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The sounds of Sondheim fill the air as Facetime tackles classic ‘Company’

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STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON 
For 21st Century Media

To marry or not to marry: that is the question Robert contemplates in the musical “Company.” He spends an evening with 10 of his close friends — five couples — observing their relationships to help him figure out if marriage is for him.
The show premiered in 1970 and had its libretto updated in the 1990s to sound more contemporary. The original production, though, won six Tony awards, including Best Music and Lyrics by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, and Best Musical. Phoenixville’s Facetime Theatre offers its version as the latest production in its 2014-2015 season.
Kate Nice, of Schwenksville, plays Sarah, one of the wives. Nice said Sarah’s relationship with her husband, Harry, is intense.
“They’re either fighting or loving really intensely,” she said.
Sarah is smart, strong-willed, and feisty, Nice said.
“She’s quick-witted and says what comes to her mind,” she said. “I can relate to that.”
“Kate Nice is hilarious as Sarah,” said Artistic Director Katie Romano. “She’s not afraid to let herself go and perhaps feel a little foolish to find the physical comedy needed for the role, and she nails it.”
In addition to getting to be funny, Nice said singing Sondheim is a pleasure, even though his music is challenging.
“Sondheim is a genius when it comes to lyrics and how they fit in with melody,” she said.
This is Nice’s first performance with Facetime, though she has worked as a director for them in the past and teaches there, too. She has performed at other local theaters, including the Society Hill Playhouse. She sang in an opera company in college, but earned a degree in math and worked as a high school teacher for a time. Now, she’s happily working with the theater, especially because she gets to sing.
“I feel comfortable singing. It’s my strong suit,” she said. “Music to me is the ultimate. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than singing. It’s so emotional and personal and it’s such a gift. I’m thankful to be able to do it.”
Paul Recupero, of Wayne, is, too. He plays Robert (Bobby) in this, his second production with Facetime, which offers instruction and productions for children and adults. Recupero previously played the lead in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
“Paul is a very dynamic, smart actor. He is constantly evolving his character from one rehearsal to the next, always thinking and trying new things,” Romano said. “It’s a learning experience for me just to watch his process.”
Unlike Charlie Brown, Bobby is a 35-year-old bachelor who’s trying to decide if he should ever get married.
“He’s trying to see what makes each couple tick,” Recupero said. “His life feels empty and he’s trying to see how it works for them and hasn’t worked for him.”
Until he met the woman he wanted to marry, Recupero could relate to Bobby’s plight. But the actor who works as an attorney by day met his true love — he and fiancée Brittany will be married next year.
Recupero likes that the show is reminiscent of real life.
“There’s a lot of emotion, with both drama and comedy,” he said.
Recupero, who has performed in other regional community theater companies and directed some productions, likes musicals. In this one, he especially enjoys that his character’s solos are introspective, he said. One of the best-known Sondheim songs in this show is “Being Alive” which describes whether or not Bobby will be able to move forward in his life.
Both Nice and Recupero enjoy community theater for the camaraderie as well as the opportunity to perform and be creative.
“This is such a good show with so many great characters,” Nice said. “I am happy to be part of it.”
“It’s a great outlet,” Recupero said. “You have your day job where you’re regimented. With performing, you’re free to experiment and to be expressive.”
The freedom and expression sometimes leads to “magical moments,” he said, “when you connect with the other actors and suddenly something clicks. You feel free to be yourself.”
That’s a great part of being alive and being in good “Company.”

IF YOU GO

What: “Company” performed by Facetime Theatre.
When: Jan. 9-11 and 15-17
Where: Black Box Theatre, Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center, Ursinus College, 601 E. Main St., Collegeville.
Tickets: $18 online (http://facetimecompany.brownpapertickets.com/); $20 at the door.
Info.: Call (610) 983-4636 or check www.facetimetheatre.org.

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