Did you know that Claybourne Elder's underwear in Company has an airline logo on them? That's just one of many details in the costume design by Bunny Christie for the new gender-swapped Broadway revival currently running at the Bernard J. Jacobs Theatre.
The company of Company recently gathered for a studio portrait session to capture and show off the looks, and Christie let Playbill in on a few of her ideas behind some of the costumes and how they came to be, including some of those fun details like airline underpants.
Marianne Elliott directs the revival with Tony winner Katrina Lenk taking on the central role of singleton Bobbie (in the original, bachelor Bobby) in the Stephen Sondheim and George Furth examination of coupledom. Fellow Tony winner Patti LuPone stars as Joanne, with Matt Doyle as Jamie, Tony nominee Christopher Fitzgerald as David, Tony nominee Christopher Sieber as Harry, Tony nominee Jennifer Simard as Sarah, Terence Archie as Larry, Etai Benson as Paul, Nikki Renée Daniels as Jenny, Claybourne Elder as Andy, Greg Hildreth as Peter, Rashidra Scott as Susan, Bobby Conte as P.J., and Manu Narayan as Theo.
Rounding out the company (and starring in the portrait session) are Kathryn Allison, Britney Coleman, Jacob Dickey, Javier Ignacio, Anisha Nagarajan, Nicholas Rodriguez, Heath Saunders, Tally Sessions, Paige Faure, and Matt Wall.
Read on for a look at the portraits with commentary by Christie.
When Marianne and I were working on the design for Company, we went through the show meticulously from scene to scene. I had a small scale model figure for Bobbie painted in red, so that we could always see where she was in relation to everyone else. It worked so well that I thought it made sense for Bobbie to be in full color—almost technicolor—in her own life. She is like the flame burning at the centre of the piece. She’s the full blooded, red, beating heart of Company. The rest of the palette of the show is very controlled and carefully curated so that there are no other reds onstage, except for Bobbie and, of course, the versions of herself in TikTok.
I found the red fabric in London—it's a fabulous fine red wool and looks beautiful on Katrina. We have bought every single yard of the material that exists so that we can replicate the jumpsuits, which were all made in New York.
Patti loves clothes and shoes and is great fun in fittings.
Everything is made or adjusted so that it works for Patti and feels right for Joanne. Her clothes were made in New York and her shoes made in LA. Joanne is confident and sexy, witty and sharp. Her clothes need to reflect that and feel right. Patti is a demon at wearing killer heels!
The Nightclub Looks for “Ladies Who Lunch”
Almost as a flip side to the wedding looks, the nightclub is all in black. Joanne and Larry have been to the Opera and then gone onto a Club. This is a hot, sexy club with attitude. The costume team had fun shopping for these looks and creating the club characters—its all about the shoes, the belts, the accessories and some hidden number 35s thrown in. Each member of the company has a very specific look and fittings were lots of fun and hilarity.
It’s a great section of the show—Bobbie is really sliding down the rabbit hole and not sure where she is going to end up. It has a real late-night, sticky-floor feel. It’s hot and sweaty and the figures appear to Bobbie out of the smoke to a pulsing beat of club night music.
New Yorkers' “Another Hundred People” Looks
All of the New Yorkers in “Another Hundred People” are a mass of grey, anonymous figures. The company are choreographed to move as a swarm of figures. They all have individual looks but are unified by a color so they read as a flock of commuters with Bobbie and PJ moving through and amongst them.
The TikTok [scene] is a completely new and original imagining where Bobbie dreams of how her life would be in different versions of her future with different partners. It’s a nightmare vision of a future self—maybe pregnant or a working mother or ignored or with an unsuitably younger man and a bottle of bourbon. Each version is dressed in the Bobbie red color and the images replicate and multiply over and over.
“Not Getting Married” Wedding Looks
"Not Getting Married" was really fun to design. Marianne suggested the idea of a white wedding—with Bobbie still in her iconic red as the Best Woman at the wedding. Each guest had a very particular cool look in white and silver - with the company of characters all appearing from Jamie and Paul’s kitchen units, fridge or washing machine, representing Jamie’s ultimate wedding nightmare. The company are singing in the wings and changing into these costumes at the same time—it’s a very busy backstage moment in the show and then some of the company need to crawl inside the kitchen units ready to appear for a split second and then disappear!
Jamie and Paul's Wedding Looks
Jamie and Paul are dressed in white but individually designed to match their characters. So Paul is more formally dressed and Jamie is rocking a more casual designer look.
The Three Boyfriends
I wanted to have an element to unify the Boyfriends so they all have a strong blue color in their clothes. Andy, played by Claybourne Elder as an Airline steward, is such a wonderful character. We even gave him underpants with the Airline logo on them and he has an identity lanyard and all the right insignia. When Marianne and I were discussing PJ, played by Bobby Conte, she wanted him to be almost like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. You aren’t sure if he is good or evil, or what his intentions are. We put together a look that is all about him trying to give the impression that he is super cool. In the show it is Bobbie’s 35th birthday and everywhere she looks she keeps seeing lots of number 35. PJ has a tattoo on his arm in Roman numerals that is the number 35.
I loved working with Jennifer Simard on Sarah’s look. Jen came up with the idea of workout gear for Sarah. I designed a look and we were really lucky to find the pieces and put together her body hugging look. Jennifer has some very fun costumes in Company. Her wedding and nightclub looks are great, and fittings with her were a blast.
Larry has a couple of beautiful suits. A very elegant pin stripe suit made for him in New York and a gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana evening jacket which we had flown over from London and then tailored to fit. His shoes for the nightclub are very delicious diamanté encrusted pumps.
Peter and Susan
I love dressing Peter and Susan. We made them arty and quirky. Both Rashidra and Greg were up for trying ideas out and great fun in fittings with all their looks. Of course, Susan has the surprise reveal of being pregnant. We tracked down some latex pregnancy tummies and, as Rashidra has a belly piercing, we replicated the piercing on the latex tummy and then matched her skin tone to the latex.
Click through the gallery below for even more looks from the current revival of Company on Broadway.