An appreciation by Judy Harris
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|The Vocal Minority||Cathy Corkill, Carol Gelfand, Marilyn Saunders, Dona D. Vaughn|
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Musical Direction by Harold Hastings
Orchestration by Jonathan Tunick
Musical Numbers Staged by Michael Bennett
Production Directed by Harold Prince
Album produced by Thomas Z. Shepard (Columbia Records, CBS, Inc.)
Note: Most quotes are from SONDHEIM & COMPANY by Craig Zadan.
When I discovered Internet some years ago and started publishing my own webpages, I had a lovely link to the lyrics from this Broadway show, which contains one of my favorite scores. Over the intervening years, many websites with lyrics to this and other Broadway shows have disappeared. I can only suppose this has been a deliberate attempt on the part of someone to suppress these lyrics, but I can't understand why. Surely people would still need to buy sheet music in order to perform these songs in the privacy of their own home or in public, and ASCAP and the applicable authors are not being diddled out of any royalties just because the lyrics are accessible in some form on Internet. In any case, the lyrics for COMPANY are publicly available in the published version of the text of the play, which I borrowed from the New York Public Library.
I'm just a person who always liked to sing along with my records, and even as a child, I wrote down the lyrics to all my original cast album LPs. A few years ago I acquired an MP3 player and some of the songs from COMPANY were among those I converted from the CD to this digital format so that I could download them into the flash memory of the unit and carry it around and listen to these songs over and over. In order to double check that I had the lyrics correct , I got the play out of the library, and partly because the link to the COMPANY lyrics I used to have had disappeared, I decided to publish this webpage myself.
I was only vaguely aware of Stephen Sondheim when COMPANY opened; I lived in Philadelphia at the time, and I did not rush out to get a ticket when it first opened, although Barbara Barrie was in the cast, and she was someone I always admired. However, there was a 1970 D.A. Pennebaker documentary about the making of the original cast album, and when I saw this on TV, I was so charmed by the score I immediately got a ticket to see it in 1971. At that time the cast consisted of Larry Kert, Barbara Barrie, Lee Goodman, Charlotte Frazier, John Cunningham, Teri Ralston, Charles Kimbrough, Priscilla Lopez, Stanley Grover, Steve Elmore, Beth Howland, Marilyn Saunders, Susan Browning and Elaine Stritch . (The first ads appeared under Macy's Theatre Club in the New York Times with Anthony Perkins billed as the star, but Perkins went to Prince and Sondheim to ask them to let him out because at this stage of his career, he wanted to direct.) Along with most theatre critics, I found the libretto pretty thin, but I adored the sophisticated and melodious music. Sondheim: "A lot of the controversy about COMPANY was that up until COMPANY most musicals, if not all musicals, had plots. In fact, up until COMPANY, I thought that musicals had to have very strong plots."
In 1972 I saw the show in summer stock at the Valley Forge Music Fair with George Maharis as Bobby; Maharis has quite a good singing voice, but I thought at the time that no one could bring this underwritten role to life. I also saw the London version, once again directed by Hal Prince, because my friends Paul and Barbara Tracey were cast as the pot-smoking couple. I got to go backstage and meet Elaine Stritch and also Robert Colman, nephew of Ronald Colman, whom I had seen on stage in London previous years in CHARLIE GIRL. I also saw the "concert" version which took place at Lincoln Center April 11 and 12, 1993 with virtually the entire original cast reunited, including Dean Jones. By this time, Larry Kert (who took over the Bobby role, and whom I saw on Broadway and in London) had passed away.
I saw the misconceived 1995 Roundabout theatre revival with Boyd Gaines as Bobby, which completely dispensed with the electric piano which is so exciting in the opening and closing numbers. In 2005 at the Museum of Radio and Television, I saw a video of the 1996 Donmar Warehouse London version directed by Sam Mendes which starred Adrian Lester as Bobby (which also did not use the electric piano).
Finally, on December 23, 2006, I saw the "gimmick"
revival in which the cast was also the orchestra.
This idea apparently originated with director John Doyle as a way
to save money but when it proved successful with SWEENEY TODD,
he then went on to do the same thing for COMPANY. I have no
interest in seeing the cast also be the orchestra, but I had been
impressed by Raul
Esparza in the awful CHITTY, CHITTY,
BANG, BANG, and wanted to see him again. I did not
realize from the reviews that this 2006 production was a "concert"
version, like the revival of CHICAGO,
with no sets or props. The performers all wore boring
costumes of black or grey, including the bride character, Amy, in
a black veil and black dress. By far the worst part of the
2006 staging, I thought, was that everyone was on stage the entire
time, so they had to sit still like statues when they were not
involved in a scene. So much of the singing is done by the
rest of the cast, so for those songs, Raul Esparza just had to
stare out into the audience as if he were a zombie, and I felt
sorry for him, and for anyone stuck on stage when the director had
not given them some business to do.
In November 2013, on the PBS series GREAT PERFORMANCES, I saw the
version done with the NY Philharmonic under Paul Gemignani
(where the conductor even took bows with the cast at the
end). The cast included:
|Robert||Neil Patrick Harris|
|Jenny||Jennifer Laura Thompson|
|Marta||Anika Noni Rose|
|Vocal Minority||Alexa Green, Fred Inkley, Rob Lorey, Jessica Vosk |
|Ensemble||Callie Carter, Ariana DeBose, Sean Ewing,
Ashley Blair Fitzgerald,Lorin Latarro, Lee Wilkins|
I was very impressed with Neil Patrick Harris and for the first
time could see some depth to the main character; but I felt the
libretto was even worse than I remembered, and that the production
(while it had some interesting staging) was the worse for the lack
of Michael Bennett's choreography. I must say, though, that
the audience gave a huge round of applause at the end of WHAT
WOULD WE DO WITHOUT YOU? I must further admit that those
sofas on wheels added a certain fluidity to a cast that obviously
weren't dancers, but they just made me think of bumper cars at an
Even seeing the show eight times, and as recently as 2013, I find
the libretto pretty detachable from my enjoyment of the music, and
so this webpage will not go into many details about the
forgettable plot. Writing in ANYTHING GOES (Oxford
University Press, 2013), Ethan Mordden sums up the plot: "A
look at a bachelor named Robert (Dean Jones) and his social loop
of married couples. Beyond that, it was an insight into
the folkways of upscale Manhattan, from dieting and going sober
to sleeping around and divorce."
