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Concept meets narrative in Sondheim's Company: Metadrama as a method of analysis

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Stephen Sondheim's Company is often considered to be one of the first concept musicals, moving in a different direction from the book musicals of creative teams such as Rodgers and Hammerstein. Using the analytical tool of metadrama, as defined by Richard Hornby, this article asserts that the construction of Company combines aspects of a concept musical with a psychological narrative. The article focuses on the musical numbers themselves, while also examining the dramatic and metadramatic effects of staging decisions in the Sam Mendes production from the Donmar Warehouse in 1995. Such an investigation of the musical's dramatic layers furthers an understanding of Sondheim's unique and innovative version of the concept musical a version that refuses to subjugate character development and emotional accessibility for conceptual didacticism.
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Keywords: Company; Richard Hornby; Stephen Sondheim; concept musical; metadrama; psychological narrative

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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