Company, the second of six major Stephen Sondheim productions to be mounted by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, begins previews May 17.
With an official opening on May 18 and a press opening set for May 19, the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical casts former Sunset Boulevard and Putting It Together star John Barrowman as the confused bachelor Robert (Bobby) and award-winning actress Lynn Redgrave as the boozy, jaded Joanne, whose second act show-stopper, "The Ladies Who Lunch," became Elaine Stritch's signature tune. The remainder of the cast comprises Christy Baron (Susan), Matt Bogart (Paul), Keira Naughton (Sarah), Alice Ripley (Amy), Emily Skinner (Jenny), Marcy Harriell (Marta), Elizabeth Zins (Katherine), Jerry Lanning (Larry), David Pittu (Harry), Kim Director (April), Marc Vietor (David) and Dan Cooney (Peter).
Sondheim's tale of a single man (Bobby) and his friendships with five married couples was originally produced on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre in 1970 and featured a book by Furth and such classic Sondheim tunes as "The Little Things You Do Together," "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," "Another Hundred People," "Getting Married Today," "Being Alive" and the aforementioned "The Ladies Who Lunch." The premiere New York cast included Dean Jones (later replaced by Larry Kert) as Bobby, Barbara Barrie as Sarah, Charles Kimbrough as Harry, Merle Louise as Susan, John Cunningham as Peter, Beth Howland as Amy, Elaine Stritch as Joanne, Pamela Myers as Marta, Donna McKechnie as Kathy and Susan Browning as April. With direction by Hal Prince and musical numbers staged by Michael Bennett, the production garnered Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Director (Prince), Best Book (Furth), Best Lyrics (Sondheim), Best Score (Sondheim) and Best Scenic Designer (Boris Aronson).
The Roundabout Theatre Company produced a 1995 revival at the Criterion Center, which featured direction by Scott Ellis and a cast that boasted Boyd Gaines as Bobby, Kate Burton as Sarah, Diana Canova as Jenny, Veanne Cox as Amy, Charlotte d'Amboise as Kathy, Jane Krakowski as April, La Chanze as Marta, Robert Westenberg as Harry and Debra Monk as Joanne. A 1996 London production directed by Sam Mendes cast Adrian Lester as Bobby, Clive Rowe as Harry, Paul Bentley as Larry and Sheila Gish as Joanne.
Jonathan Tunick conducts the orchestra, and Sean Mathias — who helmed the Broadway production of Indiscretions — directs the Kennedy Center Company, which is one of six Sondheim musicals to be presented during the summer-long celebration. The other five titles include the recently opened Sweeney Todd as well as Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along, Passion and A Little Night Music. Tickets for Company range from $29-$79 and can be purchased by calling (800) 444-1324. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located in Washington, D.C., at 2700 F. Street. For more information, go to www.kennedy-center.org. —By Andrew Gans