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How "Company" producer's personal experience influenced new take at Denver Center for Performing Arts

How "Company" producer's personal experience influenced new take at DCPA
How "Company" producer's personal experience influenced new take at DCPA 02:17

Next week the Denver Center for the Performing Arts welcomes "Company" to the Buell Theatre, marking the first time the new take on the production has been presented to audiences in Colorado. For the first time, the classic tale has been reimagined to tell the story of "Bobbie" through the eyes of a woman.

"Company" plays the Buell Theatre May 22 through June 2.  DCPA

The music, created by the iconic Stephen Sondheim, remains true to the original 1970's production. However, in an exclusive interview with CBS News Colorado's Dillon Thomas, producer Chris Harper said his connection with Sondheim's music inspired the modernization of the tale.

Harper said the idea was rooted in his own experience as a single man who wanted to be a parent. He shared that he decided to use a surrogate to fulfill his dream. However, when his children arrived nearly two weeks early, he couldn't help but find himself finding comfort in Sondheim's music while in the hospital.

"I'd listen to 'Being Alive,' which is the main song from Company, on a loop. It was the song that gave me the courage to face what were really scary days," Harper said.

Since the show was originally about a man in his 30s who was single and did not have kids, Harper started considering what it would be like to bring the show back with a new twist.


"I thought, 'Hmm, this show would be so much more interesting if this was about a woman and the choices she has to make because of the body clock,'" Harper said.

Harper said he, and his team, reached out to Sondheim to pitch the idea of changing the story to be about a woman instead of a man, "Initially he wasn't entirely convinced that it would work." 

However, the team completed a workshop and invited Sondheim to review the show himself.

"He came to see it and was the biggest fan," Harper said.

Cast, like Judy McLane, said getting to perform Sondheim's work every show is a blessing.

"Whenever you get to do Stephen Sondheim's work it is always a gift," McLane said. "His material is so deep. I am constantly peeling back the onion."

McLane, who plays Joann in the tour, said she has once again fallen in love with the music of Company.


"They're songs that, before I even knew the show, I knew the material," McLane said.

Both McLane and Harper said every person in the audience, no matter their background, will be able to personally identify with a character or theme in the show.

"Everyone sitting in the audience will see someone they relate to in some way," McLane said. "So often we come to the theater and sit back and say entertain me. But, this engages people."

Company plays at the Buell Theatre from May 22 through June 2. For more information on tickets visit

CBS Colorado is a proud partner of the DCPA. 

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