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'Company' musical coming to Stage Coach Theater

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 6:51 p.m. CDT
(Chris Burrows – cburrows@shawm)
Jason Williams as Bobby, the lead character in Company, a musical that runs Thursday through Saturday this week and next at the Stage Coach Players Theater in DeKalb.

obby seems to have it all – a great job, an education and three girlfriends – but on his 35th birthday, he realizes that he might be missing out on something: Marriage.

Ryan Morton has been there, minus all those girlfriends. Last year, when Morton submitted the script for the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company” to the Stage Coach Players, he felt a connection with the main character in the 43-year-old show.

“At the time I found myself in the same situation that Bobby was in,” Morton said. “I was questioning where I go from here and thinking about all the missed opportunities I had to find love and all of the people who were out of reach.”

The Players too saw something appealing in Bobby’s story, and picked up the script with Morton as its director. The show runs today through Saturday and Aug. 15 through 18 at the Stage Coach Theater, 126 S. Fifth St. in DeKalb.

Company offers a humorous look at love, relationships and commitment told through Bobby’s interactions with five very different married couples.

“There’s a lot of comedy in it, but there’s also a lot of heartfelt emotion, because you have a lot of realizations about the different ways that a marriage can work,” Morton said.

The production includes a tidy, 11-member cast, each of whom is featured in at least one number, and a live, 12-piece orchestra seated backstage.

Jason Williams, of Rockford, plays the lead role of Bobby, a character who only briefly leaves the stage and performs five difficult songs.

“It’s like a marathon for this guy,” castmate Barb McCaskey said. “He’s never off stage, and he’s singing his heart out.”

Williams studied at Northern Illinois University and got his start several years ago with the Players, but says the role of Bobby has challenged him.

“He’s a complicated character,” Williams said. “Probably one of the more complicated characters I’ve played in a musical. They’re usually pretty flat, but he’s pretty deep.”

McCaskey, herself an icon of DeKalb County music, figures into the mix as Joanne, one of the five wives in the show.

She appreciates the musical’s formula-breaking storyline.

“It’s challenging, but that’s refreshing,” McCaskey said. “It’s no boy-meets-girl, and then they have a little trouble, and then it’s all okay.”

When Company debuted on Broadway in 1970, it was known for its loosely connected scenes and non-chronological script. Morton sought to connect the dots in his own way.

“In my mind I needed to connect it in some way,” Morton said. “It actually starts with Bobby contemplating his life. ... He is walking through his life and reliving it to try and come up with an answer. That was my own touch.”

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