A gender-bending version of Stephen Sondheim’s Company

The Great Performances series on PBS just aired a spectacular documentary, “Keeping Company with Sondheim,” all about making the new version of Stephen Sondheim’s great 1970 musical, Company. You can still see it.

This new version of the musical differs from the original in several important ways. In particular, the genders of most of the main characters are swapped, with necessary name changes and a few changes that (unsurprisingly) had to be made in the lyrics. Also, because not all the female characters are recast as male, one formerly female-male couple now consists of two gay men. It’s interesting that Sondheim had never done this before, considering that he himself was gay and married to another man.

As a documentary, “Keeping Company with Sondheim” tells the story of the development of this 2018–2020 version by showing clips from rehearsals, from the production, and from interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patti LuPone, other Broadway figures, and Sondheim himself. The show itself features many well-known songs, including the apparently-impossible-to-sing “Getting Married Today.” Poignantly, Sondheim died a week and a half after the documentary was filmed.

It’s definitely worth seeing: an hour well spent.

Categories: Movies & (occasionally) TV