It was really bright the day we took this pic, can ya tell?
From the D&C:
There comes a time in life when people start questioning their single life.
For some, it’s when they’re 21. For Bobby in Stephen Sondheim’s Company, it’s on his 35th birthday.
He has three girlfriends. His friends are all in various stages of marriage. Is it time to settle down?
Marriage has threaded itself throughout Geva Theatre’s mainstage season this year, so Company is a fitting conclusion, says Mark Cuddy, the theater’s artistic director. It looks at marriage in a °360 way.
So what does Company say about marriage?
â€œI want them to go away with the idea that marriage is the way you look at it, says Jim Poulos, a Geva veteran who plays Bobby. “It’s not the institution, it’s the people involved.”
“Marriage is always messy and always beautiful,” says Nicolette Hart, a Penfield native who plays Marta, one of Bobby’s girlfriends. “Every marriage has the moment where (you realize) this is the person they want to spend the rest of their life with.”
For Cuddy, who is directing the musical, the message has changed a bit since he started diving into the production.
“I want people to feel the respect and love for everyone’s relationship choices” that there’s no cookie cutter, says Cuddy. “Be honest with what you’re doing, and your friends will support that.”
Playwright George Furth and Sondheim structured the play around several vignettes as Bobby interacts with his couple friends and girlfriends and ponders whether it’s time to settle down.
“I find myself getting very emotional going through (rehearsals), says Poulos, 39. Bobby is always one or two clicks too zoomed into the situation, and if he would just pull back he’d see the master picture.”
Of course, his friends talk to him through Sondheim songs, including “Being Alive,” “Marry Me a Little,” “Another Hundred People” challenging yet many times mesmerizing, say Poulos and Hart.
The musical was ahead of its time in its first go-around on Broadway, winning the 1971 Tony Award for best original musical. The 2006 Broadway production won a best revival Tony.
“It’s layered and smart. It’s a huge gift,” Hart says. “The lyrics are so great … you just want to do justice to every single syllable.”
“But the vignette style of storytelling is challenging, she says, because the scenes are not in chronological order. You don’t want to foreshadow events that happen later in the show or have your character know more than she should,” Hart says.
Although some of the show concentrates on what makes a New Yorker tick, Cuddy believes the relationship themes will definitely resonate in upstate New York.
He especially likes the show because it looks at marriage in all its stages and in a mature way.
As the cast (which also includes Brighton High School graduate Bruce Sabath) makes its way through rehearsals, Cuddy says he’s constantly asking whether theyâ€™re â€œmaking it honest.â€
â€œItâ€™s not just a musical comedy, and the cast is totally game for it, so it makes the stakes higher,â€ Cuddy says.