note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
If you haven’t heard that the Metro Stage Company is one of the best small theaters to come on the scene of late---well, I’m here to tell you. Their productions keep getting better and better and their joyous production of Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY (alas, through this weekend only) could be my favorite version of the celebrated “vignette” musical.
Here’s why: Zachary Hardy’s tour de force performance, for one reason. He makes the central character a sympathetic guy with a heart as well as a healthy sense of the sardonic. (All the other Bobbies I’ve seen have been shallow son-of-a-guns.) And can he bring home the anthem at the end of the show!
Bobby is surrounded by wacky married friends who want him to settle down, although they’re hardly the best advertisement for the institution----and by gorgeous women who want him to settle down, but he’s still looking---at the ripe old age of thirty-five. The glue which holds the vignettes together is a surprise birthday party for Bobby. But it’s Sondheim’s spectacular songs (music direction by Adam McDonald) which make the show. Who needs a plot!
Director Lisa Rafferty’s cast is hilarious: From Tracy Nygard and Robert Case’s wild wrestling matches to Fran Betlyon’s hysterical bride-to-be-to groom William Neely; from Kimberly Suskind’s vapid stewardess to Gary Ryan’s divorced-but-still-married player. Highlights are Lindsey Larson’s show stopping, take-no-prisoners “Another Hundred People” and Betlyon’s fabulously frenetic “Getting Married Today.” Every song is a gem. John MacKenzie’s New York photo collage from each vignette makes an elegantly simple set and Linda Sugrue’s vaudeville choreography brings home the dark humor of the piece in “Side By Side By Side.” Bravo, Metro.