It has been said that not much good came out of the 1970s, the era of disco, bell bottoms and feathered hair.
But in early 1970 a Stephen Sondheim musical comedy, "Company," premiered on Broadway with a message about relationships that is applicable in the 1990s and beyond.Opera West's production of "Company" at Brigham Young University is a fast-paced, bright look into the life of Robert, who is eternally single, and 10 of his friends, all married couples.
This musical is not so much a story as flashes of thought.
All of Robert's friends want to see him find someone, but at the same time, they envy his freedom and struggle to make their own relationships something more profound.
Jan B. Tanner as Amy brings the house down with a vignette of the morning she is to be married to Paul (Patrick Holt).
People who may not even notice the subtleties of Sondheim's minimalism will certainly remember that they could understand practically every word Tanner sings in "Getting Married Today."
Then, in a moment of reflection after she almost calls off the wedding, Tanner displays the magic of Sondheim's lyrics, "You gotta want to marry somebody, not just some body."
Angela Drahos, who plays the wealthy and oft-married Joanne, said the musical was written for actors.
Robert (Tim Sutton), who incidentally was played by Dean Jones on Broadway, plays the man everybody likes, and he shines. Everyone who has ever been single and has tried to fit in with friends who are married will find a bit of themselves in him.
The audience, appropriately enough at BYU, could not help but smile at the old line Robert says to Marta (Jillette Crowther), "Let's just be friends."
Other characters who help prove that laughter is contagious are Sarah (Kellie Hoover) and Harry (Robert Baker), as they diet, try to stay on the bandwagon and practice karate.
Robert's various girlfriends, Marta, Kathy (Angie Olpin) and especially April (Heidi Perry), let us see how humorous dating can be.
Other characters, including Susan (Kathleen Reed), Peter (Sheldon Worthington), Jenny (Elizabeth Edmiston), David (Mark Alan Harris) and Larry (Brett Seamons), make up the company of "Company."
Well-known songs like "Being Alive," "Side by Side" and "Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch" make more sense in the context of the musical, and most of the actors are extremely talented vocally.
"Company" is a positive look at relationships, within and without marriage, and refreshing in a day where divorce is much too common a word.
"Just because some of the people are wrong (about marriage), doesn't mean that it isn't right."
And Peter sums it up. "Don't be afraid that it won't be perfect, the only thing to be afraid of is that it won't be."
Producing "Company" was a dream for Drahos and director Neil Vanderpool, Drahos said. Opera West also gives talented people from Utah County a place to perform.