Keeping ‘Company’ at Memorial Opera House

2014-04-24T04:00:00Z 2014-04-24T13:25:08Z Keeping ‘Company’ at Memorial Opera HouseTim Shellberg Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 24, 2014 4:00 am  • 

Scot PJ MacDonald, director of Valparaiso’s Memorial Opera House’s production of “Company,” expects viewers to leave the theater with their own unique take on the acclaimed musical.

“I hope they walk away and take a look at the relationships that they’re in and that these characters are in,” he said. “I hope they say ‘wow. I’m glad I’m not in a relationship like that'’ or ‘I know someone who's in a relationship like that’ or ‘I’ve experienced that.’ I hope they walk away feeling love for themselves or the relationships that they're in.”

Running Friday through May 11, “Company” chronicles, through brief vignettes, the trials and tribulations of Robert, a 30-something single man, his married peers, and a series of girlfriends, making their way through their lives, both individually and amongst each other, in the Big Apple.

Penned by Chicago-reared playwright and thesp George Furth, it features music by Stephen Sondheim. Songs include “Being Alive,” “Someone is Waiting” and “Have I Got a Girl for You.

“Company” made its Broadway debut in the spring of 1970 and ran for more than 700 performances and took home nearly a half dozen Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Music and Lyrics for Sondheim.

In 1995 and 2006, “Company” was revived along the Great White Way.

“It’s a nice, appealing look at how relationships work,” said MacDonald, who also serves as Memorial Opera House’s artistic director. “It’s not an ‘Oklahoma’ or a classical musical. We’re trying to expose our audience to work that’s a little more contemporary and, while this is a little bit of an older show, (the stories) still ring true today, and it is a little more contemporary, style-wise.”

Michael Snyder from Cedar Lake plays Robert in the production. He is joined onstage by JoBeth Cruz, Michael Glorioso, Heather Clark, Colleen Peluso, John Peluso and Andrew Brent from Valparaiso, DeMotte’s Laura Simmons, Schererville’s Justin Treasure and Lisa Woodruff-Hedin from Munster as his married peers.

Additionally, Miller’s Kelli Manigrasso, Munster’s Madolyn Hedin and Chesterton’s Stephanie Rice portray Robert’s girlfriends.

“I could not ask for a better cast or a better crew to work with,” MacDonald said. “The cast is just top-notch. They’ve really worked hard and are doing such a great job in presenting the realistic side of the story and have stayed true to their characters.”

While “Company” was penned and set in the Big Apple in the early '70s, MacDonald and his cast and crew opted to turn the clocks back a few years, placing his characters in 1967.

“The social issues that took place (in 1967) were a little bit softer than, say, putting it in today,” MacDonald said. “By today’s standards, a lot of the social issues (in 1967) weren’t that big of a deal.”

Next up for Memorial Opera House is a production of “The Glass Menagerie,” scheduled to open June 13.

FYI: “Company” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and May 2-3, 9-10 and 2 p.m. Sunday and May 4 and 11 at Memorial Opera House, 104 E. Indiana Ave., Valparaiso. Cost is $21 adults, $18 seniors, military and students. Call (219) 548-9137 or visit MEMORIALOPERAHOUSE.COM

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