Actors on stage
ADVICE WITH BENEFITS Katie Watts-Whitaker (Joanie) offers Samuel J. Gleason (Robert) more than he bargained for in the Raven Players production of ‘Company.’

By Harry Duke 

After a Covid-related postponement, the Raven Players production of Company is now open for business. The classic Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical runs in the Playhouse at Windsor High School through July 21.

A smash hit in 1970, the show features a series of musical vignettes in no particular order on the subject of human relationships and marriage. The central character, Robert/Bobby (Samuel J. Gleason), is turning 35 and begins to question his bachelorhood. All of his friends are married or in committed relationships and are anxious for him to “settle down.” They all invite him to spend some time with them.

Robert visits Harry (Anthony Martin) and Sarah (Skylar Salz), who spend the evening playfully battling each other. Or are they? When Robert asks Harry if he has any regrets about being married, Harry responds with the song “Sorry/Grateful.”

Robert then visits Peter (Bohn Connor) and Susan (Crystal Wilson), a seemingly happy couple who, to Robert’s surprise, announce they are getting divorced.

A visit with David (Tyler Marques) and Jenny (Alexis Walker) brings a marijuana-induced interrogation as to why Robert isn’t married. Robert isn’t opposed to the idea; he just hasn’t found the right “one” yet.

We meet three women who Robert has dated: April (Ashley Talbot), a charmingly dim-witted stewardess; Kathy (Kelly Devoto), who may actually be the one that got away; and Marta (Sky Hernandez-Simard), a free spirit.

We’re then transported to friends Amy (Molly Larsen-Shine) and Paul’s (Troy Thomas Evans) wedding day. They’ve been living together for some time, but are finally “Getting Married Today.” Or are they?

The second act brings us a deeper look into Robert’s relationship with April, a surprising conversation with Peter, and an evening with Larry (Nicholas J. Augusta) and Joanne (Katie Watts-Whitaker) that leads Robert to really confront himself about his situation.

Director Steven David Martin’s decision to mount Company at the Windsor High Playhouse pays off in terms of the intimacy the space provides and the upgrade in most technical elements. Sound levels were a real issue though, with music director Kelly Considine’s three-piece band drowning out many of Sondheim’s lyrics. (Note: The company attributes the sound issues at the opening night performance to faulty microphones and states that the issue has been resolved.)

Thankfully, Shine’s energetic delivery of “Getting Married Today” and Watts-Whitaker’s powerhouse presentation of “Ladies Who Lunch” were highlights of the evening.

There’s nice work done by the ensemble, especially in the larger musical numbers and with Michella Moerbeek’s choreography. 

There’s a lot to like about this Company.

Stage show
SONG & DANCE The Raven Players take over the Windsor High School stage until July 21 with their production of Steven Sondheim’s ‘Company,’ featuring Samuel J. Gleason (center).

The Raven Players present ‘Company’ through July 21 in The Playhouse at Windsor High School, 8695 Windsor Rd., Windsor. Fri-Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm; Thur 07/11, 7:30pm. $10–$40.  707.433.6335.

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