The Vail Valley Theatre Company (VVTC) has begun rehearsals for their next production, which will take the stage in October. The talented cast and crew of "Company," by the acclaimed Stephen Sondheim, have already committed countless hours to singing, staging and memorizing the complex music and lyrics of this Tony-award winning musical. "Company" revolves around the character Robert, otherwise known as "Bob, Bobby, Robby, Robbo" and a slew of other nicknames. Played by Lance Schober, Robert is a single man celebrating his 35th birthday surrounded by his best friends, five married couples. Through a series of vignettes featuring Robert's married friends and his three girlfriends, the audience will explore the many facets of a "loving" relationship. Does a person really just need "Company" or is there more to "being alive"?'Step outside my comfort zone'Meet our first married couple: Sarah and Harry. Sarah is played by Robin Smart, and Harry by long-time local entertainer, Don Watson. This couple proves that when two people have been together as long as they have, they know each other's vices inside and out (namely bourbon and chocolate), they challenge each other's honesty (Harry calls Sarah out to perform what she's learned at her Karate classes), and they show the audience it's the little things you do together that make marriage a joy.Watson, who was raised in Ohio and New York, is a 32-year local and will celebrate his 50th year as an aprs-ski entertainer this season. As a seasoned performer and composer, he still loves to learn new music, and dedicates his free time to local theater."I have a need to step outside my comfort zone as an artist. It's fun," he said. "I can connect with this show as I've been married. I am currently single. Married is better!"Smart, a Metro Denver native, has lived in the Vail Valley for more than 8 years and works as the project director for Wayfinder. She is having a great time in her first production with VVTC. "Music and the arts are the very things that knit all intellectual pursuits with relationships and, more importantly, our culture," she said. "Nothing supports inter-disciplinary learning, professional poise, powerful communication and self-confidence like participation in music, art and drama."They both are having fun staging the Karate match, but you'll have to go see the show to find out who wins.'My turn'Next, enter Susan played by Heather Lemon, a long-time local realtor with Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, and Peter, played by Todd Frye, a nurse case manager at the Vail Valley Medical Center. Susan and Peter completely confuse their single friend, Robert, when they admit they chose to get a divorce in order to stay happily together. Frye, who has lived in the Vail Valley since 2006, says he can relate to Peter."I met my first wife doing a community theater musical in my home state of Oklahoma. She was the piano player. We're not married anymore, but we get along great! Kind of like Susan and Peter, our relationship is bizarre but happy."Though Lemon has served on the VVTC board since 2008, this is her first time on the stage. She studied speech and theater in high school and college and initially chose law as a profession before going into real estate sales. "My three children were raised here in the Vail Valley and are all performers," she said. "I always encouraged their involvement with our local theater. Now they are grown and I decided it was my turn to audition. My character, Susan, is a fun, independent woman and a joy to play. It's great working with all the talented people here in the valley."Stay tuned to this weekly column to meet the rest of the cast and crew of "Company." They are bursting with talent and you never know, your neighbor might just be a star!
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