Good ‘Company’

Northeastern’s pro­duc­tion of the Stephen Sond­heim musical “Com­pany” may open on Elec­tion Day, but the show has nothing to do with politics.

“I decided going in that I wanted to do some­thing decid­edly apo­lit­ical,” said Jonathan Carr, the production’s director and a lec­turer in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design’s Depart­ment of The­atre. “This is a show about who we are as people, not who we are nation­ally and politically.”

“Com­pany,” the only musical of the the­atre troupe’s season, tells the story of a tight-​​knit group of friends through a series of inter­con­nected vignettes. One vignette fol­lows Bobby, a single man in his 30s who is inca­pable of com­mit­ting to a steady rela­tion­ship. A second story line fol­lows his trio of girl­friends and a third focuses on his mar­ried best friends.

“Com­pany,” which opens next Tuesday and runs through Nov. 18 at the North­eastern Studio The­atre, is the second pro­duc­tion of the aca­d­emic year. The first of the year, “One Flea Spare,” was per­formed last month in the same venue.

The cast and crew have been preparing for the play since the start of Sep­tember, placing intense focus on Sondheim’s com­plex songs, which require a high degree of tech­nical accuracy.

“You can’t just depend on knowing whom you sing after,” said Hayley Perkins, a fourth-​​year the­atre major who plays Sarah, one of Bobby’s mar­ried friends. “You have to know the beats and counts for every­thing. We focused a lot more than usual on learning these songs, but that meant that when we really got into rehearsals we already knew so much about our char­ac­ters and this story.”

The play, Carr said, raises ques­tions about the meaning and def­i­n­i­tion of hap­pi­ness. As he put it, “What does it mean to be happy, and how do we know when we are?” Cast mem­bers noted that preparing for the play has chal­lenged them to think about their off-​​stage lives.

Over the course of the pro­duc­tion, there will be times when it may sound like the 14-​​member ensemble is singing as one, but each actor has his or her part to per­form. This indi­vid­u­al­ized approach to the play’s music car­ries over into other ele­ments of the pro­duc­tion, in which the actors must draw out the unique ele­ments of their characters.

“Like the char­ac­ters in ‘Com­pany,’ we’re at this point in our lives where we have to figure out how we relate to the other people in our lives,” said junior the­ater major Nick Osborne, who plays Bobby. “That’s very much the same thing that this play is dealing with.”

Tickets to “Com­pany” can be pur­chased online at MyNEU or at the Ell Hall Box Office.