The witty, sophisticated, multi-Tony Award-winning musical Company makes a return to Richey Suncoast Theatre on Thursday, showcasing some of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim's best work — Marry Me a Little, The Ladies Who Lunch, Another Hundred People — and George Furth's cleverest dialogue. It played to large audiences when the theater produced it in 2000 and has already sold out the opening night performance.
Company is a series of vignettes set in late 1960s New York City and focuses on 35-year-old bachelor Robert (Rob Tilley, Trevor in Thoroughly Modern Millie), whose friends are throwing him a birthday party. They all seem determined to get him married, though none of them is exactly sure why.
Robert — Bobby to some, Bob, Rob, Robbie, Robbo to others — looks back on his encounters with five couples/friends and three girlfriends and also wonders why anyone would marry. Nobody seems any better or worse for it, or any happier than he is alone.
There are Sarah (Jennifer Vilardi, multi HAMI winner) and Harry (George Brazier, Bun Foo in Millie), who battle over nearly everything; Susan (Tracie Callahan, Charlie Award as Agnes Gooch in Mame) and Peter (Jim Wanker, Mr. Bumble in Oliver!), who seem to be the perfect couple, but are they? Then there are Jenny (Megan Gillespie, Molly in Unsinkable Molly Brown) and David (Keith Surplus, Zach in A Chorus Line), the most determined to get Bobby married; Amy (Jillian Rossi) and Paul (Patrick Moran, Perelli in Sweeney Todd at Stage West), who are getting married but also wonder why; and Joanne (Kathryn Comiciotto Tilley, Charlie Award for title role in Mame) and Larry (Chip Wichmanowski, Harold Hill in The Music Man), long-marrieds who drunkenly question their own lives and choices.
The girlfriends are April (Elizabeth S. Phillips, Sally in Cabaret), a dim bulb flight attendant; Kathy (Allison Iskowitz, Val in A Chorus Line), who doesn't really like the city; and Marta (Addie Mentry, Sheila in A Chorus Line), who loves the crowded, dirty, noisy Big Apple.
Each scene reveals something about Bobby and a lot about relationships. Is it all worth it? Or is a life of isolation better?
Because of the mature themes and fast pace, the show is recommended for grown-ups. The director is Peter Nason, the music director is Steven Schildbach and the choreographer is Linda Hougland.