The title of a 1971 show by Stephen Sondheim
and George Furth
. This landmark in musical theater
delineated the beginning of the Sondheim/Prince collaboration that would last until 1982's Merrily We Roll Along
. The show itself is based on a conglomeration of short plays on marriage by Furth that Sondheim and Prince adapted into a musical.
Set in New York City, the plot, as it is, revolves around a typical bachelor named Bobby and his group of married friends. Seen through his discerning eyes, the show takes a non-romanticized look at the societal construct of marriage. Through the course of the show, Bobby observes the problems as well as the virtues of the people he knows and attempts to determine what the purpose of the whole ordeal ultimately is. Many of his friends seemed to have married simply for company- to have someone around. Others, out of pressure or inertia. Gradually he becomes more and more disillusioned until something happens which allows him to understand the true meaning of being alive.
Company was important for several reasons. Being the first musical told in a non-linear narrative style, it opened creative doors for future authors. Just as important were the unconventional views expressed in the show. Never before had a musical taken such an unglamorous look at this holy institution. The show garnered much criticism for its apparent pessimism, but, although it does not come easy, I feel the show is as life (and love) affirming as is possible in today's world.
Sondheim collaborated with George Furth (book) and Harold Prince (director) to create Company, the first of the Sondheim/Prince shows that were to lay the foundation for the post-Golden Age Broadway musicals. Company was the first non-linear, "concept," musical.
Set firmly in, and often about, New York, Company follows five married, once married, or soon to be married couples and their mutual friend, Robert, a 35 year old bachelor who has been unable to connect in a long-term relationship. The relationships are presented in a series of vignettes, primarily through Bobby's eyes, so that we see the less than ideal aspects of commitment. However, it is obvious to the audience that the committed are happy. Eventually, Bobby learns that while relationships aren't perfect, they are a necessary part of "Being Alive."
2. The Little Things You Do Together
4. You Could Drive a Person Crazy
5. Have I Got a Girl for You
6. Someone Is Waiting
7. Another Hundred People
8. Getting Married Today
9. Side by Side by Side
10. What Would We Do Without You?
11. Poor Baby
12. Tick Tock
14. The Ladies Who Lunch
15. Being Alive