Company (1995)

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
November 10-18, 1995
St. Marcus Theatre, St. Louis

Robert – Michael Davidson
Harry – Gary Cox
Sarah – Lisa Karpowicz
Peter – Joseph Taro
Susan – Johanna Schloss
David – Greg Hunsaker
Jenny – Sherry Frank
Paul – Andrew Nowak
Amy – Laura Beard Aeling
Larry – Keith Price
Joanne – Teresa Doggett
Marta – Angela Shultz
April – Michelle Collier
Kathy – Heather Holland

THE ARTISTIC STAFFDirector – Scott Miller
Choreographer – Michelle Collier
Lighting Designer – Kathy Mayhew
Assistant Lighting Designer – Renee Sevier
Set Designers – Greg Hunsaker, Laura Beard Aeling
Scenic Painter – Andy Milner
Graphic Designer – Tracy Collins

THE BANDPiano – Catherine Edwards
Percussion – Adam Kopff

DIRECTOR’S NOTESIt has been said that you can do anything you want in a musical as long as you do it within the first ten minutes. In other words, audiences will accept any style of music, any unusual structural devices, as long as the show's particular ground rules are established in the first ten minutes of the show. And that's exactly what the first song in Company does. The opening bars of the song “Company” instantly establish the frenetic, pulsing rhythm of the city and of modern life. When the voices enter, the couples are established as the focus of the show, along with their smothering affection for Robert. We realize that everything we see will be through Robert's eyes; and the show's surreal style suggests that it's all happening in Robert's mind, in his memory, as he tries to sort out his questions about commitment.

The couples begin the opening song with their various nicknames for Robert, which will return as a leitmotif (a musical theme representing a particular idea) throughout the score. This quickly segues into short phrases that illustrate how hard it is to communicate with Robert. We hear the voices through Robert's ears, overlapping, overwhelming, smothering. In the last sentence of the song, the title of the show is equated with love, and by implication, both are equated with marriage. Before the song is over, Sondheim has established the style, structure, and pace of the show, the brittle cleverness of the lyrics, important relationships, and the major themes of the show.

Like many of Sondheim's scores, Company is filled with commentary songs. In more traditional musicals, songs grow naturally out of dialogue, and characters aren't aware of the fact that they're singing. But in many of the songs in Company (and in Follies, Into the Woods, Assassins, etc.), the characters step out of the scene and address the audience directly. This makes the audience step back and think about what's happening rather than just feeling. Company’s score is also unusual in its extensive use of musical motifs to connect characters and events. The “Bobby Buby' motif used throughout the show focuses our attention on the married couples in opposition to Robert, their attitudes toward him, etc. Both “Tick Tock” (the instrumental piece while Robert and April have sex) and “Being Alive” make interesting use of motifs from many other songs in the show. “Tick Tock” even quotes The Twilight Zone theme.

Company is a fascinating musical that uses music as an integral part of the narrative process, while it completely discards the traditional look of chronological storytelling. But very few other musicals have followed its lead. Most later “concept” musicals copied Company's construction but were afraid to totally ignore the conventions of narrative theatre. Company stands as one of the greatest innovations in the history of musical theatre, and we can only ask twenty-five years later, isn't it time for someone to take us the next step?


Everything I needed to know about musicals I learned doing Company. Well, while that may not be entirely accurate, I will say that the experience was invaluable in many ways. After dropping out of college, I moved home – completely lost about what to do with my life. I saw the audition notice for Company, and must have talked myself in and out of auditioning nearly a hundred times. I was dying to do a Sondheim show (I didn't know people actually produced anything of his besides Into the Woods), so I finally resolved myself to going. When I first rehearsed with the cast, I knew I was a part of something incredible. I learned how truly great musicals are constructed. I learned to take chances. I learned what the bond of theatre lovers is like. I took these things, and in time gained the direction and focus I had been seeking.
– Angie Shultz, “Marta”

In the Blood (1995)

a world premiere
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Scott Miller
May 5-20, 1995
St. Marcus Theatre, St. Louis
Purchase the script here.
Purchase the vocal selections here.
Ask about production rights!

