SHOWING : July 19, 2007 - July 29, 2007
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
Not that bad|
Saturday, September 8, 2007 ||
I think some of the reviews for "Company" are a little too harsh. It certainly wasn't a great show, and the performers were very amateurish, but I did enjoy watching it. I think we should be more kind to the cast because they worked with difficult material and did their best while on stage. Let's cut them a break. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW] |
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 ||
After attending what is an admittedly difficult-to-stage and suppose-to-be urbane Stephen Sondheim tuner “Company”, I literally ran screaming from the theatre, followed closely by my equally disgusted husband and mother, after watching one of the worst productions of a musical I’ve seen in years. |
What we suffered through was amateurish enough to make us gasp in our seats as we witnessed off-tune singing; non-acting; direction that appears haphazard; rudimentary, self-congratulatory, and clueless choreography; design elements that work against the piece every step of the way; and technical problems with lighting that disrupted the flow and presentation of this terrible production.
In the middle of the evening is Bill Mahlandt as eternal bachelor Bobby. Poor Mahlandt has a strong voice and good stage presence, but he is left to fend for himself amongst a cast of orators, and with nothing to react to, his character flattens. Save for one other, the terrific Dennis Lewallen, the “company” is uniformly awful. Rachel Miller as Bobby’s girlfriend Marta is perky, but rushes through her lines and adds trills to her singing of “Another Hundred People” to cover for the fact that she can’t sustain notes on key. Lisa Williams’s Susan, Lee Carp’s April, and Charlie Miller’s Larry all perform their lines with generic or no emotions. Finally, Katie Rouse’s performance of the iconic Joanne showed that she was both too young and unable to produce the necessary blowzy attitude crucial to her role.
I recognize that it is easy for critics to fall into the trap of praising and condemning with grand words, but I cannot exaggerate the depths to which this production burrows. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
| || A Message to Fanatic, the Great Gaspy by Dennis Lewallen|
| I guess I should be grateful that the one positive comment in your review, Fanatic, was directed at me. However, seeing an extreme review with such drama-filled comments as “…run screaming from the theatre,” “disgusted,” “gasping in our seats” makes it difficult to accept your compliment as a valid one. |
My responsibility in this production extended beyond my onstage role—I functioned as musical director and producer of Stage II’s “Company”. I had considerable input into casting the show and I chose the director. The singers in this show earned their roles by proving themselves highly trained, experienced and qualified to appear in a Sondheim show—something not every performer can manage. The degree to which anyone achieves success is always open to debate. Whether or not this hard-working cast, crew and director met their goal of excellence, their efforts were offered under their own names, while your sneering, destructive review was offered under the cover of an anonymous posting. Are you willing to offer your review under your own name and allow an assessment of your abilities as a writer and reviewer?
The one issue I will address is the comment leveled at Rachel Miller. Ms. Miller’s performance as singer and actress in her role as Marta was everything I hoped it would be. Unfortunately, for her and our audiences, she suffered from a virus which prevented her from singing “Another Hundred People” for most of our final weekend. She continued to perform her role with energy despite being ill, as we, like every other community theatre perform without understudies—and proved herself a professional. She did sing in the final performance—and while her voice was not as strong as it usually is, she gave a damned good performance of a technically difficult Sondheim song—and there is no greater challenge to a singer than Sondheim-- with grace, style and undeniable talent. There was not one “trill” to be heard from this superbly talented young woman. Bravo, Rachel! And, once again, Fanatic, she offered what she did under her own name, and audiences will applaud Rachel Miller for years to come.
Staging “Company” was a risk. It’s a difficult show from a directing and performing perspective, it requires an audience to truly listen and think. The best staging invites the audience to employ their imaginations. It’s hard to see how “design elements” on an essentially bare stage could “work against the piece every step of the way”. Damn that grand piano! How totally inappropriate to have an onstage grand piano in a Stephen Sondheim show! What were we thinking? Nonetheless, I am UNRESERVEDLY proud of what Stage II accomplished, unreservedly proud of our director, cast and crew.
Fanatic, I’m sure it’s doubtful that I will see you in a future Stage II audience, but I make you this offer nonetheless: the next time you feel compelled to “literally run screaming from the theatre”--and running must have been difficult considering the “depths to which this production burrowed”, please pause at the box office long enough for me to refund the price of your tickets. The offer is extended to your “equally disgusted husband and mother” as well. At least your run was unobstructed, as the rest of the audience was standing and applauding the performance they just witnessed from the “uniformly awful” cast, apparently unaware they had just seen “one of the worst productions of a musical…in years” Oh well, there’s always your next anonymous review in which to enlighten them.