I believe the show was considered quite modern and unconventional in its day; there was no chorus or group of dancers and no singing ensemble. There is no overture which is certainly a departure. The musical numbers are almost all commentaries on characters or subtext, and not your typical Broadway musical songs that are sung by the characters themselves about their hopes and aspirations or to move the plot along. Apparently some critics see this as a flaw, but not me. Sondheim: "We had our songs interrupt the story and be sung mostly by people outside the scene commenting on the action taking place."
At least two contemporary critics, T.E. Kalem, of Time Magazine and Jack Kroll of Newsweek, called the show a "landmark", which is rather unusually insightful (usually one has to wait a decade or two before this sort of impact is acknowledged). In an interview with Frank Rich for the New York TIMES magazine section on the occasion of his 70th birthday, Sondheim looked back at COMPANY as "where I first got to start my own voice loud and clear."
COMPANY opened on April 26, 1970 at the Alvin Theatre and ran for 706 performances. It closed on January 1, 1972 so that the New York cast could go on to London, where they opened on January 18, 1972 and ran for 8 months. This was the first collaboration (of 6) between Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince. COMPANY won the New York Drama Critics' Award as Best Musical and six Tony awards: Best Musical, Best Music, Best Lyrics (these were Sondheim's first awards of his career), Best Book, Best Director, Best Scenic Design.
Sondheim didn't write one note of COMPANY until the
entire set had been designed, a model built, and a picture of the
model shown to him. Sondheim professes that the opening
number is about the original set. He wrote it to present the
cast and the set to the audience and also to tell them what the
evening was about. Sondheim claims he never could have written the
number without actually seeing the set and knowing there were five
distinct playing areas where the couples could be. None of
the subsequent productions of COMPANY used this set, so the
concept of the 5 different playing areas was lost after the
original Hal Prince directed version.
In HAROLD PRINCE by Foster Hirsch (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2005), Sondheim revealed, "My music
and lyrics grew out of the way we commented about the characters in
conferences before I began to write. I absorbed the play's
ambiance and atmosphere, its style of speech. I don't make the
characters speak, but I try to mime or echo or enhance a story or characters
invented by somebody else. With COMPANY, I collected musical
ideas from the sharp rhythmic vitality of George Furth's dialogue."
To underline the insistent verticality of the Manhattan setting,
Prince and Aronson experimented with slides of tall buildings and elongated
shadows projected against a cyclorama. In HAROLD PRINCE by Foster Hirsch (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2005), Prince notes that "on
Broadway we had six hundred slides while on the road we had only forty;
the number of slides didn't seem to make any difference.
Audiences were only subliminally aware of them, which was what we
The long held note of "We loooooove you!" in the opening number is timed to coincide with the first movement of the elevator of Boris Aronson's set.
Sondheim calls this opening number his breakthrough in choral writing. Of its list-like lyrics, Sondheim says, "In the genesis of a song, a principle that I've always believed in is: content dictates form." It was director Hal Prince who wanted a number called 'Company', a word you can't rhyme!
Production stage manager of the 1970 version, Fritz Hold, remembered, "the 'Company' number took longer to stage than any number I've ever been involved with...it took the first morning of rehearsals--four hours--to do the first page...Everyone was scared."
I've always been a proponent of including on original cast albums as much of the surrounding dialogue that leads into and is part of a song as possible, but I find as I get older, I am less interested in this and more interested in the "meat" of songs; therefore, I have not bothered to put in any of the dialogue that introduces or interrupts the COMPANY lyrics. I listen to recordings in order to sing along, and so I have ignored these sound bites and just included the lyrics.
I have included the "Bobby, baby" lyrics which I copied out of the above-mentioned library book, but, in fact, a lot of these lyrics overlap in the manner of quodlibet. What the heck is that? I discovered this term in a book called COMING UP ROSES by Ethan Mordden, in which he defines a quodlibet as two separate melodies performed successively and then, to the ear's delight (he says), simultaneously. So, these Sondheim lyrics are not strictly quodlibet, but they do contain examples of people singing different lyrics simultaneously, which drives me crazy. In fact, I loathe quodlibets. Why? Well, first of all I like to sing along with my records, and I can only sing one lyric at a time; secondly, when two people are singing two different sets of lyrics simultaneously, it is hard to figure out what they are saying. So, follow along with your original cast recording, if you can; or just sing the lyrics you can hear, the way I do!
Aside from the catchy melody and staccato lyrics, the thing I like most about the title song is the use of the electric piano, which I find very exciting. As good as it sounds on the recording, it is really galvanizing in person. No production except the original and the concert revival in 1993 used an electric piano; I consider it sacrilege to omit this instrument.
Click here for 30-seconds from the original Broadway cast album.
Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Bobby bubi Robby Robert darling Bobby, we've been trying to call you. Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Bobby bubi Angel, I've got something to tell you Bob Rob-o Bobby love Bobby honey Bobby, we've been trying to reach you all day Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Angel Darling The kids were asking, Bobby Bobby Robert Robby Bob-o Bobby, there was something we wanted to say. Bobby Bobby bubi Sweetheart Sugar Your line was busy What have you been up to, kiddo? Bobby, Bobby how have you been? Fella Sweetie How have you been? Bobby, Bobby, how have you been? Stop by on your way home Bobby we've been thinking of you! Drop by anytime Bobby, there's a concert on Tuesday. Hank and Mary get into town tomorrow How about some scrabble on Sunday Why don't we all go to the beach? Bob, we're having people in Saturday night. Bobby Bobby Bobby, baby Whatcha doing Thursday? Bobby Angel Bobby bubi Time we got together, is Wednesday all right? Bobby Bob-o Bobby honey Eight o'clock on Monday Robby darling Bobby fella Bobby baby Bobby, come on over for dinner! We'll be so glad to see you! Bobby, come on over for dinner! Just be the three of us Only the three of us, We loooooove you! Phone rings, door chimes, in comes company! No strings, good times, room hums, company! Late nights, quick bites, party games, Deep talks, long walks, telephone calls, Thoughts shared, souls bared, private names, All those photos up on the walls "With love", With love filling the days, With love seventy ways, "To Bobby, with love" From all Those Good and crazy people, my friends, Those Good and crazy people, my married friends! And that's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's really about, Really about! Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Bobby bubi Robby Robert darling Angel, will you do me a favor? Bobby Bobby Name it, Sarah Bobby baby Bobby bubi Listen, pal, I'd like your opinion Bob Rob-o Try me, Peter. Bobby love Bobby there's a problem--I need your advice Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Angel Darling Just half an hour Amy, can I cal you back tomorrow? Honey, if you'd visit the kids once or twice Bobby Bobby, Bobby bubi Sugar Jenny, I could take them to the zoo Bobby, Bobby, where have you been? Fella, kiddo, where have you been? Bobby, how have you been? Stop by on your way home Susan, love, I'll make it after seven if I can. Bobby, dear, I don't mean to pry. Bobby, we've been thinking of you! Bobby, we've been thinking of you! Drop by anytime Sorry, Paul, I made a date with Larry and Joanne. Bobby, dear, it's none of my business Lookit, pal, I have to work Thursday evening Darling, you've been looking peculiar Bobby boy, you know how I hate the opera Funny thing, your name came up only last night I shouldn't say this but April, Marta, Listen, people Bobby, we've been worried, you sure you're all right Bobby, Bobby, Bobby baby Did I do something wrong? Bobby bubi, Bobby fella, Bobby, Bobby Bobby, come on over for dinner! We'll be so glad to see you! Bobby, come on over for dinner! Just be the three of us, Only the three of us, We loooooove you! Phone rings, door chimes, in comes company! No strings, good times, just chums, company! Late nights, quick bites, party games, Deep talks, long walks, telephone calls, Thoughts shared, souls bared, private names, All those photos up on the walls "With love", With love filling the days, With love seventy ways, "To Bobby, with love" From all These Good and crazy people, your friends, Those good and crazy people, your married friends! And that's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's really about, isn't it? That's what it's really about, really about! Isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it? You I love and you I love and you and you I love And you I love and you I love and you and you I love, I love you! Company! Company! Company, lots of company! Years of company! Love is company! Company!
This is a number sung mainly by Elaine Stritch while Barbara Barrie and Charles Kimbrough, one of the married couples, engage in a little martial arts skirmish in the presence of their good friend Robert. Barbara Barrie was so tiny and elfin with her pixie haircut, so it was doubly funny seeing her fling Kimbrough around; after the first bout, when he challenges her to a rematch, I love the way she says "OAK-AY" (OK). COMPANY was criticized by many writers as being anti-marriage, but you only have to take a good look at these clever lyrics to realize that they are pretty insightful about the ups and downs of living together, whether you have a marriage certificate or not. (It was not until I saw the Donmar Warehouse staging by Sam Mendes that I finally saw that the show really is anti-marriage; as his version is a lot more bitter and vitriolic than the original show). The 2006 concert version with Raul Esparza not only just mimed this karate business, but also the husband and wife were not even near each other, being on opposite sides of the stage.
If you have Real Audio, click here for 30 seconds of THE LITTLE THINGS YOU DO TOGETHER.
It's the little things you do together, Do together, Do together, That make perfect relationships. The hobbies you pursue together, Savings you accrue together, Looks you misconstrue together That makes marriage a joy. Mm-hm... It's the little things you share together, Swear together, Wear together, That make perfect relationships, The concerts you enjoy together, Neighbors you annoy together Children you destroy together, That keeps marriage intact. It's not so hard to be married When two maneuver as one, It's not so hard to be married And, Jesus Christ, is it fun. It's sharing little winks together, Drinks together, Kinks together, That makes marriage a joy. The bargains that you shop together, Cigarettes you stop together, Clothing that you swap together, That make perfect relationships. Uh-huh... Mm-hm... It's not talk of God and the decade ahead that Allows you to get through the worst It's "I do" and "You don't" and "Nobody said that" And "Who brought the subject up first?" It's the little things, the little things, the little things It's the little things, the little things, the little things The little ways you try together, Cry together, Lie together, That make perfect relationships. Becoming a cliche together, Growing old and gray together Withering away together That makes marriage a joy. It's not so hard to be married, It's much the simplest of crimes. It's not so hard to be married, I've done it three or four times. It's people that you hate together, Bait together, Date together, That make marriage a joy. It's things like using force together, Shouting till you're hoarse together, Getting a divorce together, That make perfect relationships Uh-huh Kiss, kiss Mm-hm.
I don't remember too much about the staging of this number, except that the wife (Barbara Barrie) walks on stage on the line "she walks in" and exits on the line "she goes out" and this was a nice little touch. This lovely staging touch was not duplicated in the 2006 concert version.
If you have Real Audio, click here for 30-seconds of SORRY/GRATEFUL.
