Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Company - Shoot the Glass Theater

Stephen Sondheim's Company is an ambitious project for a new theater company, and Shoot the Glass Theater is aiming high for their second production. Company is playing through November 20 at the New Century Theatre in Minneapolis

The company has assembled a talented cast, backed up by six on-stage musicians, who provide a full sound of brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion. The musicians and music director Randy Buikema are right on stage, watching and engaged with the action on stage. As the show progresses, they even interact with the cast, which is kind of fun.

The New Century space is not ideal for a musical, with its shallow thrust stage. Limited set pieces sketch out locations that quickly change. Sometimes, the presentation is a bit too front-forward for the thrust stage, and the view from seats to the side was not the best. Lauri Kraft's choreography worked, but I wish there had been more of it, because the show can be kind of static.

The company of Company
There are a number of good performances here, including Kaitlin Klemencic as Amy, performing perhaps the fastest "Getting Married Today" I've ever seen, which, if you know Company, is impressive.

Ultimately, although there are great songs in the show, it hasn't aged all that well since its 1970 premiere. It's never really clear why all of these people are so enamored of central character Bobby, and it's a pretty homogenous group of straight, (mostly) white people who make you wonder that they don't have any more variety in their social circle.

This production of Company covers the basics, but it made me wish for a stronger vision to bring it into step with modern times.