Musical company

Sondheim’s Musical “Company” Opens This Week at the Empire Arts Center

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

The show, directed by Chris Berg with musical direction 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, director artistic 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.

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“The music, the dance and the exuberance of the actors and the crew are uplifting. The poignant character of some songs reminds us of our common humanity. The community – indeed the world – really, really needs to feel part of a community right now. This show will affirm that we are all together on this wild journey. ”

Casey Paradies choreographed the show and Diana Chabai-Booker is the 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 his best friends; and his three girlfriends.

Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly defined plot, “Company” is a musical concept made up of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration of Robert’s 35th birthday.

Sondheim fans “will 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 songs from the 1950s will find that some songs are reminiscent of them, but with contemporary lyrics. “Company” was created in 1970, so the costumes will give a boost to those who lived through the 70s or who wished they had. ”

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

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

Peterson, a former NDSU student, is the choir director at Sheyenne High School in West Fargo, she said.

The other cast members 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.

Along with Berg and Sharpe, the artistic team members 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. Customers 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 customers to do the same when they move around the theater.”

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

Tickets cost $ 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. on weekdays.