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Keith Pinto Leads COMPANY, Beginning Tonight at San Francisco Playhouse

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San Francisco Playhouse will complete its twelfth season with Stephen Sondheim's trailblazing musical comedy, Company, directed by Susi Damilano. The play will feature a cast of local favorites, with Keith Pinto (Into the Woods) starring as Robert, along with Teresa Attridge, Velina Brown*, Morgan Dayley, Michelle Drexler, Ryan Drummond*, Richard Frederick*, John Paul Gonzalez, Monique Hafen*, Stephanie Prentice*, Chris Reber*, Abby Sammons, Nicole Weber and Michael Scott Wells.

What do you do when you've got three girlfriends, all your friends are married, and it's your birthday? Find out in Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking musical comedy. It's today in Manhattan, and Robert is unable to make a commitment of his own as he makes the circuit of his married friends, alternately observing and participating in the ups and downs of their relationships.

Company features a brilliantly brisk and energetic score containing many of Stephen Sondheim's best-known songs. The study of relationships, love and company is put under a microscope during Robert's 35th birthday party. Robert has to consider whether it's best to be single, married or even divorced but living together as his crazy, wedded friends play out every possible example of cohabitation.

The groundbreaking musical premiered in 1970 and had Broadway revivals in 1995 and 2006. In 1970, Company was nominated for a record breaking 14 Tony nominations, winning six. It was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. Originally a collection of one-act plays written by librettist George Furth, Company was eventually shaped into a musical thanks to the vision of legendary director Harold Prince. At Prince's suggestion, Furth reworked these one-acts into a libretto examining the pros and cons of marriage, and Stephen Sondheim was brought in to provide the music. To tie all the pieces together, Furth added the character of Robert, a bachelor whose 35th birthday party provides the occasion to bring all of Furth's characters together at the opening of the play.

George Furth (Book) Born George Schweinfurth, he began his career acting on Broadway in the 1960s. As an actor, he is best remembered for his role as Woodcock, the devoted railroad clerk in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969). His many film credits included "Myra Breckenridge" (1970), "Blazing Saddles" (1974), "Shampoo (1975), "Airport '77" (1977) and countless TV comedies. Furth's work as a playwright started in the 1970s writing books for Stephen Sondheim Broadway musicals such as "Merrily We Roll Along" and "Company", which received a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for best musical. His other Broadway efforts were "Twigs" (1971), "The Act" (1977), "The Supporting Cast" (1981), "Precious Sons" (1986) and "Getting Away with Murder" (1996).

Stephen Sondheim (Music and Lyrics) wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Assassins (1991), Passion (1994) and Road Show (2008) as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959) and Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Anthologies of his work include Side By Side with Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting it Together (1993/99) and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). He composed the scores of the films "Stavisky" (1974) and "Reds" (1981) and songs for "Dick Tracy" (1990) and the television production "Evening Primrose" (1966). His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: "Finishing the Hat" (2010) and "Look, I Made A Hat" (2011). In 2010 the Broadway theatre formerly known as Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed in his honor.

Susi Damilano (Director) is co-founder and Producing Director of the San Francisco Playhouse. Directing credits include Playhouse productions of Stupid Fucking Bird, Into the Woods, A Behanding in Spokane, Den of Thieves and Wirehead* ; the West Coast Premieres of Honey Brown Eyes*, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Coronado, The Mystery Plays and Roulette and the world premieres of Rhett Rossi's From Red to Black and Daniel Heath's Seven Days in the Sandbox Series. She is a five-time recipient of the Bay Area Theatre Critic Circle (BATCC) award for Best Female Performance in Abigail's Party, Harper Regan, Bug, Six Degrees of Separation, and Reckless. At the Playhouse she has performed leading roles in Tree, Bauer, Abigail's Party, Harper Regan, Coraline, Slasher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Landscape of the Body, First Person Shooter, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, The Crucible, Kimberly Akimbo, Our Town and The Smell of the Kill. (*nominated for BATCC Directing award.)

Dave Dobrusky (Music Director) returns to San Francisco Playhouse for his sixth production as Musical Director. Others include Into the Woods, Camelot, Putting It Together, Man of LaMancha, and My Fair Lady. When not working with the Playhouse, Dave is the Resident Music Director at 42nd Street Moon Theatre where he has played, arranged, orchestrated and conducted almost 100 classic / forgotten musicals, including cast recordings of Cole Porter's Leave It to Me and Jerome Kern's The Cabaret Girl. Dave is from Albuquerque, studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and has appeared with many Broadway divas including Rebecca Luker, Faith Prince, Emily Skinner, Nancy Dussault, and Andrea Marcovicci.

Founded by Bill English and Susi Damilano in 2003, San Francisco Playhouse has been described in the New York Times as "a company that stages some of the most consistently high-quality work around." Located right in the heart of the Union Square Theater District, San Francisco Playhouse is the city's Off-Broadway style company, an intimate alternative to the larger more traditional Union Square theater fare. The San Francisco Playhouse provides audiences the opportunity to experience professional theater with top-notch actors and world-class design in a setting where they are close to the action. The company has received multiple awards for overall productions, acting, and design including the SF Weekly Best Theatre Award and the Bay Guardian's Best Off-Broadway Theatre Award. Presenting a diverse range of plays and musicals, San Francisco Playhouse produces new works as well as re-imagining classics, "making the edgy accessible and the traditional edgy." The San Francisco Chronicle raved: "On the verge of opening its 10th season, the company that lived a hand-to-mouth existence for its first few years has become 'the little playhouse that could.' It quickly established a reputation for attracting some of the Bay Area's best acting and directing talent, as well as for its exciting play choices. And with its bold Sandbox Series, it's become a player in developing new works as well." San Francisco Playhouse is committed to providing a creative home and inspiring environment where actors, directors, writers, designers, and theater lovers converge to create works that celebrate the human spirit.

DETAILS:

SHOWS:
TONIGHT, July 7th through September 12th
Tues, Wed, Thurs 7pm / Fri, Sat 8pm / Sat 3pm, Sun 2pm
No matinee July 11th & 12th
Previews 8pm July 7, 8, 9, 10

WHERE:
450 Post Street, San Francisco, 2nd Floor of the Kensington Park Hotel.

TICKETS:
For tickets ($20-$120) or more information, the public may contact The San Francisco Playhouse box office at 415-677-9596, or www.sfplayhouse.org.


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