GV theatre brings city feel to the stage

By Moriah Gilbert | 1/25/15 8:02pm

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The Cast and Crew of Company. GVL/Brianna Olson


With five married friends, three girlfriends and the inability to maintain a long-term girlfriend, Stephen Sondheim’s main character in his celebrated comedic musical “Company” is accessible to audiences around the world and will grace the stage of the Grand Valley State University’s Louis Armstrong Theatre starting Jan. 30.

"All the couples have quirky marriages, so there are a lot of things that will be unexpected," said Director Dale Schriemer.

While the play progresses, Robert realizes he wants to meet someone where he can face the challenge of "Being Alive," a musical number about the many dangers he associates with marriage, while changing his desire for love and intimacy.

"Robert responds by thinking it's not bad to be single, but marriage is the way he can be alive and move toward caring for another person," Schriemer said.

The musical is based in New York City during the 1970s, presenting a time and place experienced by a select few.

"We thought it was important to bring New York City to the audience," said Karen Babcock, stage director.

The set is mainly made up of large photos portraying different aspects of the city in Robert's eyes, including neighborhoods, his couple friends and the New York City skyline.

"There's different levels of the set, but we really embrace the bottom part of the set where Robert's apartment is and the biggest memories happen," Babcock said.

Babcock is also the choreographer of the production, explaining it has a wide variety of numbers with dancing.

"We always face challenges to get the truth and clarity of the story, but we have such a dreamy cast who are working really hard in inventive, wonderful ways," Schriemer said.

Among the cast is Rosie Cusack, Hannah Tripp, Katie Temayo, Casey Huls as Robert and many other GVSU students.

Tripp plays April, a flirty flight attendant and one of Robert's girlfriends, and she said it was a surprisingly a difficult character to take on.

"She's very dumb and very aware of it, so the only way she knows how to connect with Robert is sexually," Tripp said.

April's biggest moment is during a monologue about a wounded butterfly and abusive former lover before getting involved with Robert. As actors, Tripp and her fellow cast members have had to transform themselves into the characters they are playing.

"I want to keep her honest, not gimmicky," Tripp said. "There is a previously unseen degree of professionalism in the cast."

Tripp said this is her fourth and favorite show she's been in at GVSU because it is a musical that makes the audience reflect on themselves, while also leave them humming one of the many beautiful songs in the show.

Performances will be held Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 1, 6-7. Tickets are available at the box office or online. For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/theatre

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