★★★★☆ - Delicious
Let’s just put this out there for full transparency: I’m a sucker for a musical, and doubly so for a Sondheim musical. There’s nobody like him – his lyrics move a story and character arc, and his music soars. No matter how simplistic it may sound through the vocal chords of a talented singer, there is nothing simplistic about it. It’s pure mastery, and it takes mastery to sing. Yet, great emotion can be delivered and still hit the notes. Couple that with a book by George Furth and you’ve got a Classic American Musical.
Sondheim and Furth revised their 1970 libretto in the 90s and, under the direction of Walter Niejadlik as part of the LVLT 40th season, the story of “Company” still holds up. Niejadlik has assembled a talented cast and it’s a fun show.
With the exception of a few missed notes here and there, these actors were up to the challenge. There are certain numbers in the show that will always stand out, and such is the situation with this production.
Amanda Collins, as Marta, delivers a stand-up rendition of “Another Hundred People.” Every ounce of wonder-mixed-with-disdain comes through in her interpretation, as she alternately expresses her love for the crowded, dirty city and sadness over people who don’t live up to the spirit of the metropolis.
“The Ladies Who Lunch” is another one of the great songs from this play and Kim Glover delivers the proper amount of scorn in the lower registers but loses it in the high; the sounds become too pretty and melodic to pair with the intent. Otherwise, the cynicism is there in spades with her body language and dialogue from curtain to curtain.
Lest you think this is music with a little bit of dialogue, there’s a scene where Robert (Adam Dunson), Jenny (Shana Brouwers), and David (Jake Taylor) get high on pot. It’s funny and the timing of the three keeps it rolling.
Throughout the show, Dunson plays the still-single Robert low key, and it works because the neuroses are still there under the surface. He shines with “Marry Me a Little.” The one disappointment comes with his interpretation of “Being Alive.” Here, Robert reveals what he’s been searching for in a mate, but Dunson doesn’t fully commit the character to the lyrics; the longing, the want, the need are all missing in lieu of perfect melody.
Another treat of the evening comes in Amy (played by April Sauline who also choreographed) and Paul (Ben Rich). The two are having a blast and it shows. Particularly during “Getting Married Today.” This is one of those memorable Sondheim numbers because of the frantic pace, which Sauline manages with delightful angst and impeccable timing.
Under the musical direction of Toby McEvoy, voices blend well in ensemble pieces. And, to his credit, the nine-member orchestra never overpowers the vocals.
The voices of the entire cast are more than capable, but solid character needs to be infused into some of the individual musical numbers. Sauline’s choreography melds with Niejadlik’s staging. Ron Lindblom delivers a gorgeous New York City backdrop for the set; it’s simple, yet elegant. Couple that with intricate and stunning lighting by Ginny Adams and it’s an enjoyable evening.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday through February 4
2 p.m. Saturday, January 28
Where: Las Vegas Little Theatre, 3920 Schiff drive
Tickets: $21 - $24 (702-362-7996; www.lvlt.org)
Producer: Las Vegas Little Theatre; Director: Walter Niejadlik; Musical Director: Toby McEvoy; Assistant Director: Gillen Brey; Choreographer: April Sauline; Fight Choreographer: Tommy Watanabe; Set Design: Ron Lindblom; Lighting Design: Ginny Adams; Sound Design: Mike Olsen; Costume Design: Rose Scarborough; Stage Manager: Gillen Brey