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Company (Musical)

Book by George Furth

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Directed by Christopher J. Murphy

Musical Direction by Ben Wedler


 

Sponsored by Marilyn and William Wunderlin


June 13–14, 20–21, and 27–28 (2014)

 

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Menu:

 French Bread with Butter
 Homestead Salad
 Beef Brisket with Gravy
 Garlic Smashed Potatoes
 Garden Blend Vegetables,
 Texas Sheet Cake.

 

 Vegetarian meals available- please call box office to specify.

 

The clashing sounds and pulsing rhythms of New York City underscore this landmark "concept" show, considered by many to have inaugurated the modern era of musical theatre. Company follows our anti-hero bachelor Robert as he makes his way through a series of encounters with April (the stewardess), Kathy (the girl who's going to marry someone else), Marta (the "peculiar" one), as well as with his married friends.


 

On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor Robert contemplates his unmarried state. In vignette after hilarious vignette, we are introduced to "those good and crazy people," his married friends, as Robert weighs the pros and cons of married life. In the end, he realizes being alone is "alone, not alive."


 

An honest, witty, sophisticated look at relationships, Company is as contemporary and relevant as ever (witness the recent hit revivals on Broadway and the West End). It features a brilliant energetic score containing many of Stephen Sondheim's best-known songs (including "Another Hundred People," "The Ladies Who Lunch" and "Being Alive").


 

Tony Award - Best Revival of a Musical (2007)

Drama Desk Award - Outstanding Revival of a Musical (2007)

Tony Award - Best Musical (1971)


 

Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics add up to one of the best scores on Broadway currently... Company is the best musical of the year." -John O'Connor, The Wall Street Journal


 

“Company is quite simply in a league by itself. The show is magnificent." - -Martin Gottfried, Women's Wear Daily


 

Produced through special arrangement with Music Theatre International


 


Director's Notes

“Phone rings…door chimes…in comes Company
By Christopher J. Murphy

 
At the heart of Company sits a man alone on his 35th birthday.  The entire show unfolds in, as composer Stephen Sondheim describes it, “the blink of an eye” while Robert, struggling with the notions of love and commitment, plays out a series of scenes both remembered and imagined in his head.    
 
The first time I saw Company, I, like Robert, was a confirmed bachelor in my early 30s whose friends all seemed to be getting married one by one (or two-by-two as it were).  Watching the show, I could relate- to Robert, to his thoughts, his fears, his questions, his journey.  When I revisited Company in preparation for this production, I still identified…only now I related to “those good and crazy people”, Robert’s married friends.  Yes, I’m a married man now and the show still speaks to me, but in all new ways.  Woven into an evening of hilarious jokes and thrilling songs is an insightful honesty that still staggers me at times.
 
Company began life as a series of one act plays by actor/playwright George Furth.  The plays were about relationships and often featured a third character observing the interactions of couples in different stages of marriage. Failing to get them produced, he asked his friend Stephen Sondheim to read the scripts and render an opinion. Sondheim then passed them along to director Hal Prince, who suggested tying the stories together into a musical by making the observer in each scene the recurring central character.  The result, with music and lyrics by Sondheim, script by Furth and direction by Prince, opened on Broadway April 26, 1970.  Widely considered the first “concept musical”, it explored a central idea rather than a traditional linear plot; specifically, marriage, relationships and commitment in an increasingly disconnected world.  And this was 1970!  What is it they say- “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?

As we began work on our Company, it soon became clear that what it had to say about 1970 was just as true, if not more so, of the smart phone and iPad-filled world in which we have set it.  So, yes, you’re going to hear occasional reference to answering services and other dated nostalgia, but we’ve all seen futuristic King Lears or Cold War eraMacbeths before.  Like those Shakespearean masterpieces, Company is a timeless work of art that, regardless of any slight anachronisms, is open to interpretations that shine light on the times in which we live.  

So whether you’re entering the theatre single or celebrating your 50th anniversary, whether you’re a baby boomer, a millennial or anything in between, I challenge you to listen to the lyrics in songs like “Sorry/Grateful” or “Being Alive” and not nod with understanding.  That’s the beauty of Company; well, that and the fact that it boasts a witty book, soaring music and fourteen of the best performers in northeast Indiana.  It truly has, to quote another Sondheim musical, “something for everyone”.

 


Christopher J. Murphy (Director) is an award-winning actor and director whose works have been seen locally at Arena Dinner Theatre, First Presbyterian Theatre, Fort Wayne Civic Theatre and the Fort Wayne Youtheatre.  Recent credits include Boeing Boeing (Director), The Fox on the Fairway (Director) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Lawrence Jameson).  In 2010, he collaborated with Grammy and Tony-winner Rupert Holmes on a revised version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood for Arena.  The Director of Theatre at Blackhawk Middle School and a Master Teacher with F.A.M.E., Murphy also works as a producer/director with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, staging, among others, their annual Holiday Pops show.  Favorite roles include Warnie in Shadowlands, Pickering in My Fair Lady and the title role in The Man Who Came to Dinner.   He is thrilled to be collaborating on-stage and behind the scenes with so many dear and talented friends on Company.

