Lonny Price, the director of a new production of “Company” that will have four performances with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall starting Thursday, was guiding the performers he had on hand through a dry run of “The Little Things You Do Together.”
But to accommodate its A-list performers such as Patti LuPone, Neil Patrick Harris, Jon Cryer, Martha Plimpton, Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks, Jim Walton, Craig Bierko, Katie Finneran and Anika Noni Rose — who, with their multitude of day jobs and existing commitments, will not be all in the same place until Thursday — the production has resorted to a grab bag of strategies, shortcuts and cheats, some old school and others newfangled, to get its far-flung cast up to speed as quickly as possible.
Turning to Amy Rogers, a former assistant of his who directs Pace’s musical theater-program, Price recruited students there to learn the show over the winter; they were then recorded singing the songs and performing the blocking and choreography in audio and video files given to the production’s official cast.
For the Pace students in “Company’s” backup cast, the assignment hardly feels like homework at all.
“I had lunch today with Jon Cryer and Jim Walton,” said Cathryn Salamone, a 20-year-old sophomore who has been covering for Ms. LuPone and Ms. Finneran. “These little things, I kind of have to pinch myself sometimes. People can be however famous they can be, but people are people and it’s so cool.”
She added: “I honestly have been to maybe two classes in the past three weeks, so I’ll be very depressed when this is over.”