Good ‘Company’: An inside look at Broadway in Pgh.

Photo By Matthew Murphy | Courtesy of Murphy Made | Britney Coleman (center), accompanied by the cast of 'Company' (left, right), presented a gender-bent production during its national tour.

Emma Polen | Editor-in-Chief

“Company” is back in the ‘Burgh for Marianne Elliott’s gender-bent rendition of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s classical musical.

The national Broadway touring production at the Benedum Center is presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as part of the 2023-2024 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series.

Bobbie (Britney Coleman) is celebrating her 35th birthday with all her friends, but she’s the only one that’s still single. Through all the moments Bobbie spends in the company of her friends, they pressure her to find “the one,” while also proving to the young woman why marriage is not always the right option for everyone.

Bobbie’s dilemma, balancing loneliness and freedom of bachelorette life while in the company of her friends in relationships, presents itself physically through the show’s set design.

Tony Award winner Bunny Christie, “Company” set and costume designer, calls herself first and foremost a visual storyteller. The Scottsman explained how the show’s “hallucinatory” Alice in Wonderland set portrayed a fun, playful and surprising world.

Through a series of boxes Bobbie could step through and enter into the settings of her friends, she traveled from living room to living room, brunch to the bedroom, getting a peek inside the looking glass at her friends’ lives (and occasionally her own).

“Every time she went into it, there was a different setup for a different house or a different environment,” Christie said.

Even with their differences, each place that Bobbie entered had constant thematic elements. Christie said this included threading a lot of 35s throughout the show. In the opening scene, with Bobbie at her own kitchen table, a pair of silver 35 birthday balloons loom over her shoulder. In the second box where Bobbie travels to Harry (James Earl Jones II) and Sarah’s (Kathryn Allison, played by understudy CJ Greer on Tuesday) living room, there is an abstract painting on the wall with a 35 visible in its design.

“It feels obvious to me that Bobbie would be a woman,” she said. Led by the genderswap, Christie’s storytelling goals included making the show feel “contemporary” and “relevant.”

The gender-bent “Company” revival brought changes beyond the now-female lead, including Bobbie’s three boyfriends, a gay couple and a role reversal for one of the show’s couples, Jenny and David.

Bobbie speaks a lot about marriage with her guy friends, which was an interesting choice as a woman living alone.

“One is lonely but two is boring,” Bobbie sings in “Side by Side by Side,” one of the final songs of Act II. Even alone, Bobbie finds herself plagued by the voices of her friends, even in the most private moments of her life.

The surprising humor of Sondheim’s “Company” was revealed through character mannerisms and comedic timing.

There was often a rhythm behind the jokes – in a three-person conversation, there was a clear call-and-response that ended in a punchline that the audience could easily recognize as the end of the joke.

Used quite a few times during the show, a well-placed “anyways” followed an awkward silence where all the characters stood frozen in apprehension.

The characters did well portraying the comedy in their own ways.

One of Bobbie’s gender-swapped boyfriends, Andy, was played by Jacob Dickey, who said he had a lot of fun channeling “a dumb blonde, but on a male figure.”

Andy’s defining moment in the show is what Dickey calls his “butterfly monologue,” and what makes this story about a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, despite complications with his cat, is that “he [Andy] truly believes it.”

“It is truly laugh-out-loud comedy,” Dickey said.

Dickey looks forward to being back in Pittsburgh, after a short two-week run performing in a CLO production last August.

“Honestly, I love performing at the Benedum so much,” Dickey said. “It’s such a beautiful theater, and Pittsburgh was such a cool town.”

During his stay, Dickey plans to visit the Andy Warhol museum and head back to Lawrenceville, some of which he was able to visit last time he was in town.

Patrons can head to the Benedum Center through Sunday, April 21, to see the comedy “Company” which will be showing at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday. Student tickets can be purchased at the university student tickets page of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website (, or by using the promotional code 2324DUQ at checkout.