‘Company’ is Coming

ECU students present the Broadway hit ‘Company’

East Carolina University theatre and dance students will transport audiences to New York City in 1970 in their production of “Company,” a musical comedy about a bachelor surrounded by his married and engaged friends.

Student performers’ silhouettes fill the stage in ECU’s McGinnis Auditorium.

“Company,” featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and the book by George Furth, opens tonight in McGinnis Auditorium on ECU’s campus. The original Broadway hit was nominated for 14 Tony Awards.

The story follows Bobby, who is turning 35 and is the lone, unattached man in a group of married and engaged friends. Over dinner parties, first dates and thoughtful conversations with friends, Bobby tries to make sense of his persistent bachelorhood. The musical explores relationships, vulnerability and connections.

Director Bryan Conger, assistant director of the ECU School of Theatre and Dance, said he was interested in exploring the original musical’s text and timeframe through a 2024 lens.

“‘Company’ is about people seeking and finding connection in a world that is becoming increasingly disconnected,” Conger said. “I felt that was still a salient topic to be exploring today and that we can find a lot of parallels between then and now.”

Andrew Goins, a senior musical theatre and acting major from Currituck County, portrays the bachelor, Bobby, who rarely leaves the stage as he interacts with different couples back-to-back, each with their own personalities and relationships.

“This is an unbelievable show and an equally unbelievable honor and privilege to be able to play this character,” Goins said. “Working to connect with the other amazing people on stage in a way that feels unique and individual to not only their characters, but the hard work we have put in to create this world for us all has been such an amazing challenge to tackle alongside this cast.”


Feb. 21-25 in McGinnis Auditorium
Tickets are $20 for the public, $15 seniors and ECU faculty or staff, and $10 for students or youth. For tickets or more information, visit the ECU School of Theatre and Dance website.

About 35 to 40 ECU students have been involved in the production, which has been supported by the school’s faculty members, Conger said.

Emma Laughinghouse, a junior musical theatre major with a minor in dance, portrays Susan, one of Bobby’s married friends who is getting divorced. She said the show has required focus and quick learning. “I have learned how to retain information quickly,” she said. “Sondheim is notoriously very difficult, and we have had a shorter rehearsal process.”

“The book and music in this piece are sophisticated and complex,” Conger said. “We have had an immense amount of fun getting to dive deep into the richness of this work. It is demanding the very best of all of us, which is always a wonderful thing.”

Goins said he has learned how much personal relationships, mutual respect and professionalism impact the rehearsal process.

“Every single person in this cast came to rehearsal on day one having done so much work to bring these characters to life with how they see them, before a single note was given,” he said. “This opened the opportunity for us to play and be vulnerable with each other to connect in the show and out. Not only that, but this group of people have such a warm and electric energy to them. Every one of us, from cast to crew, is here to support each other and do what we love to do, and that kind of room is one that I genuinely don’t want to leave every night after rehearsal.”

In this first production of the spring semester, the actors are looking forward to showtime with a live audience.

“I hope audiences open their hearts for this story and allow themselves to connect with these characters we have the honor to portray, letting the show move them however they absorb it,” Goins said.

“I hope the audience takes from this that love comes in many different forms and that marriage isn’t the only option,” Laughinghouse added.

ECU students perform “Company,” set in 1971 in New York City.