Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another Company Opens For Business Tonight On Broadway

Another Company Opens For Business Tonight On Broadway

Will lightning strike twice on the Great White Way for director John Doyle?

That question will be answered overnight as Company, his second Broadway revival of a Stephen Sondheim musical, opens this evening at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Less than three months after his critically-acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd closed, Doyle's re-envisioning of the 1971 Tony-winning Best Musical takes its bow with each of the actors doubling as its orchestra members.

Raúl Esparza leads the cast that includes Keith Buterbaugh, Matt Castle, Robert Cunningham, Angel Desai, Kelly Jeanne Grant, Kristin Huffman, Amy Justman, Heather Laws, Leenya Rideout, Fred Rose, Bruce Sabath, Elizabeth Stanley and Barbara Walsh.

Although most castmembers are treading the boards of the Great White Way for the first time, Esparza is this show's Broadway veteran with many credentials under his belt. I first became aware of his amazing talent when he performed far from Broadway as Che in the 1999 touring production of Evita opposite Natalie Toro. I then saw him on Broadway as Riff Raff in the sinsational 2000 revival of The Rocky Horror Show. Over the past weekend, The New York Times provided a riveting profile of this budding star completely worth the read.

Unfortunately, I missed Esparza's other three regular Broadway outings that included Cabaret , Taboo and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang -- the actor was a 2001 replacement for Cabaret's Emcee (I had already seen the touring production with Norbert Leo Butz in 2000), and I had also seen the earlier London mountings of the latter two shows prior to their Broadway incarnations. But I'm making it a point to see Esparza perform in the work that had critics flocking to Ohio to catch its auspicious debut at the Cincinnati Playhouse.

While the concept of having actors doubling as orchestra was novel in Sweeney Todd, will it continue to work in Company? Find out tomorrow as I provide a capsule of critical commentary.

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Apple Tree In Good Company Among SOB Readers (November 6, 2006)

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