From stage to screen, in comes Company

Jun 14

Company cast photo

Bobby baby bobby bubbe: The starry cast of the New York Philharmonic’s Company, which hits movie screens across the nation. Photo courtesy of the New York Philharmonic. Below: Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose (portrait) and Rose (far left), Christina Hendricks and Chryssie Whitehead perform “You Could Drive a Person Crazy.”

 

After performing on the Tony Awards last Sunday with her fellow Company cast members, Anika Noni Rose, all glammed out in a gorgeous white gown, devoured a giant plate of nachos.

The Tony Award-winning actor laughs at the thought of herself devouring the late-night snack in all her red-carpet glory. “There I was grubbing on nachos. They were delicious.” And how do we know that Rose enjoyed the snack? She posted a photo of the meal on her Twitter feed (@AnikaNoniRose).

Anika Noni Rose

Rose, 38, is having a good week. The American Conservatory Theater-trained actor enjoyed the Tony Awards ceremony – one of the best I’ve seen in years” – because, as she puts it, “I was there to have fun, put on some pretty clothes and root for my friends. You see people you don’t get to see very often, and you meet some fantastic people. I met (best actor winner) Mark Rylance, who is just amazing. God took amazing and put skin on it. That’s Mark Rylance. I met(best actress nominee) Patina Miller and got to hang out with (best actress winner) Sutton Foster, who I’ve known for years but never get to see. I’m an investor in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, but that was the first time I got to meet Daniel Radcliffe, who could not be lovelier. And he’s so good in the show.”

And that was just Sunday night.

The rest of the week, Rose will be making a splash across the country. She’s part of a starry cast that the New York Philharmonic pulled together for three concerts Stephen Sondheim’s Company presented last April but forever preserved in an HD broadcast to be screened in movie theaters from coast to coast.

The first screenings start Tuesday, June 15. At San Francisco’s Embarcadero Cinema, for instance, it screens June 15, 16 and 19, but there are also screenings in Cupertino, Rohnert Park, Napa, Pleasant Hill, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Walnut Creek, San Rafael, San Jose, Hayward and many more. As you can see, this Company is inviting lots of company.

Rose plays Marta, one of the many girlfriends of the main character, Bobby (played by stellar Tony host Neil Patrick Harris. Her big number is “Another Hundred People,” and in a tiny bit of delicious irony, the woman who debuted the song in the original 1971 Broadway production, Pamela Myers, is now on stage at Rose’s old stomping grounds as an ensemble member in ACT’s Tales of the City (and she’s wonderful).

Company 2

This is only the second time Rose, a 2004 Tony winner for best featured actress in Caroline, or Change, has performed Sondheim on stage (the first was a tune from Sunday in the Park with George at a tribute to George C. Wolfe), and she says, learning the ins and outs of Sondheim is “no walk in the park,” especially when, like the Company cast, you have a week and two days of rehearsal.

“Being in this show was like being shot out of a cannon,” Rose says on the phone from New York. “It ended up being a spectacular experience because, to a one, we were surrounded by brilliant, caring, lovely, fun, funny, smart professionals. No one brought nasty behavior, no one brought an ego to rehearsal. It was fantastic to be with each other.”

No egos? That’s impressive, especially given the pedigree of a cast that includes current “it” boy Harris (who was filming his sitcom, How I Met Your Mother in LA), Tony-winning diva Patti LuPone, TV’s favorite fake pundit Stephen Colbert, Mad Men vamp Christina Hendricks and Tony-winner Katie Finneran (from last season’s revival of Promises, Promises).

Because the busy actors were busy acting in all their various projects, rehearsals were … interesting. Not everybody was actually in the same room until dress rehearsal, which happened to be two hours before the opening-night performance. But director Lonny Price hired musical theater students to stand in and learn the parts for the benefit of the principal actors who were able to show up.

Rose says the pressure was on, and what could have been a disaster was a triumph. “It clicked because it had to,” she says. “Thank God for training and professionalism and dedication. It made for a pretty wrinkle-free production.”

She was far from embarrassed. The show opened on a Thursday and repeated Friday and twice on Saturday. “By Saturday night,” Rose says, we were brilliant.”

Rose was involved in a previous live broadcast into movie theaters, only that one was truly live from Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Rose was Juliet to Orlando Bloom’s Romeo in a Los Angeles Philharmonic evening of Tchaikovsky music.

“I think these broadcasts are wonderful,” she says. “They allow people access who wouldn’t otherwise get to see these things. And people can’t always afford a ticket to a show, never mind a ticket to the city, a hotel room, food, car rental. If you’re a family, it’s not even just you anymore. They also welcome people to an art form who might not think it’s for them, then they see it actually is for them and want to see the live thing. It’s a welcome mat to our art form, especially for people who might never have seen a live performance before. They see what it is we do, makes it familiar to them. It’s not so scary, not really stepping out of their realm.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Find a Company screening at a theater near you. Click here.

Here’s the trailer

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