PICKSINSIX Review: COMPANY
TALENTED ‘COMPANY’ CHRISTENS TERRIFIC VENUS VENUE!
Surrounded by friends …. It’s Bobby's 35th birthday. The guest of honor is surrounded by friends who all feel that he should be happier than he is and that he needs to be married to achieve the fulfillment he deserves. What is he really looking for? Well, in a word, company.
Sleek new performance space… Most of us either know ‘Robert’ or we identify with a version of the character ‘Bobby’ or the friends who exist at the center of the landmark Stephen Sondheim musical COMPANY, a terrific production of which is now playing at Venus Cabaret Theater, the sleek new performance space adjacent to Mercury Theater Chicago. Venus is the brainchild of producer/director L. Walter Stearns who with musical director Eugene Dizon, have an eye for this sort of thing and have baked a special cake for Sondheim fans everywhere. It is a glorious debut for this one-of-a-kind new space on Southport.
Early is on time … guests arrive for the party. The cash bar is stocked and there are hors d’ouerves at every table, so plan ahead and remember that 'early' is 'on time'. The stage has a unique scenic element that I promise you will find as pleasing as the club seating where a dynamic show like COMPANY feels right at home.
There will be cake … If you have never seen COMPANY, you need to know that when in Venus, there will be cake. As the story goes, the married couples all want a better life for their friend Bobby(David Sajewich). It’s New York City in the late 1960’s and things are loosening up for Bobby’s friends Harry(Frederick Harris) and Sarah(Nicole Cready), David(Ryan Stajmiger) and Jenny(Hannah Dawe), Peter(Derek Self) and Susan (Nicole Armold), Amy (Jenna Coker-Jones) and Paul(Greg Foster), Joanne(Heather Townsend) and Larry(Steve Silver) and three women who come in and out of Bobby's life: April(Allison Sill), Kathy(Kiersten Frumkin) and Marta(Kyrie Courter).
Standout performances … COMPANY received seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Music and Lyrics and Best Book(George Furth). Among the many standout performances in Stearns' high-energy ensemble are: Sill, Frumkin and Courter in ‘You Could Drive a Person Crazy’… Sajewich in “Marry Me A Little” and the moving “Being Alive” … “Side By Side By Side” … Coker-Jones’ hilarious “Getting Married Today”… Townsend’s “The Ladies Who Lunch”… Sajewich and Sill “Barcelona”.
Next Up at Venus … See COMPANY through June 3rd, but don’t delay. Tickets will be hard to get to this party, followed closely by Monty Python’s SPAMALOT, running June 14 through August 5th.
PHOTOS|Brett A. Beiner
VENUS CABARET THEATER
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Written by George Furth
Directed by L Walter Stearns
through June 3rd
Mercury Theater Chicago
3745 N Southport Ave