You're always sorry, You're always grateful, You're always wondering what might have been. Then she walks in. And still you're sorry, And still you're grateful, And still you wonder and still you doubt, And she goes out. Everything's different, Nothing's changed, Only maybe slightly Rearranged. You're sorry-grateful, Regretful-happy. Why look for answers where none occur? You always are what you always were, Which has nothing to do with, All to do with her. You're always sorry, You're always grateful, You hold her thinking, "I'm not alone." You're still alone. You don't live for her, You do live with her, You're scared she's starting to drift away And scared she'll stay. Good things get better, Bad get worse. Wait--I think I meant that in reverse. You're sorry-grateful, Regretful-happy, Why look for answers where none occur? You'll always be what you always were, Which has nothing to do with, All to do with her. You'll always be what you always were, Which has nothing to do with, All to do with her. Nothing to do with, All to do with her.
This is my favorite number from the show; I find it rather hard to sing along to now that my energy level is no longer youthfully enthusiastic! It was staged much slower in the London version (same director, Hal Prince), and while I preferred the faster version at that time because it was what I was familiar with from the recording, I think the lyrics are so clever that slowing them down was the right decision, in order to give audiences a better chance to understand them. When the production was revived in 1995, Sondheim had rewritten the line "I can understand a person If a person was a fag" to something more politically correct: "I could understand a person if he said to go away, I could understand a person if he happened to be gay." The 2006 concert version also used these substitute lyrics. In addition, the 3 young ladies who sang this played the sax instead of the "doo-doo-doo-doo's".
If you have Real Audio, click here for 30 seconds of YOU COULD DRIVE A PERSON CRAZY.
Doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo You could drive a person crazy, You could drive a person mad. Doo-doo doo-doo doo. First you make a person hazy So a person could be had. Doo-doo doo-doo doo. Then you leave a person dangling sadly Outside your door, Which it only makes a person gladly Want you even more. I can understand a person If it's not a person's bag. Doo-doo doo-doo doo. I can understand a person If a person was a fag. Doo-doo doo-doo doo. Boo-boo-boo-boo. But worse than that, A person that Titillates a person then and leaves her flat Is crazy, He's a troubled person He's a truly crazy person Himself. You crummy bastard! You sonofabitch! When a person's personality is personable He shouldn't oughta sit like a lump. It's harder than a matador coercin' a bull To try to get you offa your rump. So single and attentive and attractive a man Is everything a person could wish But turning off a person is the act of a man Who likes to pull the hooks out of fish. Knock, knock, is anybody there? Knock, knock, it really isn't fair, Knock, knock, I'm working on my charms. Knock, knock, a zombie's in my arms. All that sweet affection, What is wrong? Where's the loose connection? How long, oh Lord, how long? Bobby, baby, Bobby, bubi, Bobby, You could drive a person buggy, You could blow a person's cool. Doo-doo doo-doo doo. Like you make a person feel all huggy While you make her feel a fool. Doo-doo doo-doo doo. When a person says that you've upset her That's when you're good. You impersonate a person better Than a zombie should. I could understand a person If he wasn't good in bed. Doo-doo doo-doo doo. I could understand a person If he actually was dead. Doo-doo doo-doo. Exclusive you, Elusive you, Will any person ever get the juice of you? You're crazy, You're a lovely person, You're a moving deeply maladjusted, Never to be trusted Crazy person Yourself. Bobby is my hobby, and I'm giving it up!
HAVE I GOT A GIRL FOR YOU
If you have access to Real Audio, click here for 30 seconds of HAVE I GOT A GIRL FOR YOU.
Bobby, Bobby, Bobby baby, Bobby bubi, Robby, Robert darling, Bobby, we've been trying to teach you. Angel, I've got something to tell you Bobby, it's important or I wouldn't call Whatcha doing Thursday? Bobby, look I know how you hate it and all But this is something special Not that you don't know a lot of lovely girls, but Bobby, come on over for dinner. There's someone we want you to meet, Bobby, come on over for dinner This girl from the office My niece from Ohio. It'll just be the four of us. You'll loooooove her! Have I got a girl for you? Wait till you meet her! Have I got a girl for you, boy? Hoo, boy! Dumb! and with a weakness for Sazerac slings-- You give her even the fruit and she swings. The kind of girl you can't send through the mails. Call me tomorrow, I want the details. Have I got a chick for you? Wait till you meet her! Have I got a chick for you, boy? Hoo, boy! Smart! She's into all those exotic mystiques: The Kama sutra and Chinese techniques. I hear she knows more than seventy-five. Call me tomorrow if you're still alive. Have I got a girl for you? Wait till you meet her! Have I got a girl for you, boy? Hoo, boy! Boy, to be in your shoes what I wouldn't give. I mean the freedom to go out and live. And as for settling down and all that, Marriage may be where it's been, But it's not where it's at! Whaddaya like, you like coming home to a kiss? Somebody with a smile at the door? Whaddaya like, you like indescribable bliss? Then whaddaya wanna get married for? Whaddaya like, you like an excursion to Rome, Suddenly taking off to explore? Whaddaya like, you like having meals cooked at home? Then whaddaya wanna get married for? Whaddaya wanna get married for? Whaddaya wanna get married for? Whaddaya wanna get married for?
SOMEONE IS WAITING
I've just never liked this number; I understand that Robert is yearning for someone, and perhaps it is an attempt to explain why so attractive and eligible a bachelor who obviously likes girls is still unattached -- hung up on finding a perfect "someone" - but this is a number I generally skip over. I did like the way Raul Esparza did this in 2006, however. Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast.
Someone is waiting, Cool as Sarah, Easy and loving as Susan-- Jenny. Someone is waiting, Warm as Susan, Frantic and touching as Amy-- Joanne. Would I know her even if I met her? Have I missed her? Did I let her go? A Susan sort of Sarah, A Jennyish Joanne, Wait for me, I'm ready now, I'll find you if I can! Someone will hold me, Soft as Jenny, Skinny and blue-eyed as Amy-- Susan. Someone will wake me, Sweet as Amy, Tender and foolish as Sarah-- Joanne. Did I know her? have I waited too long? Maybe so, but maybe so has she, My blue-eyed Sarah Warm Joanne Sweet Jenny Loving Susan Crazy Amy, Wait for me, I'll hurry, wait for me. Hurry. Wait for me. Hurry. Wait for me.
