||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
UW-Eau Claire Theatre to Present
Landmark Musical 'Company'
MAILED: Feb. 17, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE -- There's one unusual feature of "Company" that director Wil Denson finds appealing, especially for a campus that has more females than males.
"It's one of the very few shows that features women," Denson said. "It fits our enrollment right now. There are more women than men in the show and it fits our campus."
"Company" will be presented by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-28, March 4-7, and at 1:30 p.m. March 1 in Gantner Concert Hall of the Fine Arts Center.
The book was written by George Furth and the music and lyrics were composed by Steven Sondheim.
Immediately called a "landmark musical," "Company" is set in a New York City cityscape in the '70s. However, UW-Eau Claire's production will take place in the present, Denson said.
Although the story focuses on a single man named Robert and his married friends, Denson said the themes are endless.
"There is no real storyline. It's sort of a snapshot of life today," he said. "The show has to be entertaining but there's a range of possibilities of thinking."
Some of the themes include handling life in a big city, personal relationships, marriage and loneliness, he said.
Senior Katie Kelly, who plays a tough, aggressive woman named Sarah, said one theme that sticks out is dealing with life as a single person.
"I think one of the things is that it's not so bad to be a single person. All of the married couples in the show have something drastic happen to them," said Kelly, of Brooklyn Center, Minn.
One of the reasons "Company" won so many awards when it came out was its originality, Denson said.
"It was a huge hit. People were really talking about it because it was so different," he said.
Not only did the play's unusualness appeal to Denson, but also the fact the music and lyrics were written by Steven Sondheim, his favorite composer.
The dancing and acting is there, but the lyrics really show, Denson said. The singers have to be able to understand their words, he said.
Because this production takes place in the present, Denson said the costumes designed will be contemporary. The set, including a stylized cityscape, must convey the "coldness, hard-edged utility of the city," he said.
Kelly said the camaraderie of the cast plus performing in the show makes all the rehearsals worthwhile.
"By the time we open the show, it's going to be at such a high professional level," she said. "It's just an incredible cast."
Students assisting Denson will be senior Angi Nechanicky, an assistant director from Albert Lea, Minn., and senior Christina Aron, a rehearsal accompanist from Wisconsin Rapids.
William F. Mellien is the scenic and lighting designer, Ann Behrens in the costume designer, Art Gulig is the sound designer and Kirsten Lindsey is the makeup designer. Dr. Robert Knight is the musical director and Kate Zavada is the choreographer.
Tickets are $8 for the general public, $6 for senior citizens and youths, or $5 for UW-Eau Claire staff, faculty and students. Tickets may be purchased at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 16, 1998