 

Ben Wedler (Music Director) Ben is no stranger to Arena Dinner Theatre, having stage managed  Boeing Boeing,  The 39 Steps and See How they Run. He has music directed Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, Dracula Baby, And the World Goes Round, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for Arena Dinner Theatre. He has also music directed All Shook Up and The Will Rogers Follies and Willie Wonka at USF. His acting credits include Cinderella’s Father in Into the Woods, Bun Foo in Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Rev. Harry Harrington in Shadowlands and The Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress. He received an Anthony Award for Horton the Elephant in Seussical at the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre.  By day, he is the music and liturgy director for St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. Ben would like to thank his wife Leah and daughter Evelyn.

 

Leslie Beauchamp (Choreographer) is a familiar face and voice to area audiences, having been involved in our Arts and Show Choir Community for over 25 years.  Leslie has choreographed award winning show choirs throughout Indiana, and has also served as an adjudicator and motivational clinician.  An avid theatre choreographer/director/performer as well, Leslie has worked with USF, Arena Theatre, Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, IPFW Dept. of Theatre, First Presbyterian Theatre, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Ford Theatre at the Honeywell Center, and with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.  Favorite performances include Guinevere in Camelot, the Witch in Into the Woods, Anita in West Side Story, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Cassie and Sheila in A Chorus Line, and Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy.  Choreographic works include Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Dames at Sea, Bye Bye Birdie, All Shook Up, and Legally Blonde.

 

Tom Scribner (Stage-Manager) is very happy to be working with Chris Murphy, Leslie Beauchamp, and Ben Wedler on this amazing production.  This is Tom’s fourth Stage Manger gig with Mr. Murphy.  Typically Tom can be seen on the stage rather than off to the side.  His most recent role was that of Mr. Bucket in the USF/Youth Theatre production of Willie Wonka.  His first acting credit dates back a few decades ago as Slim in Little Mary Sunshine at St. Francis College. Between these two you might have seen him on stage at the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Arena Dinner Theatre, and First Presbyterian Theatre.

 

Miriam Morgan (Lighting Designer) is a freelance lighting designer for area stage, concert and dance productions. With nearly twenty years of professional theatrical experience, her lighting encompasses many forms of the performing arts.  She is the resident lighting designer/lighting director for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and has also designed over 70 area productions including Fort Wayne Ballet's The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Carmina Burana; IPFW Department of Theatre’s productions of Anton in Show Business, and King Lear; and various productions for The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, The Fort Wayne Dance Collective, The Fort Wayne Youth Theatre, Arena Dinner Theatre, Wabash Valley Dance Theatre, the University of Saint Francis, and the Honeywell Center. Her lighting work may be seen at: http://miriammorga3.wix.com/miriammorgan .  In addition to her freelance work she is currently the Director of Production Operations at Arts United. 

 

Ali Gaff (Assistant Stage-Manager) is excited to be back at Arena working with this amazing, talented cast of old friends and new friends. She is currently a senior at IPFW, studying Psychology and at night she waitresses at Chili's. She is forever thankful for Murphy and his guidance he's given Ali throughout the last nine years of her life. She would also like to thank her family for always supporting her in anything and everything she does. 

 

Jan Klee (Costume Designer) Company is Jan's 6th show at Arena Dinner Theatre. Jan has a degree in Theatre from IPFW and worked on a MFA in Costuming at Univ. of Illinois. She is married, has two lovely daughters. Mrs. Klee is a pre-school teacher at Taylor Chapel. Jan loves working at Arena and particularly enjoys the camaraderie between cast and crew.

 

Kevin Boner (2nd Asst. Stage-Manager / Lights & Sound) is happy to be involved with his fifth Arena show; having most recently stage-managed Same Time, Next Year. His prior Arena credits include Romantic Comedy (Assistant Stage Manager), Plaza Suite (Bellhop/Borden Isler), and Marriage Go Round (Stage Manager). He has also performed in the Dance Collective’s Star Crossed as a Capulet gentlemen. When he is not doing theatre he is busy volunteering with Little River Wetlands Project as a Preserve Steward, Trail Guide, and “the guy with all the critters”. He would like to thank a great cast for an awesome show and a barrel of laughs. It is a great group of people to get to work with.

