Company is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by George Furth. It concerns the relationships between Bobby, a single man who is celebrating his 35th birthday, the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most "book musicals," which follow a clearly delineated plot, Company is a "concept musical", comprised of short vignettes in no particular chronological order, all of them tied together with a surprise 35th birthday party. It is often considered the first concept musical.
Company is among the first musicals to deal with more adult problems through its music. As Sondheim put it, "they are middle class people with middle class problems". It is also one of the first musicals where the songs commented on the characters in the play instead of furthering the plot, a device which became a standard of Sondheim's. Among the memorable songs in the show are "The Little Things You Do Together", "Sorry-Grateful", "Another Hundred People", "Getting Married Today", "The Ladies Who Lunch", "Being Alive", and the title song.
Company opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on April 26, 1970 and starred Dean Jones, Barbara Barrie, Charles Kimbrough, Beth Howland, and Elaine Stritch. It was the first of several successful collaborations between Sondheim and director Harold Prince. The musical ran for 706 performances and it went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical. It was revived on Broadway in 1996 by the Roundabout Theatre Company.
A new revival of Company is in the works for Broadway in the fall of 2006 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on 47th Street. The production, directed by John Doyle (director of the current Broadway revival of Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd"), was initially produced at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in March, 2006. Starring Raul Esparza, it was critically heralded by the New York Times. The limited run (March 14 - April 14) played to sold out houses for the majority of its run.