Musical company

Sondheim’s ‘Company’ Musical Opens This Week at Empire Arts Center – Grand Forks Herald

The Empire Theater Company’s production of Steven Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning play, “Company,” opens to in-person audiences this week at the Empire Arts Center.

Performances of the play, which is the premiere of ETC’s 2021-22 season, are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, August 11-14 and August 18-21.

The show, directed by Chris Berg under the musical direction of Maddie Sharpe, marks the re-emergence of live theater at the Empire Arts Center after more than a year of closure due to the pandemic, said Kathleen Coudle-King , General Artistic Director of ETC.

“It’s like coming home after a long trip,” Coudle-King said. “Our patrons are part of the Empire family, and we look forward to seeing them again inside the Empire Arts Center.

“The music and dancing, and the exuberance of the cast and crew are uplifting. The poignancy of some of the songs reminds us of our common humanity. The community – indeed the world – really, really needs to feel that she is part of a community right now. This show is going to affirm that we are all together on this wild journey.

Casey Paradies choreographed the show and Diana Chabai-Booker is stage manager.

The original Broadway production of “Company” was nominated for a record 14 Tony Awards and won six, Coudle-King said.

The story, based on a book by George Furth, is about Robert, a single man unable to fully commit to a stable relationship, let alone marriage. the five married couples who are her best friends; and his three girlfriends.

Unlike most musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, “Company” is a concept music consisting of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, tied together by a celebration of Robert’s 35th birthday.

Sondheim fans “are going to love (the show)” because he wrote the music and the lyrics, Coudle-King said. “Lovers of the golden age of musicals and (those) who appreciate the beautiful harmonies of 1950s songs will find that some songs remind them, but with contemporary lyrics. ‘Company’ was established in 1970, so the costumes will kick those who lived through the 70s or wish they had them.

Several cast members will be familiar to theatergoers in this area, but others have traveled from Arkansas and Texas to perform with ETC’s creative team, she said.

It’s also a homecoming of sorts for lead actor Tony Peterson, a Grand Forks native who graduated from Red River High School in 2006. He credits SPA for sparking and nurturing his love of music and acting,” Coudle-King said.

Peterson, an NDSU alumnus, is a choir director at Sheyenne High School in West Fargo, she said.

The other actors are: Kenzie Henderson, Walter Criswell, Roberto Kereszi, AnneMarie Black, Katie Germain, Matt Stavens, Emily Johnson, Casey Hennessy, Emily Wirkus, Ryan Lynch, Hannah Hill, Anneliese Wolfanger and Gina Uhlir.

Besides Berg and Sharpe, the members of the artistic team are: Abby Plumley, Timmy Hennessy, Sara Larson, Mitchel Reith, Amy Lyste and Evan Montgomery.

Due to the pandemic, places are limited, Coudle-King said. “We only sold ‘half the house’, which allowed us to tape every other row. Guests will be encouraged to leave a seat between their parties if they wish. »

Empire volunteers and staff will wear masks, she said, “and we encourage our guests to do the same when moving around the theater.”

With the support of a government grant, modifications were made to the facility to promote hygiene, such as touchless sinks and toilets in the washrooms and better air filtration, she said. declared.

The show, co-produced by Home of Economy, was made possible by a grant from the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and the City of Grand Forks through the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region, Coudle-King said.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for seniors and students. Season tickets, which include five tickets that can be shared with friends and used for any show, cost $100 or $80 for seniors. All tickets can be purchased online at www.empireartscenter.com or by calling (701) 746-5500 between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.