 

Actor Bios

Eileen Ahlersmeyer (Kathy) is honored to be working with such a talented (and fun!) group of people.  Eileen returns to Arena after a long absence- she made her community theatre debut here over 15 years ago.  Since then she has been involved in a number of FW productions, most recently as the overly aggressive-yet-irresistible reporter Phineas Trout in Willy Wonka at USF/Fort Wayne Youtheatre.  Eileen spends her “free” time as a piano accompanist for the choirs of Leo Jr./Sr. High School, local theatres and her church.  “All my love to my at-home choreography and singing coaches, Catherine and Nolan.  Thank you for your love and encouragement in my creative endeavors away from home.  Bob, thank you as always for giving me a little (big?) push and being my biggest fan.  I love you so much.” 

Emily Arata (Jenny) is thrilled to be back on stage at Arena and feels insanely lucky to be able to work with SO MANY of her freakishly talented and hilarious friends.  Previous Arena credits include Mary Pierre in Laughing Stock, Gabriella in Boeing Boeing, Elaine Harper in Arsenic and Old Lace and Doatsey Mae in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, two of which earned her Arena Awards for “Best Supporting Actress.”  Emily also recently made her debut at the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre as Maria in 9 to 5 and as various offensive characters in Working Dog Theatre Group’s Production of The Santa Land Diaries. In her other life, Emily teaches 2nd grade at Weisser Park Fine Arts Magnet School.  She would like to send a REALLY BIG LONG HUG to her crazy, perfect, supportive, smart-mouthed, thoughtful, hysterical friends and family.  

Brad Davis (Larry) is a long time Fort Wayne resident transplanted from the East coast. Singing all of his life, he was the lead singer of a traveling Southern gospel quartet. He is now active in his worship team at his church. Just coming off of his run as Dwayne in 9 to 5 at the Civic Theater, this is his first production at the Arena Dinner Theater. "I am so thrilled to be in this show. I really enjoy the cast, and the directors and staff are wonderful. Sit back and enjoy the show!" 

Todd Frymier (Robert):  A biography or simply bio is a detailed description or account of a person's life. Unlike a profile  a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality.

Todd was born a Russian immigrant, from Hoboken, NJ.  Living on the streets, he had no lawn to mow, and “curb appeal” meant more to him than to others.  He began line dancing in a small but tastefully designed Honky Tonk, but lost his way on a one way street.  He fell in love and hit his head but survived. He started drinking to forget and then forgot why he was drinking to forget, so that worked out well.  He is known by many names, but answers to none. He would like to thank everyone, and since that’s a lot of people he can’t list them all.

Biographical works are usually nonfiction, but fiction can also be used to portray a person's life.

Thank You For Your Attention: And Enjoy The Show. 

Pam Good (Joanne) is honored to have the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and work with this talented cast of CompanyArena first presented the show thirty years ago, and Pam was cast as Kathy.  That was her first role in an Arena show, and it has been a great journey to be cast in numerous musicals and plays since 1984.  She has received acting awards in the role of Lola in Damn Yankees, Miss Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Arena, Emily Arden in the Civic’s production of State Fair, and the award for Best Costume Design in Arena’s Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?  Other roles at Arena include Tesse Tura in Gypsy and Sister Mary Hubert in Nuncrackers, and ensemble of Smokey Joe’s Café at the Civic.  Pam would like to thank her husband, Mike, family, and friends for their continuous support. 

Lindsay Hoops (Susan) is thrilled to make her debut at Arena Dinner Theatre!  With a B.A. in Theatre Performance from Huntington University, she plans to pursue all realms of acting, already having both film and television credits.  Some of her favorite stage roles include: Cosette in Les Miserables, Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown: the musical, Judy Bernly in 9 to 5 and Rachel in Reckless.  “Special thanks to Chris Murphy and Bed Wedler for allowing me to dive into such an incredibly talented and established group of artists.  I'm so honored to work with such a gifted cast and crew, full of old and new friends. " 
 

Jim Matusik (Harry) A veteran in the Fort Wayne theatre community, Jim is thrilled to be back at Arena, working with such crazy-talented people.  He was most recently seen (or not seen, actually) behind the scenes working backstage on the record-breaking run of Willy Wonka at the University of St. Francis.  His most recent on-stage performance was the wickedly dense Dickie Bell in last fall’s production of The Fox on the Fairway at the First Presbyterian Theatre.  Other recent favorite roles include Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (USF), Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps (Arena), Jon Trachtman in Love, Sex, and the IRS (Arena), Franz Liebkind in The Producers (Civic), and Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace (Arena).  There are many, many more, but if we listed them all, we’d run out of ink.  Special thanks goes to Chris Murphy for all the bumps, bruises, and head wounds that come with a Murphy production.  Two words – hazard pay.   
   

