by Lorie Lewis Ham
The Sondheim musical Company opened at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia this weekend and we were there on opening night.
Company is the story of Robert (played by Valley actor Terry Lewis), and all of his married friends. Robert is in his mid thirties and still single, and his friends keep trying to tell him how great marriage is and that he needs to be married too. Despite his friends telling him how great marriage is, the show actually shows Robert the bad side of marriage along with the good, and all through the show he questions whether or not it’s worth it, and sometimes the couples do too. Company is set in the 70s and director Chris Mangels went with that setting, though many productions have gone with more of a modern look. In this production, the clothes and the wigs are definitely 70s, right down to all the polestar–which really seems a better fit for the story.
However, a Sondheim musical is always just as much about the music as the story. Sondheim’s complicated music can be a challenge, but the COS cast met that challenge head on and did it well. One of the best known and most powerful songs, “Being Alive,” was a highlight of the show for me, and Terry did a wonderful job. My other favorite was the more up tempo song, “Side By Side by Side/What Would We Do Without You?” that featured Robert, the wives and husbands, and had the big musical number feel I love. While Company is a comedy, it does have some very poignant moments to it as well, and you definitely see the realistic ups and downs of marriage, love and relationships. One of the funniest songs in the show was the song “Getting Married Today,” which features Jenny Powers, who plays Amy. Jenny had some of the funniest moments in the show as the somewhat ditzy, high strung character Amy.
If you’ve read my reviews before you know I am a big fan of Terry Lewis, and he didn’t disappoint–his acting and singing are always top notch. All of the couples did a good job as well with both the comedy and the music. It was fun getting to see Diane Fidalgo in a more cynical, comedic role as Joanne, after recently seeing her in the very serious role of Dr. Emma Brookner in The Normal Heart. She is a versatile actress.
The rest of Robert’s friends, and the three ladies he dates in the show, are played by Celina Lim, Jacob Williams, Jordyn White, Adam Long, Ricky Reyes, Rick Lotenero, Felicity Brophy, Matthew Freitas, Brittney Williamson, Heather Hightower, and Rebekah Robles. The entire cast did a wonderful job in this at times hilarious, and at times very serious and thought provoking show. There was also a fairly large ensemble.
If you are looking for a fun night at the theatre, and you love Sondheim, don’t miss Company on stage at COS in Visalia until November 22. Learn more and purchase tickets on their website.
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.