It was opening night on November 10 for the performance of Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy, “Company.” It was a full house, and the audience was stoked with anticipation. So was Beth O’Neil, artistic director of the theater, because it was the first time the theater had ever hosted a musical.
“We are thrilled with the way the production turned out. Everything from the cast, set, and crew is phenomenal. Seeing the audience appreciate and love the show last night was amazing.”
“Company” is one of Steven Sondheim’s most well-known and beloved musicals. It was nominated for 14 Tony awards and won six (the revival with the gender switch from Bobby to Bobbie won five Tonys). It is the classic example of a great Broadway success.
It’s a story of relationships. The lead character, Bobby, is celebrating his 35th birthday and begins to take stock of his life and his relationships. His friends all want him to get married, and as he looks at their relationships, he sees a lot of pros and cons. There are a lot of well-acted hilarious scenes portrayed in the vignettes of his married friends. In the end, Bobby has to decide for himself about love, companionship, and “being alive.”
Angel Berlane Mulcahy, has been performing as an actor for more than 28 years, and directing for more than 11 years. She has performed and directed on the stages of Shawnee Playhouse, Pocono Playhouse, and in community theaters in the Wilkes Barre-Scranton area.
She pays great attention to detail, as well as keeping all the moving performers in mind.
Lorenzo Medico started his own production company in 2021 called Artic Entertainment (Art in the Community). His goal is to become one of the premier entertainment companies in the tri-state area.
Production Stage Manager Chiara Marone created a unique set just for this production, allowing the pit band to be on a parapet overseeing the actors on stage and in front of a New York City backdrop. This allowed the band to be close enough to really connect with the actors on stage.
Musical Director Sandy Stalter led this pit band consisting of herself playing first keyboard, George Stalter on drums and percussion, Alvera Sylvester on second keyboard, and Jeff Wurster playing bass. She conducted the band with precision, and at the same time managed to be in total symbiosis with the singers. Sandy, who has degrees in music and theater, is very familiar with this musical. One could see her mouthing the words as she was in sync with each singer. Her favorite song is also the most famous Sondheim song, “Being Alive.”
Asked which song she felt was the most difficult, she said the opener, “Company,” because it is so complex and has different melodies and rhythms going on at the same time.
Kelly Jean Graham choreographed the dancing and the stage movements, which were complex and had to be varied, since many of the scenes had the actors surrounding Bobby — some circling him, others behind or in front of him. She managed to make the movements unique and interesting. Graham is a dance instructor at Romar Dance Studio in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, and is the musical choreographer at Scranton Prep and Parkland High School. She also doubled as an actor playing the role of Kathy.
The audience reaction
It was clear that the audience understood the humor and appreciated the music and acting.
Carol Proulx commented, “The voices were outstanding. You don’t have to go to Broadway. It’s all here.”
“The bride to be [Mackenzie Maula] was excellent,” said Ray Proulx.
Mary Roth remarked, “It was my first time seeing ‘Company’ and it was phenomenal. Everything about marriage still holds up today.”
Sherry France (co-owner of Golden Gifts Jewelry) exclaimed, “It was realistic. Cute. Gets all the points about real marriage and meeting people [the dating scene]. It was a fun and energetic way to spend the evening.”
The standing ovation at the end said it all!
Additional performances are scheduled for November 17 and 19 at 8 p.m. and a matinee November 19 at 2 p.m. The theater is located at 114 E. Catharine St.
For tickets and more, visit milfordhospitalitygroup.com/company-a-musical-comedy.