Writers Theatre’s COMPANY runs June 15-July 31
Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, concludes its 2015/16 season with Company, featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The production is directed by William Brown. Company features original orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, Orchestral Reductions by Ian Weinberger, music direction by Tom Vendafreddo and choreography by Brock Clawson. The show runs June 15 – July 31, 2016 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.
It’s Bobby’s 35th birthday and he’s still single, trying to find a way to have a serious relationship without a serious commitment. But as his friends—all couples at different stages in their marriages—impose their unique perspectives of relationship function and dysfunction on him, Bobby is forced to consider relaxing his determined grip on bachelorhood as he begins to explore one of life’s greatest questions—what does it mean to be alive?
Winner of seven Tony Awards, Company is a witty, sophisticated and deeply honest look at contemporary relationships. Featuring some of Sondheim’s best-known songs, including “Side by Side by Side,” “Marry Me a Little,” and “Being Alive,” Company is considered a true masterpiece by one of the finest composers of our time.
Directed by William Brown, who previously helmed WT’s hit production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, Company will continue the Theatre’s tradition of breathing fresh life into great American musicals.
“Longtime Writers Theatre favorite William Brown, who gave us a breathtaking production of A Little Night Music, will lend his magic touch to Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company,” says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “It is fitting that the first musical in our new home should be penned by a true master of the form.”
“From the moment it was announced—more than a year ago—every single person I meet, no matter what their role in life is, says ‘Company? That’s one of my favorite musicals!’ Why isn’t it done every five minutes?” says Director William Brown. “I never for a second underestimate the great fortune I had, growing up with Writers Theatre artistically. This is one of the great theatre cities on earth, and to be a part of an organization that has continually moved forward, and now to be in that most celebratory of buildings, I’m constantly grateful.”
The cast of Company includes Thom Miller (Bobby), Bernard Balbot (Paul), Jess Godwin (April), Allison Hendrix (Amy), James Earl Jones II (Harry), Patrick Martin (David), Christine Mild (Marta), Chelsea Morgan(Kathy), Lia Mortensen (Joanne), Blair Robertson (Jenny), Alexis J. Rogers (Sarah), Gabriel Ruiz (Peter),Patrick Sarb (Larry) and Tiffany Scott (Susan).
The designers are Todd Rosenthal (Scenic Designer), Rachel Anne Healy (Costume Designer), Jesse Klug(Lighting Designer) and Josh Horvath (Sound Designer). The Production Stage Manager is David Castellanos and the CFM Contractor is Nick Moran.
Company first opened on Broadway in 1970, directed by Harold Prince with musical staging by Michael Bennett. The production was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning six including Best Musical, Direction, Book, Lyrics, Original Score and Scenic Design.
The 2006 Broadway revival was directed and choreographed by John Doyle and featured the cast providing the orchestral accompaniment for the show. Raúl Esparza was the first Latino actor to play Bobby in a major production of Company. The production won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and was taped and broadcast on the Great Performances program of PBS in 2007 (released on DVD in 2008).
Company was Sondheim’s first great solo success for which he both wrote the lyrics and composed the music—having done so previously on A Funny Thing Happened to the Way to the Forum (1962) andAnyone Can Whistle (1964). For his other early career musical projects—West Side Story (1957), Gypsy(1959) and Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965)—he had only written lyrics, while others composed the music.Company established Sondheim as the leading voice in American musical theatre at the dawn of the 70s, a decade he would continue to dominate with his follow-up works, A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976) and Sweeney Todd (1979).
Company is William Brown’s 16th production as a director at Writers Theatre where he previously directedDoubt: A Parable, Port Authority, The Liar, A Little Night Music, Heartbreak House, Do the Hustle, Old Glory, As You Like It, Another Part of the Forest, Arms and the Man, Our Town, Rocket to the Moon, Misalliance, Incident at Vichy and The Glass Menagerie.
Sondheim’s a Little Night Music, directed by William Brown, is the second highest selling show at Writers Theatre to date.
Company is Writers Theatre’s seventh musical following Days Like Today (2014—world premiere), Sweet Charity (2013), A Little Night Music (2012), She Loves Me (2010), Oh Coward! (2009) and A Minister’s Wife (2009—world premiere).
There has not been an Equity production of Company at a professional theatre in Chicagoland since 1989, although there have been several non-Equity storefront theatre productions.
This production includes five performers returning to Writers Theatre (Bernard Balbot, James Earl Jones II, Alexis J. Rogers, Gabriel Ruiz and Tiffany Scott) and nine performers making their Writers Theatre debut (Jess Godwin, Allison Hendrix, Patrick Martin, Christine Mild, Thom Miller, Chelsea Morgan, Lia Mortensen, Blair Robertson and Patrick Sarb).
Company is the second production ever in the Alexandra C. & John D. Nichols Theatre and the first musical in the new theatre center at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects, led by founder and design principal Jeanne Gang.