You know the one. Or maybe you don’t, because you’re very likely not as nutty as me, but it was the one with Neil Patrick Harris as Bobby and Christina Hendricks as April and Patti LuPone as Joanne and Stephen Colbert as Harry and Martha Plimpton as Sarah and Anika Noni Rose as Marta and Jon Cryer as David and Aaron Lazar as Paul and Jill Paice as Susan and Jennifer Laura Thompson as Jenny and Katie Finneran as Amy and Chryssie Whitehead as Kathy and Jim Walton as Larry?
Okay. I fully admit to hearing Neil Patrick Harris and Christina Hendricks and vowing to do whatever I had to to see the broadcast performance in theaters during its brief run last weekend, because his facial expressions make life and she is my favorite human being on the planet. Then during the Tonys, there was that preview number, and I said “oh hey! All sorts of other epic people!” I especially geeked for Aaron Lazar, once of The Light in the Piazza, because I adore his heavenly voice to pieces.
Company isn’t my favorite musical, necessarily. It’s very of its time, and that’s… not always a good thing. It can also get a teensy bit heavy-handed in the wrong hands, a bit too angst-ridden and frustrating. (Not that the angst isn’t great. Raul Esparza’s should-have-been-Tony-winning Bobby in the 2007 revival was glorious.) And I definitely have to be in a certain headspace for Sondheim.
But I was very not disappointed. Neil Patrick Harris’ Bobby was less >:O and more :3 and that was refreshing. Not better or worse, just different. Chryssie Whitehead can dance, damn girl. I mean, this is not surprising, as she is late of A Chorus Line (we missed her just barely when we saw the revival) but it was still well-highlighted. Considering she was the girlfriend that got the Dance Break! Anika Noni Rose, of Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog and other legit-er things, was good. I didn’t get much a sense of character out of her (she was the ~wacky~ one?) but she belted well.
Of the married women, my favorite was Katie Finneran’s Amy. She’s a two time Tony winner (for Noises Off and last year’s Promises Promises revival) but my favorite role of hers is as Nanny Maureen in You’ve Got Mail, just one of the reasons that I’m pretty sure after 2000 there were no lovable romantic comedies made. “Getting Married Today” is probably one of the hardest theatre songs to really sing, and she did it really, really well. (Counterpointed by Aaron Lazar’s glorious “todaaaay is for AAAAAAAAAMYYYYYYY”-ing.)
Patti LuPone was amusing. I sort of loathe the character of Joanne, and as always spent the entirety of “The Ladies Who Lunch” alternately remembering back in that not-that-great movie Camp when a young Anna Kendrick sang that song and wondering how in the hell Bobby and Joanne became close friends. But Patti did a good job. (Though we were in a movie theater, some people still felt compelled to applaud for La LuPone, which was funny.)
Stephen Colbert can actually sort of pull it off. Despite having a vaguely google-eyed O_o look on his face the entire time.
But most importantly, my girl Christina. Well, babygirl isn’t necessarily the strongest singer, though she was cute and clearly doing a “voice” (a cutesy voice really) and could hold her own, but she was dancing sharp and being adorable. April is probably my favorite character of the women anyway, just because she has a lot of funny moments. I love my girl Christina playing ditzy, I love her playing sexy, I love her playing serious-ish, I just love her. And was gratified by having yet one more reason to love her added to my list. (I’d been hoping this staging would be the one a la 2007 where the actors played instruments, if just because I love her accordion skills. Even if accordions are the most useless instrument ever, outside of European House Hunters.)
In short: I’m satisfied. It wasn’t the Best Ever, but it was very good.
–your fangirl heroine.