The Friday following PBS’s performance of Moby Dick they showed Company. While Company was my second entry in my “year of opera” project, this was a different cast and staging. Neil Patrick Harris was Bobby and other more recognizable stars like Jon Cryer, Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks, and Patti LuPone.
I still really enjoy the music of this show but I find the plot a bit irritating. At no point do I ever care if Bobby gets married or not. And I always find his couple friends more interesting than him. Bobby seems like a cypher, a placeholder for Sondheim to mock the idea of marriage, a way to suggest that nobody SHOULD get married because it is a stupid, irrational, and artificial thing that doesn’t work. There is a certain smugness I get from the story that all these married couples are so dysfunctional and yet they are encouraging Bobby to get married, too. You could almost hear them chanting “One of us! One of us! One of us!”
This particular performance was better in characterization but not as good musically as the first version I saw. Bobby sounds like a role too high for NPH even though he has the charisma to pull the role off. I’ve described Company as “How I Met your Mother, the Musical” due to the plot similarities (and the fact that I honestly don’t care if Ted Mosby is even in the show) so NPH as Ted Mosby is mildly amusing.