I’m not one of those people who “loves” New York, mostly because the fast pace makes me so tense. The minute I’m through the Holland Tunnel, I feel as if I’m driving through a live version of Death Race 2000. And the parking? Oy. I like the idea of New York more than I do the reality. But oh God, do I love musical theater, and that love has forced me to make periodic treks to the anxiety capital of the world.

“Company” is the first Broadway show I ever saw, and it’s a great one. When I went back home and raved about it to people, they smiled condescendingly and said, “Well, it’s the first one you’ve ever seen, what do you have to compare it to?” It was infuriating. I was only 15, but goddamnit, I knew a work of art when I saw one. And it was about the baffling complexities of modern marriage, not about dancing leprechauns or singing nuns.

I was the one who got to smile condescendingly when the show was nominated for 12 Tonys and walked off with six of them. It was a turning point in the history of the American musical, and all of a sudden, people were paying much closer attention to Stephen Sondheim.

The theater geeks and queens I hung out with in high school also loved the show, and of course we’d break out into the songs everywhere we went. (We all loved Elaine Stritch’s scenery-chewing rendition of “The Ladies Who Lunch.”)

When I auditioned for a cabaret series at Penn’s Annenberg School, I performed “Another Hundred People.” (“How old did you say you were?” the director asked me. I got the gig.)

The day of my own wedding, I was singing “I’m Not Getting Married” to myself. (It should have been a clue.)

No matter how many shows I’ve seen since then, it remains my favorite. That’s why I’d kill to see this production next week. But it’s in New York, I’d never get a ticket even if I could afford it, and it would make me tense figuring out how to get there.

But I’ll still get a kick out of the thought that Stephen Colbert, another Gleek, just like me — is performing in “Company.” Perfect.

13 thoughts on “Company

  1. Rest easy. It’s being filmed for future cinematic release, sez the NYT.

    I drove 4.5 hours from State College to see COMPANY in 1971 and then drove 4.5 hours back. I was young…

  2. They probably won’t do the entire book, either.

    You’ve seen the DVD of the John Doyle production?

  3. Why not take the train? City to city in 1 hr 30 min and you go downtown to downtown. Gas, tolls & parking in the city add up to the cost of a ticket. Atrios would love you for it.

  4. LOVED Company. Saw it in Chicago back in ’71 I think and then in London summer of ’72.

    I think the Raul Esparza production was brilliant. You can see it through Netflix if you haven’t already. Not to be missed.

  5. I went to New York one new year’s eve. That’s it.

    Never again. When you find yourself weeping with your hands covering your face, in the middle of the day, because you feel all the suffering in the city, well , let’s just say, nagada.

    Lots of good food though which must have been full of msg because I woke up all SWOLLEN.

    Let’s just say I’m not a big fan.

  6. New Year’s Eve, huh? I have lived here for 35 years, and I have always stayed far, far away from Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

    As should you all…

  7. “But it’s in New York, I’d never get a ticket even if I could afford it, and it would make me tense figuring out how to get there.”

    How to get there:
    Frankford el to the Center City Greyhound Station, to the NYC Port Authority bus terminal, which is a couple of blocks south of the theater didtrict, and the fare is peanuts compared to the train. Reasonably fast, and reasonably comfortable.

    If I could do it, it would be a piece of cake for you to do it.

  8. PS:
    If you go, and can find a semi-reasonably priced ticket to the show, I’ll pay half the cost. Anyone out there want to pay the other half? Kinda like a matching grant during a fund raising drive — Susie’s our own NPR.

  9. I LOVE New York, and I miss it. I can understand how some folks who aren’t used to the energy of the place can be overwhelmed by it. I worked in The City for two years right after I graduated from college and lived within fifteen miles of it most of my life (until I moved to this midwestern hick area about three years ago). Every time I went into New York I felt more alive, more energized, more excited. It is the finest adult playground in the world. Vegas likes to claim that title, but you don’t go to Vegas for the museums, the opera, the architecture, the parks, the massive amounts of everything under the sun from every part of the world being right there and all you have to do is sit on a bench and be entertained.

    The only city I’ve been to that comes close is Paris (I loved Paris). New York is wonderful. I think that disquiet you feel in New York is, as I said, because of being overwhelmed by the energy of the place. I get that. Also, don’t drive in New York, as others have suggested. If you aren’t used to it, it can scare the bejabbers out of you. Mrs DBK and I both were comfortable with driving in The City, but we’d always take the train in anyway and use the subway or taxis to get around.

    Any time anyone even mentions New York I get wistful and feel an emptiness because it’s so far away now. New York was always less a city to me than a fun friend I enjoyed seeing every single time.

  10. On the other hand, I wish I were a Cherokee living in my homeland.

    As far as I’m concerned, Andrew Jackson and his ilk should live, and suffer, in Hell forever.

    Maybe y’all can make a joke about that. Maybe y’all can remember that you all live on stolen land and the people suffer.

    But since I follow Jesus, I must forgive as I have been forgiven.

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