Clear your schedule from Wednesday, Nov. 15 through Saturday, Nov. 18, 7:30-9:30 p.m. for the musical “Company.” The Tony Award winning show will be held in the Main Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center and will be put on by Keene State College’s very own Department of Theatre and Dance.
Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance, and director of KSC’s “Company” Kirstin Riegler, said, “Stephen Sondheim, to me, is probably the most influential human in the art form of American Musical Theatre. He has complex music, the lyrics are tricky and also the style of the show is not your typical start from beginning to end book show.”
“Company” is a comedic musical that was originally produced in 1970 by Stephen Sondheim and is based on the book written by George Furth.
The main character, Bobby, is a longtime bachelor who is learning about the ups and downs of being in a committed relationship from his married friends. On the day of his thirty-fifth birthday, he begins to question his single lifestyle through a series of comedic scenarios.
“It’s a concept musical,” said Riegler. This means it does not follow a chronological order or a delineated plot.
Many people have had a hand in making this show come alive. The scenic designer for the show, faculty member Joseph S. Blaha, said, “I’ve been working on making the scenery a good palette for [the cast] to be present in the show,” Blaha said.
However, the set will not be exactly like the original adaptation of the musical. Production Manager and KSC Lecturer Keith Stevens said, “Even though this is a stripped down version of the show, it’s still pretty big.”
Along with the set design, costumes are another important aspect of any show. Costume Designer and KSC Lecturer Mary Robarge said, “My part is the last element to get added to sort of round out the characters…It’s exciting to see it come together, because all of a sudden you see these people start to become ‘who they are’ on stage.”
One of the people who will be embodying these costumes and set designs is KSC senior and dance major Jennifer Riley. Riley will be the role of Kathy in the play, who is one of Bobby’s three girlfriends. She designed two of her own dances for the show.
“I took different approaches with the two dances I choreographed…While both the numbers tell a story, I took a more literal approach with ‘Drive’ than I did with ‘Tick Tock,’” said Riley.
“We have not cut any dialogue out, we’re doing it as it’s written,” said Riegler.
The show will be performed true to the original version, but with one distinct alteration. Riegler said, “Usually actors leave stage, but for my concept no actor leaves stage. That’s kind of my different spin on it.”
The certain flare that KSC is adding to the musical places emphasis on the cast on the show. “I think what Kirstin has put together is really highlighting the performers and the students in a way that they are all present completely…Whenever you’re seeing a scene present, the rest of the cast is right there behind them…it’s all eyes on everything,” said Blaha.
Riegler said that one of the reasons she chose “Company” to be performed by the department is, “to challenge them [the cast]…it isn’t easy to be doing the show we’re doing, and they’re tackling it pretty well.” Riegler also said she is “excited for the audiences of Keene to see a show that isn’t your typical ‘book musical.’”
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org