CT's fresh take on a Sondheim classic is just what everyone needs
A Review by Anthony Tagliaferro
Five couples, three girlfriends, and a man searching for purpose, George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s Company is a contemporary musical that delves into the underbelly of marriage, divorce and dating. Though it may be obscure to most, this musical comedy was a groundbreaking hit in 1970, setting the bar with 14 Tony Award nominations; winning six of those awards. Company is a vast undertaking of conceptual theatre, comprised of several vignettes all exposing the raw and unadulterated life as told through the perspective of Robert, a single man living in New York on his 35th birthday.
Director Matt Kurzyniec along with Set Designer Rhett Wolford, Lighting Designer Matthew Georgeson and Music Director Mason Griffin honor the late Soundheim with a vibrant revival of this masterwork with a 2022 twist of modern technology. Wolford’s skill set in lighting and projection lend a contemporary perspective to the minimalistic set from the 1970 production, but maintains the aesthetic of focusing on the story, rather than bulky and over-propped set design. Company shattered the stereotypes of modern theatre in 1970 with invigorating perspectives on dating, divorce, sexual curiosity, and marriage. All of these ingeniously developed vignettes transpose beautifully in this local production.
Juan Danner (Robert) filters in and out of the lives of his closest friends searching for companionship, as well as personal freedom, and he executes it expertly. The stand out performances of Cara Chumbley (Amy), Adam Marino (Paul), Samantha Kennedy (Sarah) and Rhett Wolford (Harry) dish out a fresh and hilarious perspective of marriage from opposite ends of the spectrum. The laugh-out-loud performances by Liz Weber (Joanne) and Shawn Cox (Larry) break up the tension one feels when observing real-life scenarios brought to the stage.
If you are not familiar with this production, the modernization of the performance to include text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and Tinder lends to the skillful writing of the original work. As an admirer of the original work, I found the modernization puzzling at first, but settled into the dynamic quickly solely on the fact that the cast and crew execute this production with grace and effortless talent.
The Cumberland Theatre’s production of Company is exactly what the theatre community needs to start off the spring/summer season in this area; a fresh and inviting glimpse into the lives of individuals just like you and I.
Company will run at the Cumberland Theatre May 12th - May 22nd 2022. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased at www.cumberlandtheatre.com