Sondheim favourite opens this week in Melbourne

Watch This Company Rehearsals editorialOne of the most beloved and ground-­breaking works in the Sondheim cannon, Watch This will open a highly anticipated season of Company this week at fortyfivedownstairs.

It’s Robert’s birthday – he’s turning 35 and his closest friends are throwing him a surprise party. Witty and well-­liked, living in the heart of New York and dating three gorgeous women, Robert has it all… so why can’t he blow out the candles on his birthday cake and make a wish?

Over a series of dinner parties and first dates Robert attempts to understand the pros and cons of marriage from his diverse and frequently hilarious friends and begins to make sense of his own persistent bachelorhood. Sondheim windows into the lives of five married couples and three women to explore these ideas in all their complexity.

A musical comedy, Company was among the first to deal with adult themes and relationships that explored love and the struggle for intimacy. Originally a collection of plays written by librettist George Furth, Company was eventually shaped into a musical thanks to the vision of director Harold Prince.

Furth reworked the plays into a libretto and Stephen Sondheim was brought in to provide the music featuring an energetic score including Being Alive, You Could Drive a Person Crazy, Another Hundred People, The Ladies Who Lunch, Getting Married Today and Company.

Despite receiving mixed reviews during out-of-town tryouts in Boston, the original production opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre in April 1970, and was nominated for a record 14 Tony Awards, winning seven including Best Musical, Best Original Score for Stephen Sondheim, Best Book of a Musical for George Furth, and Best Direction of a Musical for Hal Prince.

In just two short years, Watch This has established itself as a major player in Melbourne’s theatre scene, with a sell-out debut season and three Green Room Award nominations for Assassins in 2013, to eight nominations for Pacific Overtures (winning Best Supporting Actor – Adrian Li Donni) in 2014.

Director: Kat Henry  Cast: Johanna Allen, Bianca Baykara, Sally Bourne, Gillian Cosgriff, Nathan Carter, Mark Dickinson, Nelson Gardner, Madeleine Mackenzie, Nicole Melloy, John O’Hara, Tim Paige, Nick Simpson-Deeks, Sonya Suares, Carina Waye  Musical Director: Lucy O’Brien  Choreographer: Michael Ralph  Set Design: Eugyeene Teh  Costume Design: Zoë Rouse  Lighting Design: Rob Sowinski  Production Manager: Julia Truong  Stage Manager: Meg Richardson

fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 17 September – 4 October 2015 (preview 16 September)
Bookings: (03) 9662 9966 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Cast of Company in rehearsal – photo courtesy of Watch This