John Doyle's Company Begins in Ohio; Esparza, Walsh Play Along

News   John Doyle's Company Begins in Ohio; Esparza, Walsh Play Along Those "good and crazy people" who are the friends of bachelor Bobby in Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company are crazier than ever starting March 14 at Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park.

In director John Doyle's new staging, the acting company doubles as the orchestra, playing their instruments on stage and during scenes in the same style as Doyle's acclaimed current Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd.

Tony Award nominee Barbara Walsh, of Broadway's Big, Blood Brothers and Falsettos, plays boozy Joanne, and Raúl Esparza (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Taboo) is Bobby. Director Doyle said the action is set in 2006, and the characters are all dressed in very upscale, very urban black costumes.

Mary-Mitchell Campbell, the respected Manhattan music director and arranger, serves as the production's music supervisor and orchestrator.

Performances play March 14-April 14, in the Playhouse's Robert S. Marx Theatre.

The cast of Company includes Keith Buterbaugh as Harry; Matt Castle as Peter; Robert Cunningham as Paul; Angel Desai as Marta; Kelly Jeanne Grant as Kathy; Kristin Huffman as Sarah; Amy Justman as Susan; Heather Laws as Amy; Leenya Rideout as Jenny; Fred Rose as David; Bruce Sabath as Larry; Elizabeth Stanley as April. In addition to Doyle and Campbell, the creative team includes David Gallo (set designer), Ann Hould-Ward (costume designer) and Thomas C. Hase (lighting designer). The first stage manager is Suann Pollock and second stage manager is Bruce E. Coyle.

Here's how Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park bills the show: "Company is a revolutionary, unconventional look at love and commitment in a complex modern world. The show is a remarkably honest, clever and sophisticated portrayal of five married couples as seen through the eyes of their mutual friend Bobby, a bachelor weighing the pros and cons of wedded life."

The original 1970 Broadway production was honored with the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best musical as well as six Tony Awards, including those for music and lyrics (Stephen Sondheim's first), book, scenic design, director and best musical.

The score includes "Being Alive," "The Ladies Who Lunch," "Another Hundred People," "The Little Things You Do Together," "Someone Is Waiting," "Sorry-Grateful," "Side by Side by Side," "Barcelona," "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," "Getting Married Today," "Poor Baby." "Have I Got a Girl for You," "Company." The production employs "Marry Me a Little," which was cut from the original staging but later interpolated into some revivals. In Ohio, Bobby's 35th birthday is central to the action (in the past, he's been on the verge of 30 or 40, depending on the script and director). "Tick Tock," a dance sequence, has been cut. Sondheim has been consulted and participated in the musical choices.

For more information, call (513) 421-3888 or (800) 582-3208 or visit www.cincyplay.com.

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The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is in its 46th season. In 2004, it snagged the Regional Theatre Tony Award.

Raul Esparza (front) and the cast in <i>Company</i>.
Raul Esparza (front) and the cast in Company. Photo by Sandy Underwood