Keeping Company With “Company”

“Company,” which I saw over the weekend in a semi-staged concert production of the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, had the same serious drawback that all productions of “Company,” good or bad, do: you can’t get the songs out of your head. After I saw it, I woke up in the middle of the night with “Another Hundred People,” as sung by Anika Noni Rose, on the brain. The rest of the cast in this enjoyable evening directed by Lonny Price were up to Rose’s level. Or, I should say: the women were: Martha Plimpton was in spectacular form: she’ll be a natural for Joanne one day. You know, Joanne, the much-married, vodka stinger-loving character who in this production was done by Patti LuPone (pictured), who drew the night’s biggest ovation for her rendition of “Ladies Who Lunch.” The men were less shiny. Neil Patrick Harris was smart casting for the lead role of Bobby. (He, like the “Two and a Half Men” exile Jon Cryer, helped this concert draw more than a Sondheimy audience). Harris doesn’t have quite the voice to deliver the climactic “Being Alive.” But his intention to play Bobby well was there. It was a treat to hear the score played by the Philharmonic instead of a much-reduced Broadway pit band. One last thing: the way that “Marry Me A Little” sneaks up on you from “Bobby Come On Over For Dinner” is so astoundingly beautiful that my jaw, as always, dropped.

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