If there's one live musical show you cannot miss on the big screen, it's the screening of Stephen Sondheim's sensational musical drama, Company. Staged by the world-famous New York Philharmonic, Company was recorded live from the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center, New York in 2011 and is now screening in cinemas outside the US for the first time, and in SA exclusively at Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau Theatres on 28 and 30 June and 1 July only, so make sure not to miss it, no matter what.
A brilliant musical
Originally titled Three, Company's plot revolves around Robert (Neil Patrick Harris), a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage. Throw five married couples, who are also his best friends, and his three girlfriends into the mix and you have a brilliant musical about a born-and-bred bachelor facing a turning point in his life.
Presented as a series of short vignettes linked by a celebration for Robert's 35th birthday, songs include Being Alive, Side By Side, The Ladies Who Lunch, Getting Married Today, and Company.
Superb performances abound by an ensemble comprising: Craig Bierko, Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer (Two And A Half Men), Katie Finneran, Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Aaron Lazar, Patti LuPone, Jill Paice, Martha Plimpton, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jim Walton and Chryssie Whitehead.
Wait until you see these performers in action, you will definitely want to see it again. We might know performers like Neil Patrick Harris from a sitcom, but experiencing him singing Being Alive is unbelievable.
Equally powerful is Patti LuPone's rendition of the stunning The Ladies Who Lunch. Her performance is so magnificent that the performers on stage have to wait patiently until the audience quietens down and releases them from their warm applause.
Sondheim's Company was first staged in the 1970s, when it was nominated for 14 Tonys, winning Best Musical, Book For Musical, Original Score, Lyrics, Set Design and Direction Of A Musical. It is based on a book by George Furth, with music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim and originally produced and directed by Harold Prince.
Company was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. As Sondheim put it: "Company does deal with upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. Broadway theatre has been for many years supported by those people. They really want to escape, and here we're saying we'll bring it right back in their faces ... what they came to a musical to avoid, they suddenly find facing them on the stage."
Company has everything you could ask for and more in first-rate entertainment: it is hilarious, moving and, most of all, leaves you with a meaningful experience and insight about the ups and downs of life and relationships.
If you don't know anything about Sondheim or are not the greatest fan of musical theatre, Company is guaranteed to change your mindset. You will leave the cinema with tunes and songs that will keep you singing them for weeks.
You only have three chances to see Company. Make sure to see it three times!
The screenings are at Cinema Nouveau in Cape Town, Joburg, Durban and Pretoria on 28 and 30 June at 7.30pm, and on 1 July at 2.30pm. Book at www.sterkinekor.com.
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