By Jeff Walsh
Going into "Company," I had a lot of questions running around my head. Chief among them was: How can I be a theater queen and only now be seeing my first Sondheim show? When I looked in the Playbill, I was surprised how many of the show's musical numbers sounded familiar. Even though I hadn't been to a proper Sondheim production before, I've been to enough piano bars, cabarets, and Elaine Stritch one-woman shows to ensure more than half of the songs were known quantities.
The other pre-curtain pondering was about director John Doyle's staging, whereby there would be no orchestra (repeating the formula he recently used for his restaging of Sweeney Todd). The actors all play instruments onstage to accompany themselves and others during the songs. When I mentioned how this would be a strange hurdle to absorb, to a friend who isn't that fond of musicals, he said, "Oh yeah, unlike them all breaking into song randomly..." Point taken.