Not even the earnest but mediocre singing talent of lead Dean Jones can detract from your appreciation of this 1970 musical comedy from Stephen Sondheim. While there are other cast albums of "Company" available with guys who can sing in the role of Robert, this Original Cast recording offers Elaine Stritch as Joanne singing "The Ladies Who Lunch" and Beth Howland as Amy zipping through "Getting Married Today" at warp speed, both of which provide independent justification for having this one in your musical library. Other notables featured in the cast are Barbara Barrie (from "Barney Miller"), Charles Kimbrough (from "Sunday in the Park With George" and "Murphy Brown") and dancer extraordinaire Donna McKechnie (from "Chorus Line").
The subject matter of "Company" is marriage, although our perspective is mainly from the vantage point of Robert (Jones), a 35-year-old single man with five married couples for friends who are all interested in getting the poor guy hitched. Sondheim's songs cover pretty much the entire musical spectrum, from the powerfully wistful "Sorry-Grateful" to cute do-wop of "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," and from the chorus line anthem "Side By Side By Side" to pointed commentary of "The Little Things You Do Together." Warning: If you have not been married at least ten years you are probably not going to be in a position to appreciate these songs or this musical. As Robert discovers in "Being Alive," the key part of marriage, and of live, if commitment; you can never really appreciate that from the outside looking in.