COMPANY: Far better to be alone than to be in bad company!

Stephen Sondheim. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying he was a brilliant composer and lyricist. Regarded as one of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater, he is credited with reinventing the American musical. His frequent collaborations with Harold Prince, who originally produced and directed Company on Broadway, addressed complex themes ranging beyond traditional subjects, while tackling darker elements of the human experience. You’ll surely recognize at least a couple of his hit songs including “Being Alive” and “Side by Side by Side” in this Tony Award-winning musical.

Contrary to author George Furth’s lead character in the book, this production, directed by three-time Tony winner Marianne Elliott, features a woman who is turning 35 and exploring the love relationships within her circle, including the one she has with herself. Britney Coleman, as leading lady Bobbie, learns it’s not so bad being alive all alone. Traditionalists may not appreciate the gender bending, but give Coleman a chance. Her beautiful voice innocently captures the range of emotions she feels contemplating what she wants while observing the not-so-perfect relationships of her friends.


James Earl Jones II (a distant cousin to the legendary actor) portrays Harry, husband to Sarah, portrayed by the surprisingly flexible Kathryn Allison. The comedic moments ebb and flow throughout the production, yet together these two steal the show with their amazing physical comedy. They pair so well, perhaps they need their own show!

“I was so fortunate to be a part of the Broadway revival of Company and watch how this particular production came together,” says Allison. “The comedic elements of the Sarah and Harry scene all stem from the incredible text written by George Furth. His witty writing forges a competitive fun nature between Sarah and Harry, which is a relationship that I think a lot of couples can see themselves in. With our associate director Steve Bebout, we found where we could heighten those competitive moments through Sarah’s obsession with working out, and her constant craving of sugary delights.” She adds, “It’s a thrill to do every night, and being able to play off of James is truly the most fun I have had on stage.”

Broadway veteran Judy McLane as Joanne wowed us with her powerful vocals. Marina Kondo as Susan, also a powerful singer, was sassy and a lot of fun to watch in action. Jacob Dickey, as the flighty flight attendant, provided some comical eye candy along with his vocal talent. 

Dance arrangements by Sam Davis are as tight as they are mesmerizingly spectacular. Of course dance moves are always contingent upon great music, which is what orchestrator David Cullen delivers. A great cast all around makes this show worth your time. Just as with Sondheim though, it seems spectators either loved the production or didn’t. The show usually hit the laugh meter, vocals and dancing were sensational, yet it seemed to be missing something. Some patrons walked out during the 15-minute intermission, while others left before curtain calls.

Scenic (also costume) design by Bunny Christie is a unique panoramic look with boxed enclosures reminiscent of Polaroid pictures with their white framing. Some spectators might find this boxy effect claustrophobic, but I found it to be brilliant. The actors occasionally freeze, adding to the photo effect, and later in the production the colors of the frames change (lighting design by Neil Austin). The boxes move forward and backward fluidly to showcase the current action. Perhaps the best scene takes place in a kitchen with lots of hiding places like a sketch right out of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Be sure to look for the number 35 inconspicuously placed in various locations within the set!

PPAC presents Company through April 28. For more information, visit or call 421-ARTS.