"Isn't COMPANY dated?” is a question I heard frequently while preparing for this production. My answer? Absolutely not. In our Tinder, Grindr, Bumble society, a musical about why anyone would want to be in a committed relationship is more relevant than ever.
When it first appeared in 1970, COMPANY unsettled audiences and critics. While successful, it was one of the first “concept musicals”, derived from a series of one-act plays written by George Furth. Most of the plays concerned two people in a relationship, joined by various outsiders. At the suggestion of Hal Prince, Furth and Sondheim turned the scenes into a musical with a single outsider, named Robert, at the center. COMPANY does not have a traditional "book”, because it does not have a linear plot. While COMPANY does not have a plot, it does have a story; it is the story of what happens inside Robert, and inside us all.
COMPANY is no more about the 1970's than ROMEO AND JULIET is about Renaissance Italy. COMPANY explores the ridiculous lengths humans go to achieve partnership, that special bond (whether in or out of wedlock) even when it is uncomfortable and inconvenient. “Is this worth it?” and “What do you get?” is a question that we grapple with and justify in our relationships every single day. COMPANY asks if without that bond; is being alone, being alive?