Company | Writers Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Thom Miller and Jess Godwin in Company

Thom Miller and Jess Godwin in Company

Michael Brosilow

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 31 2016
Price: $35-$80
It's smooth, entertaining, great looking (thanks to Todd Rosenthal's witty set), and features 14 talented actor/singer/dancers doing delightful work. But there's a problem with William Brown's staging of the musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth: cell phones. The tale of Robert, a 35-year-old Manhattanite whose married friends force him to confront his bachelor status, Company premiered in 1970, and its sensibilities are consistent with the era. Which makes them passé for ours. Brown clearly has an impulse to update, yet cell phones are where his rethinking ends. Gender remains binary here, sex stays hetero, and ring-a-ding-ding still qualifies as a worldview. Even Sondheim's music channels a pop brightness reminiscent of period TV themes. Sure, Thom Miller's Robert seems reticent about getting amorous with his various girlfriends, suggesting the possibility of homosexuality. But his behavior is also explicable as commitment phobia. The only real point of communication between 2016 and 1970 is the thought of what it must've been like for the two gay authors to pretend they weren't writing about themselves. —Tony Adler

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