Artistic and Managing Director, Stage II
Musical Director of “Company”
Cast Member of same—
| || Why Defend? by SandyW|
| You had one bad review and you start a lecture. Fanatic is allowed to share his/her opinion. Who are you to say she is wrong. Who cares if someone was sick? The review was on what they saw, not the circumstances. Bravo of course to her for going on and giving it her all, but let it go. Worse comments have been made to others on this site, by others and some way more personal. I have seen people like the director of Will Rogers Follies crucified on this site for defending themselves. Don't you get it? You are allowed to be bashed, but to respond is immature.|
| || Correction, Sandy W by BenAround|
| Make that TWO bad reviews. Unless you do not consider the "review" posted below by feather to be worthy of considering.|
I quote from the moderator: "GUIDELINES FOR COMMENTING ...
Comments are for discussing the review in question in a civil way. TheaterReview will not tolerate ad-hominem attacks on the reviewer, other commenters, or persons involved in the production. Or anyone else, for that matter, with the possible exception of some of the more ridiculous celebrities. Don't be evil."
Mr. Moderator, does this same standard not apply to the reviewers as well?
I respectfully disagree with you Sandy W. that Mr Lewallen was "defending" his production. He was commenting on the errors in the review. At least fanatic's review was literate, although incorrect in many aspects and downright nasty in others. Feather's was just absurd.
| || by TheaterReview|
| I see no ad-hominem attacks made by the reviewer nor the commenters here. The review was scathing, the response sarcastic. The boundaries of "civil" are certainly being pushed here, but I don't see anyone's character being attacked.|
| || Hardly civil by BenAround|
| To clarify my previous comment...|
In my opinion, the remarks made in the review from fanatic are not civil and are borderline evil. That was my purpose in quoting the guidelines. The choice of words and gross exaggerations were uncalled for and intended to degrade the production rather than offer anything close to constructive criticism. (i.e. "ran screaming" "depths to which this production burrows" "one of the worst productions ... I've seen in years" "amaturish enough to make us gasp" "terrible production" "design elements that work against the piece every step of the way" "uniformly awful")
| || Are you mad? by SandyW|
| These "quotes" could have been taken just as easily from a Ben Brantley review of a Broadway show! Ryan does a great job of deciphering evil and malice from strong opinion. So what is fanatic was flamboyant in his speech. the bottom line is, he didn't care for the show. I have seen reviews on this site that totally slammed the personal character of those involved. No one in this review was called evil, or a bad person. He didn't even accuse someone of being ugly or having bad breath. He just sited reasons why he hated the show. By the way, people are quick to ask for someone to reveal their identity if it is a bad review-I have never seen any one ask some one to do that for a good review! |
| || by TheaterReview|
| The choice of words and gross exaggerations were uncalled for and intended to degrade the production rather than offer anything close to constructive criticism.|
I have no way of knowing whether they were gross exaggerations, nor whether the choice of words were uncalled for, nor whether they were intended to do anything but express the reviewer's profound dissatisfaction with the show.
I resisted censoring anything for quite a long time because of the slippery slope that leads to, and I am still navigating the grey area of what makes sense to eliminate.
But I am completely sure that I have no intention of deleting reviews because they are profoundly negative, as long as they restrict themselves to commenting on the production and performance quality.
| || I saw the show by BenAround|
| I even reviewed it before the negative reviews came out. The accusations of feather and fanatic were untrue and biased. I cannot believe that the show changed that much from Friday July 20th when I saw it.|
I can not sit idly by and allow untruth to be told, regardless of its purpose. Sorry, but I was raised that way... I assure you that I am not "mad." (neither angry nor mentally unstable, not sure how you meant that SandyW). Nor was I associated with the show except as an audience member. We gave it a standing ovation on 7/20.
SandyW and Mr. Moderator, neither of you saw this show. Why don't you quit "defending" (your word SandyW) something negative about it since you have no basis for your defense? What is good for the goose is certainly true for the gander. My opinion is not wrong because I see it in a different way.