Zachary Church – Jim Freund
Adam Graham – Leo Schloss
Rebecca Young – Laura Beard Aeling
Chaz Williams – Andrew Nowak
Danny Hooper – Keith Price
Ruby – Lisa Garcia Fensterman
Jeannie – Johanna Schloss
J.D. – Scott A. Trip
Ricki – Victoria Edrington

Director – Scott Miller
Lighting Designer – Steven P. Dohrmann
Set Coordinator – Greg Hunsaker
Graphic Designer – Tracy Collins

Piano – Debbie Bernardoni
Percussion – Adam Kopff

“Ideas loom large in this work. The central one is ingenious. . . Two things do work for me in In the Blood. One – and it surprised me – was the vampire business. . . The other thing is the love story between the vampire and the hematologist. . . Much of that emotional conviction grows from Miller’s music, which is, I think, the best score he’s done for a show.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

“Conflicts lead to high-voltage confrontations.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I've come a long way since the first musical I wrote back in 1981. Since then, I've written traditional book musicals (shows with a linear plot line), concept musicals, an absurdist musical comedy, a political musical, even an educational musical about the history of astronomy (no kidding).

This was the first time I've ever had a public reading and discussion of one of my shows, and it was a wonderful experience for me, for the actors, and for the audience. A big crowd showed up at our reading in February – a lot more than we expected – and their comments during the discussion afterward were for the most part intelligent and very useful. Since the reading, I've done a lot of rewriting, cutting, adding, and rearranging to strengthen the show. It's been through four versions so far, the latest of which is still being revised as I write this.

For the first time, I've constructed a score in which musical themes are used to connect characters and dramatic events. For instance, the melody to the chorus of Adam's song “The River of Life” is also the melody to the bridge in Zach's “Hell,” in order to connect these two characters emotionally; and it shows up again in their Act II duet, “Alone.” A number of other musical themes are sprinkled throughout the evening to link dramatic events and reinforce important concepts (death, loneliness, etc). Most of Stephen Sondheim's scores, Andrew Lloyd Webber's earlier works, shows like Les Misérables, and a lot of operas use musical themes in this way, and it's been fascinating playing with these musical puzzle pieces to help tell this story, even if it's only on a subliminal level.

I read a great quote recently, that premises belong on stage, and conclusions belong in the house. In other words, a playwright shouldn't tell his audience what to think; he should present interesting issues and ideas and let them form their own opinions. Of course, this is easier said than done, and it is asking more of an audience than the average musical theatre audience expects. But I have found that New Line's audiences enjoy a challenging theatre piece. As with most of our shows, In the Blood addresses a variety of issues. I hope you find it interesting and thought-provoking, as well as a lot of fun.

Unintentional pauses onstage are the scariest thing an actor can encounter, and In the Blood had a classic. It was one of the last performances, the beginning of the last scene. Leo is onstage, “unconscious” in a hospital bed. Laura is standing next to the bed, but she’s losing her voice, and she’s blown it out during the performances so that she can now barely make a peep. Andy and Keith are also onstage, all of them waiting for Jim to enter. But Jim is offstage trying to make a costume change and he can’t open the fastener on his tux pants to take them off. So there they stand onstage, no one saying a thing as the audience hears the frantic jingling of Jim’s belt offstage. Neither Andy nor Keith can think of a single thing to say. There is more than a minute of dead silence – an eternity onstage. Finally Jim yells his first line from offstage. No one responds. He keeps jingling. After what seems like ten minutes but is actually only about two minutes, Jim finally makes it onstage, just in time to keep me from having a coronary embolism at the piano. After the show, we all have a good stiff drink and I tell Jim he can leave the tux pants on for the last scene.
– Scott Miller, author/director