ANOTHER HUNDRED PEOPLE
I think of this as the quintessential New York song. New York, where the traffic never stops: trains, subways, buses, planes, people pouring into and out of the city and rushing around inside it. A magnet for people to find jobs and spend their leisure time. The on target visual images of the "dusty trees with the battered barks" and the "postered walls with the crude remarks". How difficult it is to get hold of people - "did you get my message?" It's just a wonderful time capsule of New York. This number was dropped during the Boston tryouts, but eventually reinstated. Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast. In the show, this number is interrupted by little vignettes with the 3 single women in Bobby's life; during the 2006 concert version, Angel Desai as Marta had some trouble with her mike, and the beginning of the song was not broadcast (a sad commentary on how today's performers can't be heard from 30 feet away because they are unable to project without electronic support); when her mike began to work, then she had trouble with reaching one of the high notes, so that after the song was interrupted for one of the sketches, the understudy Katrina Yaukey suddenly appeared, like a magic trick, to complete this number and finish the show.
Another hundred people just got off of the train And came up through the ground While another hundred people just got off of the bus And are looking around At another hundred people who got off of the plane And are looking at us Who got off of the train And the plane and the bus Maybe yesterday. It's a city of strangers. Some come to work, some to play. A city of strangers. Some come to stare, some to stay. And every day The ones who stay Can find each other in the crowded streets and the guarded parks, By the rusty fountains and the dusty trees with the battered barks, And they walk together past the postered walls with the crude remarks, And they meet at parties through the friends of friends Who they never know. Will you pick me up or do I meet you there Shall we let it go? Did you get my message? 'Cause I looked in vain. Can we see other Tuesday if it doesn't rain? Look, I'll call you in the morning Or my service'll explain... And another hundred people just got off of the train.
GETTING MARRIED TODAY
This was sung by Beth Howland who went on to play Vera on the TV sitcom ALICE. She is a reluctant bride who has cold feet on her wedding day. This is an impossible-to-sing song because there is no place to take a breath and Beth had to do it 8 times a week! I never actually heard all of the lyrics until Julie Andrews sang it in the Sondheim revue PUTTING IT TOGETHER (she has phenomenal diction and breath control). This is another quodlibet type number where the groom (Steve Elmore) and the chorus (Teri Ralston and Company) all sing something different at pretty much the same time as the bride. A very frustrating song for someone like me who wants to sing along! Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast.
Sondheim: "One function of rhyme is that it shows intelligence and a controlled state of mind. The run-on sections of the bride number, GETTING MARRIED TODAY, in COMPANY were purposely without rhyme."
Bless this day, pinnacle of life, Husband joined to wife, The heart leaps up to behold This golden day. Today is for Amy, Amy, I give you the rest of my life. To cherish and to keep you, To honor you forever, Today is for Amy, My happily soon-to-be wife. Pardon me, is everybody here? Because if everybody's Here I want to thank you all for coming to the wedding. I'd ap- Preciate your going even more, I mean, you must have lots of Better things to do. And not a word of it to Paul. Remember Paul? You know, the man I'm gonna marry, but I'm not because I Wouldn't ruin anyone as wonderful as he is-- Thank you all For the gifts and the flowers. Thank you all, Now it's back to the showers. Don't tell Paul, But I'm not getting married today. Bless this day, tragedy of life, Husband joined to wife. The heart sinks down and feels dead This dreadful day. Listen everybody, look, I don't know what you're waiting for--a Wedding, what's a wedding? It's a prehistoric ritual where Everybody promises fidelity forever, which is Maybe the most horrifying word I ever heard, and which is Followed by a honeymoon, where suddenly he'll realize he's Saddled with a nut and wanna kill me and he should. Thanks a bunch, But I'm not getting married. Go have lunch, 'Cause I'm not getting married. You've been grand, But I'm not getting married. Don't just stand there, I'm not getting married. And don't tell Paul But I'm not getting married today! Go! Can't you go? Why is nobody listening? Goodbye! Go and cry At another person's wake. If you're quick, for a kick You could pick up a christening, But please, on my knees, There's a human life at stake. Listen everybody, I'm afraid you didn't hear, or do you Want to see a crazy lady fall apart in front of you? It Isn't only Paul who may be ruining his life, you know, we'll Both of us be losing our identities--I telephoned my Analyst about it but he said to see him Monday, and by Monday I'll be floating in the Hudson, with the other garbage. I'm not well, So I'm not getting married. You've been swell, But I'm not getting married. Clear the hall 'Cause I'm not getting married. Thank you all But I'm not getting married. And don't tell Paul, But I'm not getting married today! Bless this bride, totally insane, Slipping down the drain, And bless this day in our hearts As it starts to rain. Go, can't you go? Look, you know I adore you all, But why watch me die Like Eliza on the ice? Look perhaps I'll collapse In the apse right Before you all So take back the cake, Burn the shoes and boil the rice. Look, I didn't want to have to tell you, But I may be coming down with hepatitis And I think I'm gonna faint, So if you wanna see me faint, I'll do it happily, But wouldn't it be funnier To go and watch a funeral? So thank you for the Twenty-seven dinner plates and Thirty-seven butter knives and Forty-seven paperweights and Fifty-seven candle-holders One more thing I'm not getting married. Softly said But I'm not getting married With this ring See, I'm not getting married I thee wed Still, I'm not getting married. Let us pray, That I'm not Getting married today!
This number was moved from the latter part of the second act to the opening of the act as the show was developed.
