CROWN CITY THEATRE COMBINES FIERCELY SKILLED PERFORMERS WITH A PERFECTLY COMPOSED SCORE IN “COMPANY”
Thespian Thoughts Theatre Review by Brett Chapin
Any musical theatre professional worth their weight, is familiar with the musical, Company. With brilliantly composed music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book filled with sharp wit by George Furth, this story of marriage, relationships and the roles we play in both, is timeless.
I recently had the chance to see Crown City Theatre Company’s production and was blown away by most aspects of the show, The plot is simple in nature. Robert (Ben Rovner) is turning 35 and his friends are throwing him a surprise party. Much of the story is told in flashbacks as Robert weaves his way between his 5 pairs of friends (each in a relationship) and 3 past girlfriends.
The biggest challenge in this particular show isn’t the music, in my opinion. It’s finding actors who embody and connect with its specifically written character traits. It’s written very deliberately with each character exhibiting a specific “type.” Most of the actors accomplish this task beautifully. Additionally I could never have imagined producing this show on such a small stage yet most of the performers make any thoughts of the stage size, disappear completely.
Ben Rovner as Robert is particularly skilled in this task and makes us all root for Robert, as he rides the large spectrum of emotion between jovial and utterly distraught. It’s easy for the audience to sympathize with him as he passes through this milestone birthday. We don’t always like Robert, but he always care what happens to him, throughout the piece. This gentle balance is a huge challenge with this role and he handles it well.
Albert Alarr does a great job of allowing the actors to be comfortable in their own skin and find their own specific physicality. Lighting and sound design were a bit off at times. The costumes did their job as did the scenic design. They both seemed to add depth to the show, instead of overpowering it.
I’d highly recommend this show. The majority of the vocals are top notch, as is the majority of the acting. The essence of the story does not miss its mark. At its core, it’s about growth, change, relationships between people and how important that is. A healthy reminder of that, from time to time, is something that we all could benefit from.
“Company,” Crown City Theatre at St. Matthew’s Church, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood. 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Ends May 12th. $25. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Thespian Thoughts is a theatre review article on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.