Company - July 20 - July 30, 2017

the Dunes Arts Foundation

 End Notes 



To be, or not to be. . . married.  That’s the basic premise of Stephen Sondheim’s ground-breaking 1970 musical, COMPANY.  Nearly 50 years later, the questions posed here seem as vital and current as ever: ‘Must one be married to be complete?’; Is ‘happy and single’ preferable to ‘married and miserable’?; ‘Is the security and comfort one finds in even a flawed partnership more desirable than the freedom but potential loneliness one has as a single person?’; ‘What is love?’; ‘Is love the same as happiness?’ 


In COMPANY, the central character, Robert, is turning 35, and much to the horror, envy and delight of his married friends and various girlfriends, he is STILL SINGLE.  In a series of non-chronological vignettes anchored around a surprise birthday party for ‘Bobby, Bobby Baby, Bobby Bubi. . .’, we see Bob as the third (or fourth or second!) wheel in various social settings with five of his married-couple friends (all, by the way, certain that THEY are Bobby’s ‘best friends’), and 3 girlfriends, past and present.  In a way all of us can relate to, Robert is subjected to the ‘concerns and suggestions’ of all his friends even as he himself struggles with the questions of what he wants his life to be.  What does it mean, ‘Being Alive’?


On a personal note, I’ve loved the score of COMPANY for a long time.  ‘The Little Things You Do Together’ and ‘Another Hundred People’ were two of the first Sondheim songs I ever got stuck in my head.  I wore out the flawed but glorious original cast LP with it’s groovy 70’s vibe filtered thru the cool and wit of Sondheim.  And those lyrics!  If you are just discovering the genius of Sondheim’s brilliant rhymes and laser-sharp incites tonight, I envy you, and “Welcome you to the club!”


“Good things get better, bad get worse.  Wait. . . I think I meant that in reverse.”


“It’s things like using force together, shouting ‘til you’re hoarse together, getting a divorce together, that make perfect relationships.”


“What would we do without you? How would we ever get through?  Should there be a marital squabble, available Bob’ll be there with the glue.”


“Phone rings, door chimes, in comes COMPANY”




Shawn Stengel


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