Antonio Banderas is not a good choice for Bobby in "Company"
Posted by: TheBroadwayMaven (DavidBenkof@gmail.com) 04:07 am EST 11/06/22

Here's my review of Company from this week's Broadway Maven Weekly Blast:

Where you going, Company?

Barcelona. (Sort of.)

The cast album for the Spanish-language edition of Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 masterpiece is well worth listening to (it’s available for streaming on several platforms).

I’m not illiterate in Spanish (I’ve passed three of six “level tests”); nor am I fluent. Fortunately, you don’t have to be fluent to enjoy this album, especially if you already know the music for the show (people have been saying the same of the recent Yiddish-language production of Fiddler on the Roof).

Highlights include Marta Ribera as Joanne, whose “Las Pequeñas Cosas Que Hacéis Juntos“ (“The Little Things You Do Together”) and “Las Damas Que Almuerzan” (“The Ladies Who Lunch”) are appropriately biting; and the patter song “Casarse Hoy“ (“Getting Married Today“). If you thought Spanish is a fast-spoken language, you should hear it in this rapid-fire number.

The production does suffer from a major flaw, though. Both directing and starring as Bobby is Spain’s Antonio Banderas. Banderas has a rich voice (which you know if you saw the Evita movie) and good instincts, but he’s totally wrong for the part.

Company is often considered the first real “concept musical” — based around an idea rather than a plot. And that idea spotlights unmarried Bobby’s 35th birthday, and his discussions with his friends and girlfriends about whether he should — or can — get married at this stage of his life.

But Banderas is 62 years old. A Bobby who’s nearly twice the age as the one in George Furth’s book can never really explore the question the show is asking. Of course Banderas sings “Sentirse Vivo“ (“Being Alive”) with passion and verve. But an unmarried man in his sixties faces different issues, and his friends and girlfriends face a different set of challenges in giving advice.

Taking an English-language classic musical and recording it in Spanish is refreshing. Hiring a man in his sixties to play a 35-year-old character might also be refreshing, but sorry — it’s not Company.

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