This Saturday is the opening night for the Department of Theatre and Dance’s last and latest musical of the year, “Company.”
According to Tommy Newman, a lecturer of theater and the director of “Company,” the show is about Bobby and his struggle as a 35-year-old man trying to figure out love and relationships and “where he fits in the world in terms of being able to commit to another person in his life.”
“Company” was composed in 1969 by Stephen Sondheim, who is also known for his famous musicals “West Side Story” and “Into the Woods.”
“As far as music goes, I just don’t think that in general in musical theater there is not a much more beautiful song and more exciting song than the finale of the show, which is ‘Being Alive,’” Newman said. “Sondheim is a real master at creating drama through song and through intense and complex music and lots of poetic lyrics.”
This production will be set in more modern times to be more contemporary and reflect how the issues presented in the play are still relevant today.
“While Bobby is disconnected as a person in his life, he’s not made these connections with people in a real and tangible way,” Newman said. “I think that that’s also something that we deal with because of technology and because of our phones and because we’re constantly sort of putting up one face for the world to see.
“We’re not building relationships in person like we did 15, 20 years ago.”
The play is encouraged to be seen by mature audiences, as it does feature some mature content, such as a scene where three characters smoke marijuana and talk about it, and a scene where two of the characters simulate sex in bed through a musical number.
The show also incorporates a lot of humor and levity, and Newman offers assurance that it won’t be a “downer.”
“The show has a lot of comedic moments, and you’ll see that especially in the first act,” said Patrick Jackson, a junior theater performance major from Troy who plays David. “But I think the bigger overall picture, which you’ll see later in the second act, is Bobby really trying to find himself in all that.”
“Company” features five different couples, all influencing the main character Bobby in different ways in his decision of whether or not to commit to a long-term relationship.
“It shows so many different types of marriages,” Jackson said. “It shows that not everything is peaches and oranges.
“Marriage is something that you really have to work. It’s a job every day; it’s a two-person job.”
The couples each represent a different approach or aspect of relationships and, according to one cast member, can change one’s mind about marriage or allow a person to see it in a new way.
“It opened my eyes to how all marriages are very different,” said Caylee Sanders, a junior communication arts theater major from Goshen who plays April. “You discover things about yourself when you’re married that you may not have ever discovered when you were not.”
Troy’s non-linear production embraces the conceptual nature of the show and is told largely through flashbacks as Bobby sits in a bar on the eve of his 35th birthday. It will also incorporate video and technological elements never before seen in a production at Troy.
“I hope that people walk away from the musical with a sense of how love is something that is worth the struggle,” Newman said. “If you truly love someone, then it is worth it to be with them and to stick around and to make a commitment and to sort of follow through.”
According to Newman, the department originally had planned to put on a production of “Evita,” but circumstances changed at the last minute and they decided to do “Company” this semester instead.
“Company” will be performed in the Trojan Center Theatre at 7 p.m. on April 21, 23 and 24 and at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on April 22. Tickets are sold online at troytheatreanddance.org and at the Trojan Center Box Office.
They are $10 regular admission and $5 with a student ID.
“I think everyone our age should see it,” Sanders said. “If you’re not sure what your perspective on marriage is or if you want to see what other people think about it, even if it is the old Stephen Sondheim, this is a good way to do it.”