In comes Company: Seton Hill theatre performs Stephen Sondheim’s “Company”

Pictured above is the cast of Seton Hill’s production of “Company” before one of their performances during opening weekend. Front row, kneeling from left to: Nicole Castelli, Hannah Taylor, Azaria Oglesby. Back row, standing from left: Cameron Nickel, Halle Polechko, Lance Joos, Riley Tate, Noah Telford, Leah Prestogeorge, Travis Miller, Barbara Lawson, Malcolm McGraw, Maddie Kocur, James Scharer. Costumes by Susan O’Neill. Photography courtesy of M.McGraw.

Seton Hill University theatre closes out their production of “Company” this weekend. The final shows are Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the William Granger Ryan Theatre at SHU’s Performing Arts Center.

“My hope for the second weekend is that we are able to pour ourselves fully into the work again just like we did this past weekend and really make some more memorable performances for our audiences,” said senior musical theater major Noah Telford.

SHU’s production of “Company” was directed by Steven Wilson. The cast performed four shows on their opening weekend from Oct. 19-21.

“I think our opening weekend of performances were wonderful,” Telford said. “It’s always exciting to open a production and to see all of the people filling the seats after performing to no one for a few weeks. I thought everyone’s performances were excellent and the rapport that we built with the audiences we had were palpable, and I think we affected some change in the people that came to see it.”

“Company” is a 1970 award-winning Broadway musical with music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim, who wrote shows including “Into the Woods” and “Sweeney Todd.” The story revolves around 35-year-old Robert, played by Telford, the only one of his friends who is not married. The show is presented in a series of vignettes linked by Robert’s birthday celebration.

“Bobby is what I think of as the ‘chameleon friend,’” Telford said. “He adapts quickly to the situations that he’s in and acts differently when he’s around the different couples in the show, and even when they’re all together.”

Telford’s character finds himself unable to choose one woman, and instead jumps between his relationships with Marta (Azaria Oglesby), Kathy (Hannah Taylor) and April (Nicole Castelli).

“I think the hardest thing about developing this character was the womanizing aspect of him, on top of him being so much older than me,” Telford said. “By the end of the show, there is a very clear shift in Bobby’s thinking about life, marriage and his relationships with his friends, and that journey is probably the most fun thing to explore each night.”

Malcom McGraw (left) and Barbara Lawson (right) smile for a selfie. McGraw and Lawson played Paul and Amy, respectively, who made up one of the married couples in “Company.” Photo courtesy of B.Lawson.

In one scene, Robert spontaneously proposes to Amy (Barbara Lawson) on the day she is supposed to marry her fiancé Paul (Malcolm McGraw). Lawson described her character as “fairly neurotic,” as she sang an entire song panicking about why she is not “Getting Married Today,” but thinks Amy is still someone with a “good heart.”

“I get along with my onstage counterpart (McGraw) so well, and it honestly has been a treat to marry him every night,” Lawson said. “He has such a big heart and a phenomenal sense of humor in real life, which matches his character so well. It makes it much easier to portray our onstage relationship more authentically.”

Other members of the cast include Riley Tate, Lance Joos, Halle Polechko, Cameron Nickel, Leah Prestogeorge, Travis Miller, Maddie Kocur and James Scharer.

“Working with the cast of this show was a ton of fun,” Telford said. “Because most of the scenes are only two to three people, it allowed us all to develop an intimacy that some productions don’t have. We were also all friends to begin with, so we had something to build upon.”

SHU’s next theater performances are “Clybourne Park” Feb. 22-March 2 and “The Seagull” April 5-13. Tickets for the final performances of “Company” can be purchased at the SHU box office or online.

“I’m excited to see how the audiences react to the show differently,” Lawson said. “I’m lucky enough to have been in a musical each year I’ve attended Seton Hill, and I’m very excited to close out my final musical at Seton Hill with a bang.”

Photos courtesy of Stefan Zubal. Set design by Karen Glass. Costume design by Susan O’Neill. Lighting design by Ken Clothier. Sound design by Ryan McMasters.


Published By: Stephen Dumnich

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