Presentation Title

Being Alive: The Role of Masculinity in Sondheim's "Company"

Biographical Sketch

My name is Tanner Elrod and I am first-year graduate student in the Masters of English Program at the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH. Currently, I am on the Rhetoric and Composition track with interests in grant-writing, business and technical writing, and podcast creation and production. I am an avid theater goer and could spend hours discussing anything related to Broadway.

Type of Presentation

Individual presentation

Brief Description of Presentation

The presentation would involve viewing various small scenes of the musical "Company" and analyzing how the lyrics, book, and context of the show create a narrative of masculinity and how it should look, sound, and be presented.

Abstract of Proposal

The re-emergence of theater as a form of popular culture has resulted in playwrights and musical producers creating content that addresses issues faced by their audience. In the words of Neil Patrick Harris, "The theater isn't just for gays anymore." Because of this, content in the theater world has shifted from glitz and glamour to gritty and hard-hitting. One of the musicals that first addressed topics outside of the real of fancy was Stephen Sondheim's musical, "Company".

My research has found that "Company" focuses on the ideas of masculinity and marriage through the central character of Bobby. Bobby, a perpetual bachelor, contemplates the ideas of love, partnership, and what it means to be a "married man" in modern society. Through the use of critical media literacy, students would be able to analyze "Company" and critically examine the idea of the "modern man". Critical media literacy promotes the idea of analyzing media in order to see media as an avenue for discussing relevant social issues. "Compnay" provides a platform for the analysis of the ever-changing ideas and perceptions related to masculinity and what it means to be a man.

Start Date

2-24-2018 8:10 AM

End Date

2-24-2018 9:40 AM

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Feb 24th, 8:10 AM Feb 24th, 9:40 AM

Being Alive: The Role of Masculinity in Sondheim's "Company"

The re-emergence of theater as a form of popular culture has resulted in playwrights and musical producers creating content that addresses issues faced by their audience. In the words of Neil Patrick Harris, "The theater isn't just for gays anymore." Because of this, content in the theater world has shifted from glitz and glamour to gritty and hard-hitting. One of the musicals that first addressed topics outside of the real of fancy was Stephen Sondheim's musical, "Company".

My research has found that "Company" focuses on the ideas of masculinity and marriage through the central character of Bobby. Bobby, a perpetual bachelor, contemplates the ideas of love, partnership, and what it means to be a "married man" in modern society. Through the use of critical media literacy, students would be able to analyze "Company" and critically examine the idea of the "modern man". Critical media literacy promotes the idea of analyzing media in order to see media as an avenue for discussing relevant social issues. "Compnay" provides a platform for the analysis of the ever-changing ideas and perceptions related to masculinity and what it means to be a man.