Michael Bennett's choreography for this number included cute little shoulder shrugs and head turns at the "you-oo, through-oo" lines. Michael Bennett on his choreography: "I knew it was a chance to do something different because there was so much subtext...I don't think anyone has demanded of non-dancers as much movement as I did in COMPANY....The actors would find ways of performing the show a certain way that would save energy."
This song builds to a tug of war with Bobby in the middle which seemed totally appropriate, but which Sondheim didn't like. Michael Bennett: "The only thing that Steve and I had any disagreement on in COMPANY was the tug-of-war in that number WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT YOU? He didn't want it used as an image and I felt that's where Bobby was and I thought it worked."
The real genius of the number is the way the lyrics and
choreography collaborate in a very visual metaphor which clearly
demonstrates that everyone else is a couple but Bobby is all
alone: The refrain "side by side by side" has been repeated,
but suddenly it becomes just "side by side" and then each married
couple does a little dance step; when they've all done their
individual dances; the cast sings "side by side" one more time,
and Bobby dances expectantly, but no one joins him; there's an
awkward beat. It's a very powerful moment on stage for such
a lighthearted number. In the 2006 concert version, where
the cast was also the orchestra, instead of this dance, the
performers playing the married couples would play their
instruments, first the man, then the woman; when it came to
Bobby's turn, Raul Esparza brought out a kazoo, but no one played
an answering instrument (perhaps the Swanee whistle, as on I'M
SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE), so the same staging idea was worked out
in a different way. This is one moment in the 2011 TV
version that I felt did not land at all.
Arthur Laurents points to this one moment he really cared about in COMPANY - the one when Bobby had nobody to tap with in SIDE BY SIDE BY SIDE. "That was emotional, it was visual, it was theatre, it was what musical theatre should be." Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast.
Isn't it warm, isn't it rosy Side by side by side? Ports in a storm, comfy and cozy Side by side by side. Everything shines, how sweet Side by side by side Parallel lines who meet Love him, can't get enough of him. Everyone winks, nobody's nosy Side by side by side You make the drinks and I'll bring the posies Side by side by side One is lonely and two is boring Think what you can keep ignoring Side by side by side Never a bother, seven times a godfather! Year after year, older and older Sharing a tear, lending a shoulder Ain't we got fun, no strain Permanent sun, no rain We're so crazy, he's so sane. Friendship forbids anything bitter Being the kids as well as the sitter One's impossible, two is dreary Three is company, safe and cheery Side by side Here is the church, here is the steeple Open the door and see all the crazy married people: What would we do without you? How would we ever get through? Who would I complain to for hours? Who'd bring me the flowers when I had the flu? Who'd finish yesterday's stew? Who'd take the kids to the zoo? Who is so dear and who is so deep? And who would keep her occupied when I want to sleep? How would we every get through? What would we do without you? What would we do without you? How would we ever get through? Should there be a marital squabble Available Bob'll be there with the glue. Who could we open up to Secrets we keep from guess who? Who is so safe and who is so sound? You never need an analyst with Bobby around. How would we ever get through What would we do without you? What would we do without you-oo? How would we ever get through-oo? Who sends anniversary wishes? Who helps with the dishes And never says boo? Who changes subject on cue-oo? Who cheers us up when we're blue-oo? Who is a flirt but never a threat? Reminds us of our birthdays which we always forget? How would we ever get through? What would we do without you? What would we do without you? How would we ever get, how would we ever get How would we ever get, how would we ever get through? What would we do without you? Just what you usually do. Right! You who sit with us, you who share with us, You who fit with us, you who bear with us, Yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo! OK, now, everybody: Isn't it warm, isn't it cozy Side by side (dance) Ports in a storm, comfy and cozy Side by side (dance) Everything shines, how sweet Side by side (dance) Parallel lines who meet Side by side (incomplete dance) Year after year, older and older Side by side Sharing a tear and lending a shoulder Side by side Two's impossible, two is gloomy Give another number to me Side by side by side By side by side by side by side by side by side by side by side by side by side by side!
This is a funny number where all the wives (in their bathrobes) who are Bobby's friends worry about him being single and living a sad bachelor life (when in reality he's dating several women simultaneously and is actually in the process of seducing a stewardess) and once they see him with a woman not of their own choice, comment on her unfavorably (the best line goes to Elaine Stritch who says "she's very tall", then later "she's tall enough to be your mother!"; and, finally, the ultimate put down: "Goliath!")
Sondheim: "The funniest lyric line isn't even rhymed; it's just shoved in there during the scene where Bobby is in bed with the stewardess. All the wives are singing POOR BABY, knocking the girl he's in bed with, and Elaine Stritch comments, 'She's tall enough to be your mother'." Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast. In the original show, Bobby and the airline stewardess April are in bed during this number; in the 2006 concert version, which had no props or set, they just kiss and caress each other at the piano.
Darling. Yes? Robert. What? I worry. Why? He's all alone. There's no one... Where? In his life? Oh. Robert ought to have a woman. Poor baby, all alone, Evening after evening by the telephone. We're the only tenderness he's ever known. Poor baby. David. Yes? Robert. What? I worry. Why? It's such a waste. There's no one. Where? In his life. Oh. Robert ought to have a woman. Poor baby, sitting there, Staring at the walls and playing solitaire, Making conversation with the empty air. Poor baby. Robert. Bobby. Robert angel. Bobby honey. You know, no one Wants you to be happy More than I do. No one, but Isn't she a little bit, well, You know, Face it. Why her? Better, no one...wants you to be happy More than I do. No one, but...isn't she a little bit, Well, you know, face it. You know, no one Wants you to be happy More than I do. No one, but Isn't she a little bit, well Dumb? Where is she from? Tacky? Neurotic? She seems so dead. Vulgar? Aggressive? Peculiar? Old? And cheap and Tall? She's tall enough to be your mother. She's very weird Gross and Depressing, and And immature Goliath, Poor baby, All alone, Throw a lonely dog a bone, It's still a bone. We're the only tenderness He's ever known. Poor baby.
