“Company”‘s coming to Moline Black Box, opening Thursday night

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The BBT “Company” cast features (back row) Mark Ruebling, Wendy Czekalski, Joe Urbaitis, Emmalee Hilburn, Jenny Winn and Michael Alexander; (middle row) Brant Peitersen, Abbey Donohoe, Tommy Ratkiewicz-Stierwalt, Jacqueline Isaacson and Daniel Williams, and front — Jennifer Cook Gregory, Noel Jean Huntley and Abby Bastian.

More than two years since its last musical, downtown Moline’s Black Box Theatre is returning with the classic “Company,” opening Thursday, Oct. 7 at the 60-seat venue, 1623 5th Ave.

“Company” is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth.  The original production was nominated for a record-setting 14 Tony Awards, and won six.

Its story revolves around Robert (a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage), the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, “Company” is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Robert’s 35th birthday, according to the Black Box, which notes the show was among the first musicals to deal with contemporary adult themes and relationships. 

Directed by co-owner of The Black Box Theatre, David M Miller, he also helmed the last BBT musical, Sondheim’s “Assassins,” in August 2019. Choreographing the production is area theater veteran Beth Marsoun, who choreographed “Mamma Mia” at Quad City Music Guild this summer (which featured Miller on stage). The “Company” pit will be led by music professional, Randin Letendre, who also music directed “Assassins.”

The “Company” cast is led by Black Box Theatre veteran Tommy Ratkiewicz-Stierwalt as Bobby, featuring Emmalee Hilburn & Joe Urbaitis as Sarah & Harry, Jacqueline Isaacson & Daniel Williams as Susan & Peter, Jennifer Cook Gregory & Brant Peitersen as Jenny & David, Jenny Winn & Michael Alexander as Amy & Paul, Wendy Czekalski & Mark Ruebling as Joanne & Larry — rounded out with the trio of Abbey Donohoe, Noel Jean Huntley & Abby Bastian as April, Marta & Kathy.

The new production of “Company” is supported in part by a grant from The Moline Foundation. Performances are October 7th-9th and 14th-16th at 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 10th at 2 p.m. Tickets are $13 on Oct. 7 and 14, and $16 for all other performances.

Actors will perform wearing clear plastic face shields, and all audience members must wear face coverings. Tickets are available for purchase at the door, and at www.theblackboxtheatre.com.

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