BWW Interviews: The Ladies of COMPANY Discuss the Classic Musical
Have we got a girl (or girls) for you! BroadwayWorld recently had a chance to chat with Paige Blend and Elise Lopez who star in The Playhouse's current production of Company as April and Sarah, respectively.
The timeless struggle between freedom and intimacy comes alive through a series of playful and poignant vignettes featuring Robert, your typical New York bachelor, and the tempting, if imperfect, examples of love set by his married friends. Company features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Book by George Furth.
Here's what Ms. Blend and Ms. Lopez had to say about working on the iconic Sondheim musical...
BWW: What made you decide to audition for Company?
PAIGE BLEND: I knew there was this great role of April that looked like fun and I love working with Tim Hedgepeth so I thought "Why not?"
BWW: Company is considered by many theater lovers to be among Stephen Sondheim's crowning achievements, and its episodic storytelling was a game changer back in 1970. How has it been to bring the show to life?
PAIGE BLEND: The more you get in to the work, the more layers you see. There are so many connections crossing over all the scenes and it is so interesting to hear and play.
ELISE LOPEZ: I find that I look and appreciate the "moments" more....
BWW: Why do you think the show still resonates today?
PAIGE BLEND: I think it will forever! The relationships and people in the show are present in some form or fashion in most people's lives.
ELISE LOPEZ: The story is one of self-reflection, developing and maintaining relationships through life's bumps and bruises...which is relevant to humanity at all stages. I think each person that sees the show can relate to the characters and identify with their struggle and their journey. A lot of times backstage we will talk about what kind of day we had. I find more and more that I am having lots of "Amy" days!
BWW: Is it a challenge to work with material that is episodic in nature rather than a more traditional, linear plot?
ELISE LOPEZ: I think the nature of the vignette really forces the actor, as well as the audience to find and appreciate the "moments." I personally like the format, I find it refreshing and interesting!
PAIGE BLEND: It is a very different feeling to be on and off the stage so much as an actor, and it does take extra care in knowing what's going on!
BWW: One of the things that is so fun about Company is the rather eclectic group of characters. Is there one that you feel resembles you the most?
PAIGE BLEND: I play April, so I feel like I was forced to relate to her! She is genuine and kooky, and like a lot of people, is really searching for love and she is not really too sure where she stands with Robert.
ELISE LOPEZ: It changes. I definitely feel like I was type cast with Sarah as I have always struggled with my weight, dieting, and exercise. But I also identify with Amy. She is kind of the voice in my head. I wish I was more like Marta lots of times! Ultimately, in my life, especially in my 30's, Bobby's exploration is similar to mine as well!
BWW: Stephen Sondheim himself recently experimented with Company in a rather controversial way, namely by making the lead character of Bobby gay. Some fans loved the idea and some were less enthusiastic. Any thoughts?
PAIGE BLEND: Well it changes my part in the show! But art is always changing and evolving. Experimenting with new concepts is a way for an artist to see people affected in a different way.
ELISE LOPEZ: People are people. Hopefully, in 2014 we can lump ourselves into a group of "humans" rather than gay or straight. I don't find any scandal in the choice to have Bobby be gay or straight. He is a man, finding his way. Whether or not he is gay, his feelings, his experiences are real and touching. I find so much depth in his journey and hope others do to.
BWW: What's your favorite moment in the show?
PAIGE BLEND: When Robert calls April "June." Oh my gosh, what an awkward moment for both of them!! I also love the karate throw down!
ELISE LOPEZ: The most heart breaking is when Amy tells Paul that she "doesn't love him enough." Her fear is so great that she chooses fear over love. Of course she changes her mind, and I think that moment when she conquers the fear is incredible. Hearing George sing, "wait for me, I'll find you if I can" gets me every night!