This is an instrumental selection for a dance by Donna McKechnie that interprets what's happening while Bobby and April are making love. This culminates in Robert's inability to say "I love you". Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast. This number was dropped from the 2006 concert version. In the 2011 TV version, it was performed by several women dancers.
This is a dialogue entirely in song which is a precursor of future, more operatic Sondheim numbers. It's sung between April, an airline stewardess, and Bobby, who is trying to talk her into staying the night (they've already had sex). He is playing the field and has other girlfriends and can't even remember her name (he calls her "June", which is at least the name of a month, like "April"; in the dialogue in the midst of TICK TOCK, Bobby says "if only I could remember her name!") and when he finally talks her into staying, he immediately has second thoughts. The recording of this number was part of the 1970 D.A. Pennebaker documentary about the making of the original cast album, and because the stewardess eventually is talked into missing the flight, the airline who was lined up to sponsor the TV documentary pulled out of sponsoring the show! Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast.
Where you going? Barcelona. Oh. Don't get up. Do you have to? Yes, I have to. Oh. Don't get up. Now you're angry. No, I'm not. Yes, you are. No, I'm not. Put your things down. See, you're angry. No, I'm not. Yes, you are. No, I'm not. Put your wings down And stay. I'm leaving. Why? To go to-- Stay. I have to Fly I know To Barcelona. Look, You're a very special girl, Not just overnight. No, you're a very special girl, Not because you're bright-- Not just because you're bright. You're just a very special girl, June! April. April. Thank you. Whatcha thinking? Barcelona. Oh. Flight Eighteen. Stay a minute. I would like to. So? Don't be mean. Stay a minute. No, I can't. Yes, you can. No, I can't. Where you going? Barcelona. So you said And Madrid Bon voyage. On a Boeing. Good night. You're angry. No. I've got to-- Right. Report to-- Go. That's not to Say That if I had my way... Oh well, I guess okay. What? I'll stay. But... Oh, God!
This is the dramatic high point of COMPANY and a tour de force for Elaine Stritch whose raspy voice seemed made to sing these sarcastic lyrics. This number is also the dramatic high point of the 1970 D.A. Pennebaker documentary about the making of the original cast album, as it was recorded the last thing of a very long day, and by this time Stritch's voice was not up to the perfection Sondheim and album producer Thomas Z. Shepard required. Nevertheless, they make her do it over and over, before finally giving up. Shepherd: "COMPANY was one of the longest recording sessions we've ever done. We began at 10 o'clock Sunday morning and 18 1/2 hours later, at 4:30 Monday morning, we concluded. It was a complicated show and it was too good to settle on anything less than perfection."
Stritch is recalled to do it later, on a day when she is coifed
and made up for the Broadway show, and the contrast to the
fatigued and casually dressed Stritch of earlier is striking. The
way she says the line "does anyone still wear a hat?" is so ironic
that when the concert version of the show was done at Lincoln
Center with the original cast, the theatre actually sold baseball
caps with this phrase on it, and no indication of what show it was
from. As I've played this number over the years, I have
noted how Life magazine, which is mentioned, went out of
business for years and then made a return. In a February
2002 article about Elaine Stritch on her return to Broadway in her
one-woman show AT LIBERTY, NEWSWEEK quoted Stephen Sondheim on
this song: "You've turned what I thought was just a simple
saloon song into a piece of theatre." In the
2006 concert version, Barbara Walsh, who played Joanne, did the
best version I've heard since Stritchie. Unfortunately, it
was staged so that she continued to sing "Everybody rise" at the
end, even after the music stopped ; because she and the music
didn't finish together, the audience didn't get a chance to
applaud for her at the end of this dynamite number, and I think
that was a bad mistake.
Writing in ANYTHING GOES (Oxford University Press 2013), Ethan Mordden says of this number: "A combination blueprint and epitaph for a fabled New York type, it is that rarity, a piece utterly unlike anything else ever written." Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast.
I'd like to propose a toast. Here's to the ladies who lunch-- Everybody laugh. Lounging in their caftans and planning a brunch On their own behalf. Off to the gym, Then to a fitting, Claiming they're fat. And looking grim 'Cause they've been sitting Choosing a hat-- Does anyone still wear a hat? I'll drink to that. Here's to the girls who stay smart-- Aren't they a gas? Rushing to their classes in optical art, Wishing it would pass. Another long exhausting day, Another thousand dollars, A matinee, a Pinter play, Perhaps a piece of Mahler's-- I'll drink to that, And one for Mahler. Here's to the girls who play wife-- Aren't they too much? Keeping house but clutching a copy of Life Just to keep in touch. The ones who follow the rules And meet themselves at the schools, Too busy to know that they're fools-- Aren't they a gem? I'll drink to them. Let's all drink to them. And here's to the girls who just watch-- Aren't they the best? When they get depressed, it's a bottle of Scotch Plus a little jest. Another chance to disapprove, Another brilliant zinger, Another reason not to move, Another vodka stinger-- Aaahh--I'll drink to that. So here's to the girls on the go-- Everybody tries. Look into their eyes and you'll see what they know: Everybody dies. A toast to that invincible bunch--- The dinosaurs surviving the crunch-- Let's hear it for the ladies who lunch-- Everybody rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise!
If LADIES WHO LUNCH is the dramatic high point of COMPANY, then this is the song which sums up what the creators wanted to say about marriage, which is basically: can't live with it, can't live without it. Sondheim quoting Chekhov: "'If you're afraid of loneliness, don't marry.' In the deepest sense, this is what COMPANY is about."
This is not the version Sondheim originally wrote, which was called HAPPILY EVER AFTER (which Sondheim called a "scream of pain"). Sondheim: "Bobby was fighting against something he knew, instead of suddenly realizing it." That number was replaced in Boston with BEING ALIVE, which Sondheim said he loves, but still feels with BEING ALIVE, the ending of the show was a cop-out. Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast.