No one is talking censorship here. Just allow my rebuttal to stand on its own without trying to pick it apart. Do I have to resort to writing phrases like "worst review I have ever read of a musical" and "running screaming from the computer after reading this review" for my comments to be taken seriously? I thought we were better than this folks. I know you won't change your mind. Please don't. It's your right to disagree with me.
Just because other reviews and comments caused this or that to happen which is clearly much worse than this ... does not make either fanatic or feather justified in telling untruths about this show.
The silent majority here will probably find this amusing, but I feel it is time to stand up and set the record straight as I see it. It's not personal. It's just wrong. And you know it.
'Scuze meeee now, I gots to go screeeeem! OMG :0)
Is that better?
| || looks to me like you contradicted yourself by Okely Dokely|
| BenAround, in the same comment, you say both "I can not sit idly by and allow untruth to be told" and "My opinion is not wrong because I see it in a different way."|
So, neither is fanatic's or feather's opinions wrong, nor are they untruths. They are just opinions that you happen to disagree with. No need to call them untruths.
| || Since you brought it up, OD ... by BenAround|
| Point of order, OD|
I did not say anyone's opinions are wrong and therefore did NOT contradict myself. I said there were untruths.
Here are some I found:
1. "literally ran screaming from the theater" Really? Wow! ... Unlikely
2. "amateurish enough to make us gasp" ... also unlikely
3. "the company is uniformly awful ... All of them? Hmmmm, also unlikely for that to happen since 7/20 when I saw it
4. "design elements that work against the piece every step of the way" ... EVERY step, that's a lot of steps
5. "cannot exaggerate the depths to which this production burrows" ... funny, but you did just that in the review that precedes this statement
(Aside to Moderator: These are also the gross exaggerations I mentioned ages ago in a previous rant. This makes the review uncivil IMHO.)
The opinions of Fanatic:
1. Off-tune Singing,
2. Poor Direction,
3. Clueless Choreography,
4. One of Worst Productions of a Musical
are simply not the ones I hold. Hear me now. These opinions of Fanatic are not wrong. My opinion that I find them horribly inaccurate is also not wrong.
Since this is my FINAL word, no matter what anyone else says, and this horse cannot possibly be beaten any more dead...
Congrats on a lovely show to the cast and crew of Company. (But you'll just have to take MY word for it, which doesn't much matter around here...)
| || hey benaround by feather|
| sorry but i got to agree with fanatic on all points. ur rite, we didnt see same show at all! but i;m glad u liked it. we need to support theater no matter if show is good or bad. key is to go out and see shows!|
well, bye everyone! flyin out to college this weekend. luv u! miss u! kisses!!! be back at xmas!!!
| || Feather by g8grrl|
| Your the best. Miss you! Hope college is a BLAST!!!|
|by Chorus Girl
Monday, July 23, 2007 ||
My friend called and said go see this show. He knows a couple of the cast members. I don't like Sondheim shows much, they're too much work, and sometimes they're really bizarre. And community theatres don't usually do them very well. But my friend said this one's good, and I remembered this was the group that did "Titanic" last year. That show blew me away, so I went to see "Company". And after I saw Feather's review, I decided I would put my two cents worth in.|
The show is not perfect, but I really enjoyed it. Musically, it's a very good show. The voices are very strong and very good. The quality of acting is good, too, and I like the way it was staged. Sometimes the sound was weak and I had to strain to hear the lines, but not often. The lead, Bobby, has a terrific voice and played his character with a lot of fun. The scene he has with the flight attendent is very funny and the stories they traded in that scene were hilarious. Bobby's last song, "Being Alive" was great!! I also liked Harry and Sarah, although they only had one scene, except for some bits and pieces. Harry's voice is a big, rich baritone and he knows how to sell a lyric, even Sondheim's, which can be pretty complex and hard to follow. I wish he had had more to sing. I also liked the three girlfriends. Their song together was dynamite as was Marta's song about New York. She had a great look and voice.
The set was simple, but really striking with the black and white and blue they chose, and all the cubes. It made you use your imagination.
I read what Educator wrote about Joanne and I agree. Her lines sounded like they belonged to an older (but not old) woman, and she didn't look the part. She has a nice voice, but I didn't believe her as Joanne.
