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Company revival. So what about Bobbie?
Last Edit: Chromolume 12:45 am EDT 04/13/24
Posted by: Chromolume 12:32 am EDT 04/13/24

First, let me confirm that yes, this is Chromolume, not David Benkof. That said, in watching the Company tour tonight, a question occurred to me. Is Bobbie gay? Or is there perhaps a double standard in the perception of the show?

To phrase that a little better - there seems to be this accepted presumption (which I loathe) about the original version of the show that Bobby, with his inability to settle down with a woman, must be gay. It's nowhere in the text (and no, that little added scene with Peter doesn't really confirm it either), but everyone thinks it. But I have a feeling that no one considers that with female Bobbie. Or do they? Bobbie, despite the gender changes in the show, shows the same heterosexual interests as Bobby does. So if Bobby just *has* to be gay, why not Bobbie?

BTW - it's curious (and I think a huge flaw in this new vision of the show) that there's no female/female couple at all (Jamie and Paul effectively become the de facto token gay couple.)

As far as this touring production goes (my first real experience with this concept version), cast and orchestra were fantastic (a shoutout to a colleague of mine playing excellent Eb clarinet), Britney Coleman sings Bobbie really well (too bad her solo numbers lack strong direction, though she did everything she could to pull them off). Matt Rodin as Jamie made a fun meal out of "Getting Married Today," and Judy McLane was a strong Joanne (despite, again, no help from the direction IMO). I really hate the portrayal of Andy in this production - but for that matter I also hate when April is made way too much of a dummy too. I think that character, in either gender, can be a bit quirky and a little spaced out, but this dude was just d-u-m and way too much of a robot, and it really turned me off. Act I really grabbed me, up through the kitchen scene (the two men were terrific in that - and the moment where Jamie says "I just don't love you enough" really hit hard), but once we got to "Marry Me A Little" I started feeling like the show didn't hold together. (Also, why is an assumedly straight woman proposing to a man who is portrayed as gay?? That did take me out of the logic of the show.) Though I did like the reconceived Tick Tock as sort of a "dream ballet" situation for Bobbie (it's rather like "Venus in Ozone Heights" in its purpose I suppose.) "Being Alive" (the 3rd directionless solo for Bobbie, the 3rd with her stranded on an empty stage) didn't do a damn thing for me, despite Coleman's terrific vocals, where in most productions I'm usually moved to tears. And oh, the rethinking of the tap breaks in "Side By Side" was just awful. But all in all, a fun production to watch, and again, terrific performances all around.

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