“COMPANY” centers on the life of Bobby, a confirmed bachelor who is celebrating his 35th birthday with his 10 closest friends, who happen to be five couples. The musical examines marriage and relationships and the reasons people come together, divorce, and stay together. The culminating scene shows Bobby’s transformation from an unattached bachelor playing the field to one who is beginning to see the benefits of love, marriage, and monogamy.
Approximately four 45-minute class periods
Sociology, Music, Drama, and Language Arts
1. Form opinions about social attitudes and stereotypes and support these opinions with specific reasons.
2. View the musical “COMPANY” and analyze quotes and songs to determine character traits, themes, and conflicts within the story.
3. Discuss social attitudes and stereotypes presented in the musical and work in small groups to evaluate how these attitudes and stereotypes have changed and how they remain the same over time.
4. Analyze the specific events in the story that cause the main character to change his attitude and why this change is important in the overall message conveyed by the musical.
A copy of GREAT PERFORMANCES’ “COMPANY”
Prep for Teachers:
Prior to teaching the lesson, record the broadcast of “COMPANY” (check local listings to determine if and when the program will air in your state), review the program for content (Note to teachers: The program contains some mature themes and language.), bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer, and download the necessary plug-ins. Print out and make copies of the related handouts: Anticipation Guide, Gathering Points of View, and lyrics to each song (two copies of each).
Bookmark the following sites:
All Musicals: “Company”
Find lyrics to the songs from “Company.”
Learn about Stephen Sondheim, his complete works, and the musical “Company.”
PBS.org: BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL: Memorable Musicals: “Company”
Hear song clips and learn about Sondheim’s “Company.”
Grove Music Online
Understands connections among the various art forms and other disciplines.
Understands the context in which theater, film, television, and electronic media are performed today as well as in the past.
Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.
Listening and Speaking
Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.
Contributes to the overall effort of a group.
Displays effective interpersonal communication skills.
Thinking and Reasoning
Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument.
Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences.
This lesson was prepared by Lisa Prososki, an independent educational consultant and instructional design specialist who taught middle school and high school social studies, English, reading, and technology courses for 12 years.