This show was much different than "Titanic" which was produced by the same two guys, both of whom are in this show. One plays the lead Bobby. I really loved "Titanic" and after seeing "Company", I thought these guys are really risk-takers, and I like that. "Titanic" was a huge show to do and they really pulled it off and "Company" is such a different kind of show. I think they've done a great job with both. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Monday, July 23, 2007 ||
for me this gots to be the biggest flop of the year. i soooo much love company and i soooo much love sondhiem that i went out of my way to see this. at a church which is kewl. but this company has gots to be the biggest flop of the year. the pacing was slow and dull. some scenes are so bad its like someone scratching a blackboard. the acting and singing was ok, but it didnt work cause the characters didnt come to life for me. robert is pitiful. like omg the director is the lead and he isnt any good. what gives? but the weakest link is the dancing. how tedious? well it wasnt all bad. i did like the set. sooo kewl and simple, good job there. better luck next time guys. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW] |
Take a Bow, "Company"|
Saturday, July 21, 2007 ||
Okay, I admit it. I didn't want to go. My wife and I saw "Company" in New York in 1970, when we were college students. Saw it again in New York in 1996. Great show...in New York. But this was Dunwoody and a local church. But she insisted, so I went. And the joke was on me.|
It started when we walked in the door. Several small touches to the lobby (Beethoven in a blue bonnet, Louis Armstrong singing "Hello, Dolly" and big jars of chocolate) which said "this is going to be fun." We walked into the performance hall and saw a simple, beautiful set...all black and blue, with the same interesting touches. Here comes the opening number: excellent, big voices. And we move into the first scene: "Harry and Sarah," the classic bickering couple. I find myself going into my program to see who these actors are. Lo, and behold, they're married in real life. What chemistry these two had, with "Bobby" as an excellent foil. The audience laughed heartily as Harry and Sarah tormented each other. But when "Bobby" asks "Harry" if he regrets getting married, "Harry" answers with a very beautiful, very tender ballad, so ably rendered by the actor that by the end of it my wife was holding my hand. Thanks, Harry!
The surprises continued: good acting, great singing, a knock-em-dead trio "Crazy" a la the Andrews Sisters, a reluctant bride singing at break-neck speed (and cute as a button), a couple of wonderful ballads sung by "Bobby" in a beautiful tenor voice.
Act Two begins with "Side By Side". Okay, they weren't great dancers, but they were having such fun, I wanted to get up and cut a rug with them. The second act was stolen, though, lock, stock and barrel by "April" the flight attendant. She was, in a word, adorable. The show ends with one of my favorite songs, "Being Alive", and it was delivered by "Bobby" in a style and voice worthy of any Broadway stage...and my wife holding my hand again.
The retired professor in me feels compelled to offer one well-intentioned comment: The actress portraying "Joanne" was too young and did not seem to understand her character...and it's all in the words, all in the dialogue. It's curious in a show that was staged with such imagination and marvelous small touches, that a greater effort was not made to present "Joanne," at least in physical appearance, as the mature, sophisticated, "va-va-va-voom" sexy woman she's intended to be. This young actress seemed too tired to be "va-va-va-voom." Of course, I saw Elaine Stritch play it in New York...a tough act to follow.
But all in all, a wonderful evening of theatre. Even the curtain call was fun: watching "Harry" slide in at the piano as the star and director gallantly leads the young woman who played the show superbly to center stage for her own well-deserved bow. Thanks, Stage Two! I'll be watching to see what you do next. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Great Company Here!|
Saturday, July 21, 2007 ||
Both in the acting troupe sense and companionship definition...|
I had somehow missed this one even though I have been around musical theatre for many, many years. Funny how things I grew up experiencing and knowing about firsthand are starting to be classified as antiques or oldschool...
Even though Company has been around, like me, for a long time, it still has a message for today. A very strong group of singers has assembled for this show and you will not be disappointed if you are a Sondheim fan. There is no weak link in this production even though it contains some very difficult music. I heard strains of other Sondheim works here and there in these pieces. Most of you probably know Being Alive, The Ladies Who Lunch and Side by Side, but there are a number of other gems in this work.
Voices and piano merge to create a powerful message about relationships. The production is well-staged, the diction is clear, harmonies and dissonance are treated equally well, and the show is a true accomplishment on all counts.
Kudos to Stage Two Productions, director Bill Mahlandt and music director Dennis Lewallen for a memorable evening. Where did you ever find your virtuoso level accompanist? She is rare indeed to make this notoriously complex Sondheim score look easy to play. Thanks for the clever way you included her in the curtain call. She deserved it.
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by David Shire (music), Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics)