Northwestern students to perform Tony Award Winning play

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Northwestern students to perform Tony Award Winning play

March 25, 2011

 Cast of 'Company'
Cast members in the upcoming production of “Company: A Musical Comedy” at Northwestern Oklahoma State University rehearse the song “Company” during an early evening practice Thursday. The “PG-13” performance will take place in Herod Hall Auditorium on April 7-8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 2 p.m.

Nearly 40 people have been working for the last few months preparing for the Northwestern Oklahoma State University theatre program’s production of “Company: A Musical Comedy.” The show is April 7-8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 2 p.m. in Herod Hall Auditorium in Alva. Admission is $3 for students with a valid ID, $8 for university employees with ID and $10 for all others.

Based on a book by George Furth with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this originally staged 1970 Broadway show’s storyline is set in New York and follows the anti-hero bachelor Robert as he makes his way through a series of encounters with April (the stewardess), Kathy (the girl who's going to marry someone else), and Marta (the "peculiar" one), as well as with his married friends.

On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor Robert contemplates his unmarried state. In vignette after hilarious vignette, the audience will be introduced to "those good and crazy people," his married friends, as Robert weighs the pros and cons of married life. In the end, he realizes being alone is "alone, not alive."

“Because the show is a series of vignettes, without a strong, driving plot-line, Sondheim decided against using a traditional Rodgers and Hammerstein-style structure, where songs expand a character's feelings and flow directly out of the plot,” according to information provided by Musical Theatre International. “Instead, he wrote songs which occur unexpectedly and which comment on the theme of the show.”

The original production had a multi-leveled set of five apartments accessible by an onstage elevator while looking at the multi-leveled buildings of Lincoln Center. The cast had to do everything - sing, act and dance. Only one professional dancer was hired for the show because the choreographer wanted the rest of the cast to look like real people when they danced.

In a review published in The Wall Street Journal in 1970, it says of the production: “There is nothing fragile about ‘Company’… it is by turns brassy, brittle, sympathetic, cynical, romantic, calculating and alive-oh so very much alive. It's been a long time since a musical has come along with so many show-stopping numbers, the kind that get cheers and whistling from the good folk in the balcony, as well as the fat cats in the orchestra... Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics add up to one of the best scores on Broadway…”

“Company” earned seven Tony Awards in 1971. Three of the songs in the production include "Getting Married Today," "The Ladies Who Lunch" and "Being Alive."

The director for Northwestern’s production is Kimberly Weast, associate professor of theatre. She said that although the production is funny, the music is wonderful and should be well-liked by all, it is not a “family-friendly” production. And, although they’ve made the otherwise “R” production into a “PG-13,” there still may be some scenes, situations and language not appropriate for some.

“The music is very difficult,” Weast said. “However, we have talented students who are conquering the challenge. I believe people will enjoy hearing the music and watching this story of love and self-evaluation unfold.”

Lewanna Newell, adjunct instructor of music, is serving as the musical director. Weast also is charge of the the set and lighting design.

Members of the cast, their hometowns, classifications, majors and roles they’re playing follows:

Charlie Burns, Sayre senior, speech/theatre and mass communication double major is “Robert;” Becky Burke, Oilton senior, mass communication, “Sarah;” Bob Gilliland, Masham senior, conservation law enforcement, “Harry;” Sara Acosta, Woodward sophomore, speech/theatre, “Susan;” Stuart Campbell, Longview, Texas, sophomore, speech/theatre, “Peter;” Lindsey Coffin, Enid sophomore, dual certification music education, “Jenny;” Joseph Perez, Houston, Texas, senior, mass communication, “David;” Kristy Benson, Cherokee junior, speech/theatre, “Amy;” Strick Reyes, Waynoka sophomore, music, “Paul;” Dana Miller, Alva junior, vocal music, “Joanne;” Arthur Bohlmann, Hooker senior, instrumental music education, “Larry;” Alexa Thomas, Noble freshman, music, “Marta;” Ashley Schmitz, Laverne junior, vocal music education, “Kathy;” and Tali McDonald, Alva sophomore, speech/theatre, “April.”

Understudy/Ensemble cast members are Joshua Faulkner, Hooker freshman, dual certification music education; Whitney Grover, Fresno, Calif., sophomore, psychology; Braeden Jenkins, Oklahoma City freshman, speech/theatre; Jessica McDow, Woodward sophomore, elementary education; Dalton Lamberth, Sharon freshman, vocal performance; and Alica Hall, Alva graduate student, speech/theatre, who also is a member of the crew as Costume Master.

Crew members include Stage Manager Patrick Wilson, Aubrey, Texas, freshman, speech/theatre; Assistant Stage Managers Josi Hasenauer, Wallace, Neb., sophomore, nursing, and Lauren Weiss, Anthony, Kan., sophomore, speech/theatre; Shop Foreman and Paint Charge Ashlynn Walker, Perryton, Texas, senior, speech/theatre; Assistant Paint Charge Kristy Benson; Lighting Master Cory Kerr, Conway Springs, Kan., senior, vocal music; Lighting Master Assistant and Lighting Board Assistant Adrian Saldana, Buffalo sophomore, mass communication; Master Carpenter and Lighting Board Operator Micah Roberts, Newkirk freshman, linguistics and architecture double major, and Co-Master Carpenter Tristin Hays, Okeene freshman, business; Audio Design and Audio Master Jerad Bradt, Alva, university employee; Choreographers Tylar Mead, Alva freshman, speech/theatre; Morgan Potter, Kellyville freshman, biology; and Charlie Burns; Costume Assistant Charidy Burgeson, community volunteer.

Members of the band include Kelsey Towns, Alva freshman, dual certification music education on flute/alto flute/piccolo; Dayna Heitfeld, Garber freshman, dual certification music education, oboe/tenor sax; Adam Jones, Thomas freshman, biology, percussion/alto sax; Cory Kerr, tuba/trombone; Max Ridgway, adjunct instructor of music, bass; and Dr. Ling-Yu (Alice) Kan, assistant professor of music, piano.