When the Roundhouse revived the show in 1995, they restored an alternate version called MARRY ME A LITTLE which they placed at the end of the first act. It was also there in the Donmar Warehouse production, after Amy turns down Robert's proposal and goes off to be married and likewise in the 2006 concert version. Also, in this 2006 concert version, after all the "Bobby babies", Raul Esparza shouted "shut up!" in such an anguished tone, it was quite wrenching. His is the best version of this song I've ever heard.
Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Bobby bubi Robby Robert darling Bobby, we've been trying to call you. Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Bobby bubi Angel, I've got something to tell you. Bob Rob-o Bobby love Bobby honey Bobby, we've been trying to reach you all day. Bobby Bobby Bobby baby Angel Darling The kids were asking, Bobby Bobby Robert Robby Robert Robby Bob-o Bobby, there was something we wanted to say. Bobby Bobby bubi Sweetheart Sugar Your line was busy Bobby Stop! What do you get? Someone to hold you too close, Someone to hurt you too deep, Someone to sit in your chair, To ruin your sleep. Someone to need you too much, Someone to know you too well, Someone to pull you up short To put you through hell. Someone you have to let in, Someone whose feelings you spare, Someone who, like it or not, will want you to share A little, a lot. Someone to crowd you with love, Someone to force you to care, Someone to make you come through, Who'll always be there, as frightened as you, Of being alive, Being alive, being alive, being alive. Somebody, hold me too close, Somebody, hurt me too deep, Somebody, sit in my chair And ruin my sleep and make me aware Of being alive, being alive. Somebody, need me too much, Somebody, know me too well, Somebody, pull me up short And put me through hell and give me support For being alive. Make me alive, make me alive, Make me confused, mock me with praise, Let me be used, vary my days, But alone is alone, not alive. Somebody, crowd me with love, Somebody, force me to care, Somebody, make me come through. I'll always be there as frighted as you, To help us survive Being alive, being alive, being alive.
Sondheim on reprises. "I find the notion that the same lyric can apply in the first act and the second act very suspect. Most of the time the character has moved beyond, particularly if you're telling a story of any weight or density. COMPANY was a show where we could have used reprises, because it's about a fellow who stayed exactly the same, but I didn't want him to be the essential singing character, so I decided not to."
The show opens and closes with all of Robert's friends gathered together to wish him happy birthday. Whenever I've seen the show, I just assumed the events in the show lasted a year, until another birthday came around, but I believe the intention was that the events were meant to take place in Robert's mind in the split second before everyone wishes him Happy Birthday. This is made more explicit in the 1996 Donmar Warehouse production (where it's also clear Robert is an unhappy alcoholic and cocaine user). In any case, it makes it very appropriate for this same song to both open and close the show. Plus this is one last chance to hear that great electric piano! Click here for 30 seconds from the original Broadway cast. This finale was also cut from the 2006 concert version and the 2011 TV version.
We loooooove you! Phone rings, door chimes, in comes company! No strings, good times, just chums, company! Late nights, quick bites, party games, Deep talks, long walks, telephone calls, Thoughts shared, souls bared, private names, All those photos up on the walls "With love", With love filling the days, With love seventy ways, "To Bobby, with love" From all These Good and crazy people, your friends, Those good and crazy people, your married friends! And that's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's really about, isn't it? That's what it's really about, really about! Isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it? Isn't it? You I love and you I love and you and you I love And you I love and you I love and you and you I love, I love you! Company! Company! Company, lots of company! Years of company! Love is company! Company!
When we auditioned, Barbara was asked to sing the same audition piece - HOW ARE THINGS IN GLOCCA MORRA - in higher and higher keys until it was ridiculous. She had already told them what her top note was. The thing was that her role had a song which went high. When she got the role, someone else sang the song.
My audition was also funny. After we had sung for Hal Prince in New York and told him we were heading for a vacation in the Alps, and would be stopping in London on the way, he said, "see you in London". We didn't know if he meant for tea or for another audition with the English producer. We went straight from the airport to the theatre and were seen immediately. By that time Barbara had lost her voice but Hal said "she's fine, I've heard her". Backstage I met the audition pianist who asked me what I was going to sing, what music I had brought with me. I had nothing so I said,"I'll sing happy birthday." He spluttered his reply to me, obviously very upset. "You can't sing that", he said. "Why not?" I replied. "Well,....... it's too short!" "Well then," I said, "I'll sing it twice!" So we went on stage all ready to sing it, but as soon as Hal saw me he said, "oh, he's fine" and I never got to sing.
Hal told his English counterpart to hire us and left the country. This gave us a very good leverage to ask for the top salary which we got, meager as it was. We played the show for 6 months, taking over when some of the original cast had to leave because of English Actor's Equity rules. Unless you were considered a leading, starring role, you had to be replaced. Luckily my British passport also helped Barbara.
The London Times gave me a nice review that I couldn't believe. They said that I (as David) was "awesomely authentic as the pot-smoking executive." I had to smoke on stage, something I have never done at all. They got me the lightest cigarettes possible, I think they were made out of lettuce!
I always had trouble with the American ‘r' sound which appeared in my solo lines constantly.
Connie Booth was in our cast but, psychosomatically, fell down a flight of stairs to avoid being in the show. She had no vocal attack and simply couldn't sing the Bobby baby lyrics which require a lot of attack..... she sounded more like ‘Obby, ‘aby..... no "B" sounds!
We had been rehearsing for a while and not ‘getting it' - not understanding the meaning behind anything until Michael Bennett showed up and was brilliant at helping us get on track.
Our conductor was Gareth Davies, whose style of conducting was so fluid that you couldn't pick out the beat anywhere. Some of the cues were very tricky and if you looked to him for help, there was none!
All lyrics posted copyright 1970 Stephen
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