In good company

The musical Company comes to six Arizona movie theaters this month

I wasn’t in New York City during April of this year. But neither, I suspect, were most of you — so I’m in good company. Turns out we all missed an April 7-9 run of the concert version of the musical “Company,” performed with the New York Philharmonic in the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

But a special performance of the concert was recorded live, and it’s headed to select movie theaters starting June 15 thanks to a Screenvision, New York Philharmonic, Ellen M. Krass Productions partnership. Six Arizona theaters will be showing the concert at 7:30pm on Wed, June 15.

Screenvision lists them as Gateway 12 Imax in Mesa, Chandler Fashion 20, Arrowhead Fountains 18 in Peoria, Scottsdale 14 in Phoenix, Tucson Spectrum 18 and Surprise Pointe 14. Tickets are available online at

Fond as I am of experiencing musical theater on stage, I’ve found that seeing it on the big screen makes for a mighty fine alternative. We’ve seen “Rent” and “Memphis” this way, and the 25th anniversary “Les Miserables” concert too.

I remember marveling at the mom and daughter who shared a blanket while watching the “Les Miserables” concert together at a Mesa movie theater. Something tells me fuzzy blankets and popcorn aren’t embraced quite that readily on the “Great White Way.”

Though “Company” isn’t anywhere near the top of Lizabeth’s “all time favorite musicals” list, I hope she’ll tag along to see it with me. “Company” opened on Broadway in 1970, and was nominated in 1971 for 14 musicals (a record at the time). It won six — including best musical.

It’s one of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s earliest full-scale musicals. There are 15 of them (so far) — including “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods.” Sondheim wrote lyrics for “West Side Story” and “Gypsy.”

Major songs in “Company” include “You Could Drive a Person Crazy,” “Another Hundred People” and “Being Alive.” The 2006 Broadway revival of “Company” won the 2007 Tony Award® for “Best Revival of a Musical.” It was taped for the PBS “Great Performances” series, a little gem you can now enjoy on DVD.

The staged concert production of “Company” that’s headed to movie theaters features all sorts of “television and stage heavyweights.” Think Stephen Colbert and Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone and Katie Finneran — and plenty more. Click here to enjoy rehearsal photos and here to read a related article from The New York Times.

Those of you who’ve yet to experience the joys of eating, drinking and breathing musical theater might feel ill equipped to recount the premise of “Company.” But it’s easy to follow. Think five couples and a bachelor friend living in NYC. And read Stephen Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat” if you want to delve deeper.

You can click here for a bit of background from PBS, and here for a delightfully brief but comprehensive look at “Company” (and Sondheim) from New York Philharmonic program notes.

The April 2011 “Company” concert played to a full house that’s much larger than your average movie theater. So don’t delay in getting tickets to enjoy this classic work of musical theater. Feel free to bring your blanket along. Something tells me you’ll be in good company.

— Lynn

Note: This post is part of a “Countdown to the Tony Awards®” series that will run through Sun, June 12, when the 2011 Tony Awards® will be broadcast on CBS.

Coming up: Touring productions of Tony Award® winning shows coming to Arizona during the 2011/12 season


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