One of the best benefits of reviewing for STAGE Magazine has been the discovery of new theaters. Last Sunday was another one of those delightfully rich experiences. COMPANY is one of Stephen Sondheim’s finest early works. It has been tweaked in revivals and has developed its own cult following. COMPANY is the story of bachelor, Bobby and his married friends. The show explores different points of view on marriage and the relation between married and single friends. It is a series of vignettes interspersed by poignant, insightful songs.
Director David Charles creates a lovely, environmental playground for his talented and energetic cast. The show bounces seamlessly from scene to scene at the Black Box Theater on the campus of Ursinus College. It is a lovely venue, and director Charles, music director, Laura-Marie Burhans and choregrapher, Rose-Marie Abi-Richa fill it with music and movement that both entertains and educates.
As the central character Bobby, Paul Recupero does a great job both singing and acting. He is particularly strong at relating to each couple individually. He helps define them as unique relationships. He plumbs George Furth’s book for nuance that enriches an already substantial show.
All of the couples have their moments. It is an extremely strong ensemble that works as well as parts as they do as a unit. There are also the three girls that Bobby is dating Marta (Becca Schiel), April (Lisa Bassett), and Kathy (Jessica Corropolese). They, too, do a great job showing Bobby’s problems with relationships.
It is hard to single out individuals in such a strong ensemble production, but a couple stood out for me. First, Harry (Steve Carrasco) does a soulful rendition of “Sorry, Grateful.” Next Paul (Jeff Hunsicker), Amy (Kate Reynolds), and Sarah (Kate Nice) do a peripatetic version of “Not Getting Married Today.” A third highlight for me was Joanne’s (Michelle English) fierce rendition of “The Ladies Who Lunch.” I apologize to anyone I omitted, for so many moments were memorable.
The show runs until January 17th and deserves to be seen by as many people as can make it. You will enjoy yourself in such good COMPANY.
Music by Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Directed by David Charles
Music Director – Laura-Marie Burhans
January 9 – 17, 2015
601 East Main Street
Collegeville, PA 19426