Stephen Sondheim Weighs In On A Female Bobby In "Company"

Phone rings, door chimes...

Bobby is now Bobbie.

Stephen Sondheim has given his blessing for a new staging of his classic musical, Company, this time with a gender-swapped lead role.

Sondheim's 1970 musical about a 35-year old New York bachelor surrounded by all of his coupled off friends is a theater classic, winning six Tonys, including Best Musical, when it first premiered on Broadway.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New Yorker

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Stephen Sondheim participates in a discussion with Adam Gopnik during the New Yorker Festival on October 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

In the decades since, the show has been revived multiple times, including a 2006 production starring Raul Esparza and another star-studded concert version with Neil Patrick Harris as Bobby in 2011.

Now, theater director Marianne Elliott (War Horse, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) is helming the production with a female Bobby.

"If you've got somebody as distinguished and inventive and good as Marianne Elliott, and she says, 'I would love to do "Company" with a female central character.'... What is there to lose?" Sondheim told the L.A. Times. "It can only make the play either interesting or, if you dislike it... dislikable... but still. I'm fumfering here, but the point is: That's what keeps the theaters alive. So I'm always open."

Elliott added that 35-year old women today are starting to think about settling down at that age: "They are thinking about the body clock and they think: 'Should they be with someone permanent?’"

Bobbie will be played by award-winning actress Rosalie Craig who starred in Tori Amos' musical The Light Princess in 2013 and played the role of Marta in a 2011 production of Company at the Crucible Theater in England.

Changing Bobby's gender also requires revising the musical's book, written by George Furth. According to Playbill the number “Have I Got a Girl for You,” is now “Have I Got a Guy for You,” and April the airline stewardess is now Andy.

In 2013 the New York Times reported that the Roundabout Theater Company was working on a version of Company where Bobby would be a gay man with commitment issues and multiple boyfriends. There was even a reading of the production with Alan Cumming reading for Joanne who sings the show-stopping number "The Ladies Who Lunch."

The female-led revival of Company is scheduled to open next year in London, and here's hoping that it will eventually make a transfer to the Great White Way.

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