Megan Meyer (Marta) This is Megan's first show back in the Fort Wayne area since 2009, having recently returned from New York City where she graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Upon graduation, she earned two Broadway credits, first in Broadway's Rising Stars at Town Hall.  She then went on to the Off-Broadway production of Red Hot and Blue at Theater Row. Now she is in Fort Wayne working with Homestead show choirs. Previously Megan has been seen in many shows around town at the Civic, Arena Dinner Theatre, and IPFW. Some credits include; The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Waitress in Working, Hope in Urinetown,  Kay in Father of the Bride, and the starlet in And the World Goes Round.  She would like to thank her parents for always supporting her and being her number one fans. 

Jimmy Mitchell (Peter) is excited to be performing with Arena Dinner Theatre, and director Christopher Murphy for the first time.  Jimmy has been seen in a number of Fort Wayne Civic productions over the last two years, including: Les Miserables (Marius), 9 to 5 (Joe), Cinderella (Herald), and Dreamgirls and The Drowsy Chaperone (Ensemble). He also performed in the Fort Wayne Dance collectives production of Starcrossed and in Saint Francis' production of Jesus Christ Superstar (Simon Zealot).  "Thank you to everyone for coming and showing support. Special thanks to Greg, Debbie, and Joan Mitchell. And to Greg Stieber, for being an inspirational, encouraging, and spectacular friend in a life changing year. Love all of ya!" 

Suzan Moriarty (Sarah) is excited to once again be under the direction of Christopher Murphy for another challenging and physical role.  A familiar face on stage and behind the scenes, she directed the Fort Wayne premiere of The Dixie Swim Club this year at Arena Dinner Theatre. Earlier this season, she portrayed Muriel in Fox on the Fairway at the First Presbyterian Theatre. Suzan is an award-winning performer whose credits are extensive and include local performances in: Boeing Boeing, Plaza Suite, The Will Rogers Follies, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Xanadu, Shadowlands and Broadway Bound.  Additionally, she has been working in conjunction with the Fort Wayne Parks and Rec community center to bring acting classes to children ages 8-12. The program will soon be expanded to children and their grandparents.  Suzan is the Director of Home Care and Adult Day Care for Lutheran Life Villages and is currently serving on Arena Dinner Theatre's Board of Directors. 

Emilie Murphy (Amy) is excited to be back on Arena’s stage after last appearing in Boeing Boeing (Gloria).  Emilie studied Musical Theatre Performance at Columbia College in Chicago and went on to make her living in theatres from Florida to Idaho for over five years.  Since moving back to Fort Wayne, Emilie spends her days as Media Manager at Patterson Riegel Advertising.  Prior to that, she was executive producer and co-host of ABC 21-Alive’s Insight show.  Favorite roles include Rosa Bud in The Mystery of Edwin Drood here at Arena, Kaye in The Taffetas (Broward Stage Door Theatre), and Maxene Andrews in the premiere production of The Sisters of Swing: The Andrews Sisters’ Story.  “Thanks to mom and dad for continued support, and thanks to Christopher for casting me in many of my best and most challenging roles, including that of ‘wife.’  

Bridget Pearson (April) is thrilled to be making her Arena Dinner Theatre debut and to be sharing the stage with such an incredibly talented cast. Bridget most recently appeared as Eponine in Les Miserables at the Civic Theatre.  She also played Ziegfeld’s Favorite in Will Rogers Follies at the USF Performing Arts Center. She’s been awarded an Anthony Award for Best Female Dancer for her role as June in the Civic Theatre’s Chicago and for her role as Mazeppa in Gypsy. Bridget works at One Lucky Guitar, a design and marketing boutique in downtown Fort Wayne. She also volunteers as a “Big” with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She’d like to thank all her friends and family for their endless support. 

Chris Rasor (David) is very excited to be back on the Arena stage with this amazing cast and friends! His recent Arena credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dames At Sea as Dick for which he won an Arena Award and World Goes RoundOther local credits include Chicago (Sergeant Fogarty/Judge), Crazy For You (Bobby Childs), A Chorus Line (Mark) at the Civic and Jesus Christ Superstar (Peter) at University of Saint Francis.  Chris teaches music at Shambaugh Elementary and is the resident choreographer for Northrop Show Choirs Charisma and Allure and Homestead’s Elite.  Chris would like to thank his wife Stacey and daughters Eden and Emery for all of their love and support! 

Jake Wilhelm (Paul)  is the father of two beautiful daughters, Mackenzie and Mary. He is a server at Eddie Merlots and the lead vocalist for the band djenetic drift. He was most recently seen onstage here at Arena as Gordon Pagen in Laughing Stock. Other recent credits include; Enjolras in Les Miserables at FW Civic Theatre, Almost, Maine and Chris Colcord's True Life Christmas Disasters, both at Arena, and the part of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at the U. of Saint Francis. He is very pleased to have another opportunity to work with Mr. Christopher Murphy and such a talented cast of friends and new faces. He would like to thank his mother, Jan, for her constant support and Eddie Merlots for being so flexible with his schedule during the shows he does. 

 

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