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Saturday, 03 March 2018 01:07

Toronto Musical Concerts Has “Company”

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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 Sondheim’s classic musical to be presented in concert Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th at 7:30 p.m.

By Dennis Kucherawy

In two weeks, members of Toronto Musical Concerts (TMC) return to Eastminster United Church for a two-night presentation of the Stephen Sondheim Tony Award-winning musical “Company,” his witty and entertaining musical about finding romance in, as the lyrics of one of its memorable songs says, finding romance in a “city of strangers.”

 The church is located at 310 Danforth Avenue and plays on Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th.

“Company in Concert,” under the leadership of artistic director Christopher Wilson, brings together a cast of some of Canada’s finest professional musical theatre talents who have performed with such major companies as the Edinburgh Fringe, Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, Mirvish and more.  Some performed last fall in TMC’s successful presentation of Sonheim’s “Assassins in Concert” also at Eastminster United Church.

Among them are Geoffrey Tyler (“42nd Street,” Stratford Festival) in the leading role of Bobby and A.J. Bridel, (award-winning co-star of Toronto company of “Kinky Boots” among others,) as Marta.

Scott Christian is the music director.

“Company’s” original Broadway production opened in 1970 and won six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.  Then, in 2007, it won a Tony for Best Revival among others.

Songs in the score are written in a variety of styles, ranging from the bossa nova show-stopper “The Ladies Who Lunch,” the close harmonies of the clever “You Could Drive a Person Crazy,” patter songs such as the comical “Getting Married Today” and soaring “Another Hundred People,” and the powerful ballad “Being Alive.”

Set in New York City on the eve of a 35th birthday celebration of central character Bobby, a bachelor, “Company’s” plot is presented in a series of short, hilarious vignettes in no particular chronological order.  It’s a concept musical portraying the relationships between Bobby and his best friends… five married couples…and three girlfriends as Bobby searches for meaning and his own, steady relationship.

Why “Company” and Why Now? – Artistic Director Christopher Wilson

“(Book writer) George Furth and Stephen Sondheim have created a book with songs and lyrics that convey and build character in a very nuanced manner,” TMC artistic director Christopher Wilson told Song & Script.  The tonal qualities and textures of the score provide unique insight into the characters singing them.  They further provide us with access to their deepest thoughts, fears and joys…

“Some might perceive that some of the themes explored in “Company” are antiquated, hetero-normative and irrelevant when viewed through a present-day lens.  I would offer, however, that the longevity of this work (almost 50 years) lies in the essential question: “How willing are we to open ourselves up enough to explore the possibility that two are perhaps better than one?”

Wilson finds that after half-a-century “Company” is still timely and is meaningful to a contemporary audience.  He also relates to it personally: “As Artistic Producer and Director of this professionally staged musical reading, I have experienced marriage, infidelity, divorce and parenting.  At 44 years of age, I am approaching this work artistically from a very deep place of resonance and find it relatable.

“At the core of “Company,” Robert (Bobby) is essentially contemplating and wrestling with the question:  Why am I still single and not in a relationship?  He projects a world onto the stage filled with his complex married friends and his varied and contrasting three girlfriends.  Themes and issues involving fidelity, commitment, compatibility, sexuality and relationship dynamics are explored with delicate nuance and overstated comedy.  As we are interpreting this piece as a construct of Bobby’s imagination and the players within it, the archetypes are sometimes extremely heightened in their presentation.

“(And) at the time “Company” was written, the technology and apps that currently dominate online dating culture did not exist.  This has revolutionized the way people engage with one another in approaching casual connections or seeking long-term partnership.  It has become very rare for an individual to meet a potential partner in a public forum such as a bar, coffee shop or party.  As a result, I believe that a great deal of people struggle with and suffer from urban isolation.  When the onus lies in swiping right or left to express one’s relationship preferences, it is very easy to hide behind the screen of a phone or computer.  The result can be a fabricated world fraught with disconnection and social anxiety.

“I think it is extremely timely to explore a musical work that asks the question:  How does one actually experience the feeling of `Being Alive?’  How do we find the courage to risk engaging with others in authentic and meaningful ways – to explore that, perhaps, partnership may potentially be better than spending one’s life alone.”

The cast of “Company in Concert” features:

Kevin Achiele                Paul

A.J. Bridel                      Marta

Lawrence Cotton           Larry

Donna Garner               Joanne

Ryan Kelly                     David

Lisa Kisch                      Jenny

Lizzie Kurtz                   Amy

David Lopez         Peter

Marisa McIntyre            April

Anwyn Musico               Susan

Leah Oster                    Kathy

Sarah Strange               Sarah

Geoffrey Tyler               Bobby

Christopher Wilson*      Harry          *Artistic Director

Musical director is pianist Scott Christian.


$25 (Gen. Admission)

$20 (Students, Seniors, Arts Workers)

Advance Purchase:


For further information:


Toronto Musical Concerts (TMC) is a dynamic, newly branded, not-for-profit, professional musical theatre collective.  Among its vibrant recent productions are Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” and “Assassins” and holiday show “Cocktails and Candy Canes.”

TMC presents professional quality musicals in concert while pursuing philanthropic support of worthy charitable organizations.

TMC’s mandate consists of a commitment to the artistry of musical theatre by:

·      The presentation of high-quality and entertaining concert productions;

·      The production of cutting-edge works;

·      The development of emerging talents and new audiences; and

·      The provision of educational opportunities and community outreach through the performing arts.


Visit Song & Script for its selection of CDs, DVDs of “Company” including the original 1970 and 2007 Tony Award-winning revival productions and song selections.

By Dennis Kucherawy


Last modified on Saturday, 03 March 2018 01:22
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