The Kennedy Center, Washington DC
Part of the Sondheim Celebration
17 May to 29 June 2002
When Company opened in 1970, it heralded a new form of musical theater, its songs revealing character in a manner that was highly personal, self-analytical, and real-but-funny. Stephen Sondheim won his first Tony Award for the show, and also won Tonys for best musical and for George Furth's book.
The show, originally titled Threes, revolves around unmarried Bobby, who is unable to commit to a relationship, and certainly not marriage. The story plays out through Bobby's relationships with the five married couples who are his best friends and his three girlfriends.
Company is considered to be a "concept" musical, consisting of short vignettes which take place in apparently random and unchronological order, all linked by a surprise party for Bobby's 35th birthday. One of the first musicals to look at adult problems, Sondheim described the essence of the show:
"Company does deal with upper middle-class people with upper middle-class problems. Broadway theater 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."