Patti LuPone, who performed the showstopper “Ladies Who Lunch” as the vodka stinger-fueled Joanne in the New York Philharmonic’s 2011 presentation of Company, will reprise her performance in the West End.
The two-time Tony Award winner has boarded the upcoming London production from director Marianne Elliott, which will offer a gender-reversed take on several characters. The previously announced Rosalie Craig will take center stage as Bobby—now portrayed as Bobbi.
As recently reported by Playbill, the Elliott Harper Productions staging has been delayed to fall 2018; it was initially expected to be a part of its inaugural season, which begins October 3 with the U.K. premiere of Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle. Company will now begin September 26, 2018, at the Gielgud Theatre.
The delay follows the announcement of the Broadway transfer of Elliott’s National Theatre production of Angels in America, which begins performances in New York in February.
While Joanne will remain a female character as originally written by composer Stephen Sondheim and book writer George Furth, additional characters will join Bobbi in being portrayed by the opposite gender: flight attendant April, who joins Bobby in the duet “Barcelona,” will now be male—renamed Andy.
Sondheim himself has been involved in the development process of this alternate take on his musical. In an interview earlier this year, the composer said, “If you’ve got somebody as distinguished and inventive and good as Marianne Elliott, and she says, ‘I would love to do Company with a female central character,’ what is there to lose? It can only make the play either interesting or, if you dislike it…dislikable.... So I’m always open.”
LuPone currently stars as Helena Rubinstein in War Paint on Broadway. She’ll take her final bow when the show closes December 30. The Evita and Gypsy Tony winner played another memorable Sondheim role on Broadway: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. While she has never appeared in Company on Broadway, she did host a two-night reunion concert in 1993 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. There, Joanne was played by its original interpreter: the late Elaine Stritch.
Take a look LuPone in War Paint, also starring fellow two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole, below.