The Cleveland Play House will officially open its 1998-99 season on Oct. 1 with a new production of Stephen Sondheim's seminal concept musical, Company. The show began previews Sept. 29 and will run through Nov. 1.
Play House associate artist Edward Payson Call directs, and John Scherer plays the pivotal role of perennial bachelor Bobby.
Unlike the recent Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Company, which updated the musical to the '90s, Call will keep it in 1970, the year the musical first premiered on Broadway under the direction of Harold Prince. Company concerns the romantic travails of Bobby as he tries to find the perfect mate, and the conflicted messages on commitment he receives from the five married couples who are his closest friends. The musical includes such songs as "Getting Married Today," "Being Alive," "Barcelona," "The Little Things You Do Together" and "The Ladies Who Lunch."
Scherer understudied and played the role of Joe Gillis in the Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard. Call was the founding artistic director of the Denver Center Theatre Company and has directed at regional theatres across the country.
Carolyn Dyer will choreograph the piece. The design team includes Peter Harrison (sets), David Mickelson (costumes), Don Darnutzer (lights) and Robin Heath (sound). Larry Delinger is the music director. For information and tickets, call (216) 795-7000.
Upcoming in the Play House season:
Dec. 1-Jan. 9, 1999: The Invisible Man -- the American premiere of Ken Hill's adaptation of H.G. Wells' thriller. Frank Dunlop directs the show, which will transfer to Off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre in February 1999. Jim Steinmeyer, a magic designer for Doug Henning and David Copperfield, contributes the show's "illusions" (aka special effects).
Jan. 12-Feb. 7, 1999: Smell of the Kill -- world premiere of Michele Lowe's comedy about women who bond with each other -- while deciding whether or not to let their husbands out of the basement meat freezer. Jan. 17-Feb. 7, 1999: "Next Stage Festival" of play readings.
Feb. 9-March 14, 1999: Picasso at the Lapin Agile -- Steve Martin's popular comedy about the great painter and the great thinker discussing art, women and metaphysics in a homey French cafe. The production will travel in June 1999 to Budapest and Miskolc Hungary, as the second part of a theatre exchange that occured this past June, when the Hungarian National Theatre came to Cleveland.
The Cleveland Play House is headed by artistic director Peter Hackett and managing director Dean Gladden.
-- By Robert Simonson