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“Company” plays at the Aurora Fox Theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, through Oct. 22. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets start at $26. 303-739-1970, aurorafox.org. Free parking.
The backdrop is a nicely painted and lighted New York skyline, which remains steady throughout. Platforms and a few simple props suggest apartment interiors, a rooftop, a night club, a bedroom. The stage is dark as the Overture plays.
“Bobby! Bobby! Bobby baby…” Silhouettes appear as the band plays familiar music and eventually lights go up at the Aurora Fox on a single man with his back to the audience and a group of beaming friends bearing gifts and a birthday cake. It’s the 35th birthday for this single friend, and the couples who are his best friends would like to remedy that status. Bobby (a charming Jeremy Rill) fails to blow out all the candles.
“Company,” the title song, follows with Robert and company, which brings the spotlight to sophisticated Joanne (Heather Lacy), a cynical, “older-but-wiser” woman singing “The Little Things You Do Together, ”a clever overview of relationships with a Sondheim edge.
“Company” by Stephen Sondheim consists of a series of musical vignettes, rather than a through-story—a new idea when it opened on Broadway in 1970. Bobby, who is reluctant to commit, connects with his friends who are at various points in their marriages/lives —divorce, dealing with kids, alcohol, anxiety about marriage, conversations about the pros and cons of marriage.
And, he’s juggling three girlfriends — Kathy, April and Marta, which brings on other considerations. “Barcelona” is a favorite humorous bit with flight attendant April.
Bobby’s complicated life leads to some really well-known songs: “Ladies Who Lunch,” “You Could Drive a Person Crazy,” “Side by Side,” “Not Getting Married Today” and the touching finale, “Being Alive.”
Director/choreographer Kelly Von Oosbree and music director Andrew Fischer (who teaches vocal music at Heritage High School in Littleton) have fashioned a most pleasing production with a strong cast. Van Oosbree comments in her notes that she likes Bobby’s shift in focus at the end when memories come together and “he can finally let go and open up.”
Whether it’s a first visit or a fifth, Sondheim’s music and sardonic lyrics stay with you as you head home.
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