Stephen Sondheim's Company at Limelight Theatre

Stephen Sondheim's Company at Limelight Theatre

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Posted 2023-10-21 by grooverfollow

Thu 16 Nov 2023 - Sat 02 Dec 2023

The Stephen Sondheim musical Company – focusing on 35-year-old Bobby – is coming to Limelight Theatre.

A sensational Broadway musical comes alive at Limelight Theatre this November, full of wit and charm while exploring the complexities of modern relationships. Written by popular composer Stephen Sondheim and directed by Gillian Binks, Company focuses on Bobby who, after celebrating his 35th birthday, still can’t commit to a steady relationship despite wanting to share his life with someone.

Bobby {David Wallace, centre} can’t decide on April {Erin Craddock}, Kathy {Tatum Stafford} or Marta {Charlotte Louise} in Company.

Looking at how he interacts with three girlfriends and five couples who are his best friends, Company was one of the first musicals to deal with contemporary relationship issues through its lyrics and melodies. Sondheim is famous for Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Gypsy, among others, and Company won six Tony Awards – including best musical – when first produced in 1970.

Harry {Andrew Brown, left} and Sarah {Genevieve Newman} show off their karate moves in front of their friend Bobby {David Wallace}.

Company is about love, loneliness and the pursuit of happiness,” Gillian said. “Stephen Sondheim is my favourite musical theatre composer and yet Company is his only musical that I have actually performed in. I'd find it too difficult to direct any other Sondheim show because I'd want to be in it and the fear of missing out would be too severe!”

Bobby {David Wallace, centre} discovers Amy {Madeleine Shaw, left} is unsure about her marriage to Paul {Ryan Dawson}.

The most challenging aspect, according to Gillian, is the music. “Taui Pinker is doing a fantastic job as a musical director of his first Sondheim show – in fact, the entire team has been motivated, organised and professional throughout,” she said.

Larry {Chris Bedding, left} and Joanne {Jane Anderson} striking a light with Bobby {David Wallace} in the club.

Involved in theatre for more than 35 years and a WA Academy of Performing Arts graduate, Gillian has worked as an actor, choreographer and director with various companies including Musicmakers, Playlovers, Dirty Dicks Theatre Restaurant, Pristine Entertainment and the Regal, Limelight, Yellow Glass, Whiplash and Kwinana Theatres. In 1998, she scored the Finley Award for best musical for her production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Susan {Aleisha Archer, left} and Peter {Marshall Brown} are friends of Bobby {David Wallace} in Company.

I made a promise about five years ago to our leading man David Wallace that I would direct Company for him,” Gillian said. “He has performed in Company twice before but never as Bobby. David did me a huge favour when a cast member was unable to attend a performance of Side by Side, which I directed.

Bobby {David Wallace, left} relaxes and chills with Jenny {Grace Johnson} and David {Charlie Darlington}.

When reflecting on his musical, Sondheim said: “Company does deal with upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. Broadway theatre has been for many years supported by those people. They really want to escape and here we’re saying we’ll bring it right back in their faces... what they came to a musical to avoid, they suddenly find facing them on the stage.”

Company composer Stephen Sondheim

In the book The Sound of Musicals, Sondheim also said: “Company says very clearly that to be emotionally committed to somebody is very difficult but to be alone is impossible.” And in Finishing the Hat, Sondheim’s first volume of his collected lyrics, sums up what he calls the “notion” of Company: “A man with no emotional commitments reassesses his life on his 35th birthday by reviewing his relationships with his married acquaintances and girlfriends. That is the entire plot.

The cast of Company: Jane Anderson, left, Charlie Darlington, Grace Johnson, Chris Bedding, David Wallace, Andrew Brown, Genevieve Newman, Marshall Brown, Ryan Dawson and, at front, Madeleine Shaw and Aleisha Archer.

Sondheim also spoke about Company in a BBC interview. “I had known George Firth for a number of years. I was called in to write some songs for a show called Hotspot Judy Holiday’s Last Musical. And George was one of the actors. We struck up a friendship. And then he sent me some one-act plays because they were to be produced.

Bobby {David Wallace} can’t commit to a steady relationship and has eyes for April {Erin Craddock, left}, Kathy {Tatum Stafford} and Marta {Charlotte Louise, right}.

The production fell through. So he, in desperate straits, asked me what he should do with them. I said ‘I have no idea. But I’ll send them to my friend Hal Prince who will advise you… I think his advice will be good on whether to persist or to take them to television or forget'.

All eyes are on Bobby {David Wallace, centre} in the musical Company.

Hal, surprisingly, said ‘Let’s make a musical out of them'. And so he sent for George. And we spent a few weeks talking about how to make a musical out of these pieces. And what intrigued me was that it seemed impossible to make a musical out of seven disparate pieces. Well, over a period of time, we realised that what the plays had in common was this couple and this outside person and that, maybe if we could make the outsider the central character, we would have a reason to amalgamate.

Company features Erin Craddock, left, as April, David Wallace as Bobby, Tatum Stafford as Kathy and Charlotte Louise as Marta.

We ended up with five couples and the outsider named Bobby. And thus it was born. It was the first, for those who don’t know, the first commercial piece, I believe, that was non-linear.

Every show I’ve ever written, people always think I’m the central character but they ignore the fact that all these characters are created by the playwrights, not by me. Obviously, there’s something that attracts me that I can relate to the story involved but I didn’t think of Bobby as me at all.”

The sensational Broadway musical Company by Stephen Sondheim is at Limelight Theatre during November.

Company plays at 7.30pm November 16, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, December 1 and 2 with 2pm matinees November 19 and 26. Tickets are $34, $30 concession and $27 children (under 16) – book at TAZTix.com.au or call TAZTix on 9255 3336. Limelight Theatre is on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.



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!date 2/12/2023
266841 - 2023-10-21 01:30:11

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