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Theater review: 'Company,' 3 stars

The cast of Company

The cast of Company

3 stars

The New York Philharmonic's starry staged concert of Stephen Sondheim's landmark 1970 musical "Company," which it presented for three nights back in April, was less than perfect.

But in spite of sound and vocal problems, it still generated more excitement and electricity than most Broadway shows.

After all, Lonny Price's production paired well-known celebs like Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert and Jon Cryer with Broadway regulars such as Patti LuPone, Martha Plimpton and Anika Noni Rose.

In an unexpected twist of fate, the concert was filmed and currently is being screened in movie theaters across the country.

The musical revolves around the perennial bachelor Bobby as he internally debates whether he should get married based on his conversations with his eccentric married friends and the women he has dated.

Unlike most staged concerts, the cast does not read from scripts. In fact, all the dialogue scenes are very well-staged and consistently hilarious.

The sound quality is marred by the use of microphones in a concert hall unsuited for them, and the cast has trouble handling the complicated harmonies of the group numbers. But the large orchestra still sounds great, as do most of the performers when singing alone.
Harris brings youth and charm, but no individuality or shading to the role of Bobby. He seems content to sit back and let everyone else steal the show.

Colbert, displaying a passable singing voice, is a fine addition to the cast as the former alcoholic Harry, who goes so far as to wrestle with his karate-chopping wife.

But it's the Broadway performers who come off best. LuPone, in particular, stops the show with her fiery rendition of "The Ladies Who Lunch."

If you go: “Company” plays at select movie theaters through June 21. Check for times and locations.

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