Question: I know that you are a big fan of musical theater, and I was wondering if you've had a chance to view the version of Company that will air on PBS Feb. 20th. Having seen the production last year, I really hope that the filmed version captures the amazing performance I saw from Raul Esparza. With the television season cut short by the strike and less heavy competition, might Raul Esparza have a shot at an Emmy?
Answer: If ever there was a star turn that lived up to the title of Great Performances (the PBS franchise that's presenting Company), it's Raul Esparza's brilliant Bobby. My review will be out later this week, in the magazine and online. I thought they did a terrific job of capturing the look and feel of this unusual revival, in which the cast doubles as the orchestra. (With a few really great payoffs, most notably the three girls tooting their saxes during the "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" number.) Esparza's charisma and intensity knocked me out when I saw the show in person, a couple of times — including the final performance before closing, which had the audience in a frenzy. He's equally good on film, and we're lucky to have this one captured for posterity. (Made me think, if he returns next season to Pushing Daisies, that they'd be crazy if they didn't give him a love duet with Kristin Chenoweth.) As for his Emmy chances: Don't rule it out. Brian Dennehy was nominated for an Emmy (and won a Golden Globe) a few years back for Showtime's stage-to-TV transfer of his shattering performance in Death of a Salesman.