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Marianne Elliott describes how she made Stephen Sondheim cry in Company rehearsals

Elliott just won her third Tony Award

Stephen Sondheim and Marianne Elliott
© Dan Wooller

Earlier tonight, Marianne Elliott was named Best Director of a Musical at the Tony Awards for her gender-swapped production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company – which first ran in the West End before moving to Broadway.

Prior to his passing in November 2021, Sondheim was heavily involved with Elliott's production, making changes large and small to allow for the concept, and also serving as somewhat of a mentor along the way. Elliott mentioned that she even spoke to Sondheim three days before his passing.

In the press room at the Tonys, we posed Elliott the question "What is the best note Sondheim gave you over the course of this process?" Her answer was a moving one - not exactly a note, but a memorable moment:

"I remember him coming into the rehearsal room and when everyone got into that small box and sang 'Company,' he started crying. I thought that was the end of my career, and then he said, "This is exactly what I had originally imagined - that it was extremely claustrophobic." All the friends storming into her room and crushing her in there was exactly what he thought of when he wrote it."

Elliott also said that the moment that released the whole show was when Sondheim told her that the full show only really happens over the course of three seconds – inside Bobbie's mind.

Find out more about Company here.

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