15 in select theaters. It is not rated. For tickets and showtimes, visit www.companyonscreen.com.

StarContinue reading for Matt Fagerholm’s full “Company” review.

Martha Plimpton, Stephen Colbert and Neil Patrick Harris star in Lonny Price’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
Martha Plimpton, Stephen Colbert and Neil Patrick Harris star in Lonny Price’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
Photo credit: Chris Lee

GQB's picture

hurtle?

A turtle can’t hurtle, let alone get over a hurdle.

HollywoodChicago.com's picture

Corrected

<span class="caps">GQB</span> wrote:
A turtle can’t hurtle, let alone get over a hurdle.

Corrected. Thank you!

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