Company (The Musical)
I just caught a PBS Great Performances video of 'Company', which just happens to be my favorite musical (yes, I like musicals). I guess it was from 2006 - it was pretty amazing. Company, in case you don't know, was written by Stephen Sondheim and is inconicly great with awesome music and lyrics, and it continues to be relevant almost 40 years after it was first performed...
This production is really wild because the actors are also the orchestra! I sort of caught it in the middle, and at first I was wondering if they were actually playing the instruments, but it turns out they were. From the article linked above:
Then Doyle further conceptualizes the piece by turning the actors into musicians as well. The cast is the orchestra, each character defined by the instrument he or she plays. Note how the cynical Joanne's idea of playing an instrument is to clink her booze glass. Bobby, who seems to pride himself on his noninvolvement, never touches an instrument until the end of the show when he finally opens up his heart, sits at the piano, and accompanies himself during the first part of "Being Alive." Some critics and playgoers felt the actors playing instruments got in the way, that it distanced them from the audience.
Personally, I didn't feel distanced, I was just amazed... There they are acting and singing, and then, *bam*, they pick up a trumpet, or a violin, or sit down at the piano. You've got to have some serious talent for that, if you ask me. There's a few clips you can check out to see what it's like.
Pretty cool. If you haven't caught it on TV yet, definitely check it out.