Manuel Betancourt

Company, or How ‘Bobby!’ ‘Bobby!’

May 22, 2009 · in Broadway

You know how sometimes the world gives you hints about what you should do about your life? This is exactly what happened when Netflix suggested I watch Company, the PBS ‘Greatest Performances’ DVD of the Sondheim revival directed by John Doyle starring Raúl Esparza.
Not only is it a staggering staging but it is, to this date, the only stage musical that has had me in tears by the time the lights go off. Sondheim’s musical is a wonderful post-modern study on relationships, ‘company’ and marriage – at times witty and hilarious, but also painfully aware of the seriousness of its subject matter. Esparza in particular (though the entire ensemble is brilliant) sizzles as Bobby, creating an elastically nuanced performance that goes from stoned, to drunk, to bemused, to wounded, to vulnerable in a heart beat – all this with an astonishing voice that commands the stage whenever he’s singing.
Here’s the TONY performance of ‘Being Alive’ to whet your appetite and if you haven’t seen this performance, order it, Netflix it (it’s on ‘Watch it now’!) or do whatever you need to do, you won’t be disappointed.
Blow out the candles, Robert, and make a wish. *Want* something!
Want *something*!
ROBERT:
Somebody, hold me too close,
Somebody, hurt me too deep,
Somebody, sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive,
Being alive.
Somebody, need me too much,
Somebody, know me too well,
Somebody, pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive,
Make me alive.
Make me confused,
Mock me with praise,
Let me be used,
Vary my days.
But alone is alone, not alive.
Somebody, crowd me with love,
Somebody, force me to care,
Somebody, make me come through,
I’ll always be there,
As frightened as you,
To help us survive
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!