There's a moment in the Roundabout Theatre revival of Company which beautifully sums up the dilemma of Stephen Sondheim. It's at the top of Act II, when Bobby, the lone bachelor, and all his happily married friends sing "Side by Side by Side." As the tide suggests, the number has a presentational, vaudevillian quality, and when, toward the end of Rob Marshall's inventive staging, the cast comes together to form a mechanical kickline, the audience bursts into happy, contented applause.

But wait a minute: the whole point of this chorus is that the mechanics don't work. In I970, in the original production, Michael Bennett gave each husband and wife call-and-response tap breaks—except, when it comes to Bobby's turn, he has no one to tap with: that's the entire play in a four-count break. In the new production, Marshall's choreography extends the idea: Bobby is the odd man out, always out of...

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