PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University School of Music and Theatre Arts opens the 2001-02 season next week with the Tony Award-winning musical “Company.”

The Stephen Sondheim musical closed the 36th season of Pullman’s Summer Palace in early August. Nearly everyone from the original Summer Palace cast will return for the revival shows at 8 p.m. Sept. 7 and 8 in Daggy Hall’s R.R. Jones Theatre.

Directed by WSU faculty member Julie Anne Wieck, the musical comedy follows five married or soon-to-be married couples living in a Manhattan apartment complex and the overly protective feelings they have for their bachelor friend, Robert. With the exceptions of the beginning and the end, the show is played out as a dream in Robert’s mind.

“Company” looks at the thought processes of a man trying to understand relationships. “It takes a comical but serious look at relationships and really discovers the point of being alive,” Wieck said.

Originally written in 1970, “Company” was revived in 1995. The updated version features added scenes not found in the original, along with an 11-piece orchestra, giving the show a more modern sound. The Summer Palace cast will perform the updated version.

The set for “Company” consists of five multilevel platforms, one for each of the couples in the show, Robert’s apartment being in the center. Bright colors and special lighting give the set a contemporary feel, said technical director Chris Burton.

“The college crowd is going to love it,” said Brian MacMillan, who plays Robert in the show. “It has fun, memorable music and a hilarious script — all the makings for a great musical comedy.”

“Company” features such songs as “Being Alive,” “The Ladies Who Lunch” and “Marry Me a Little.” The show is rated PG-13 for language and adult situations. Tickets for all shows are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and $4 for students and can be purchased at the Daggy Hall Box Office, 509/335-7236.

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