Tri-State Theater

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Company" Interview with Director Amy Carlson

    This weekend you have two chances to catch the musical Company - you’ll see why everyone is raving about it!

    The show also features a couple of “firsts” - it’s the first ARTS show directed by a woman, and it’s the first show Amy Knell Carlson has ever directed!

   She’s starred in quite a few shows, but we talked with her about her turn as director:

Q: Tell us the basic story of Company.

Amy: Company
is a musical comedy that follows Robert on his 35th birthday. It's a story that does not follow a linear plot, but instead shows us moments in Robert's life through a series of vignettes. He is wondering about his life and what marriage means. Robert is surrounded by married friends and girlfriends, but in spite of these relationships, he is a lonely man. 

Q: You've been onstage many times as an actor, but this is your first show as director. What's your reaction to that challenge?

Amy: Directing has been a mix of both expected and unexpected experiences. I've learned along the way. I simply tried to follow the rule of "do as you would have others do unto you." That may sound silly but I know what I like in a director and I tried to give that to my cast and crew. The people at ARTS have supported me and have believed in me from the beginning. I am a speech-language pathologist who loves theatre. That's all. I don't pretend to have a degree or be an authority on any of this. I just want to put up a product that means something to me, to the cast, to ARTS, and to the people who see it.  I don't see myself going into another project as a director right away. I think I wouldn't be much good to anyone after this. My battery needs a recharge. But, I would do it again in the future if ARTS asks me. 

Q: Tell us about the cast you're working with - a talented crew!

Amy: I know everyone says this but this cast is everything to me. First off, they trusted me when they had no reason to. I've never done this, it's blind faith on their parts. Secondly, I have asked a lot of them and they have continued to deliver no matter what came their way. One thing directing has given me is a greater appreciation for the time and energy actors and crew put into getting a show on its feet. When it's "your" show and you see people volunteering their time and talents to bring something to life it is a remarkable feeling. I've been incredibly humbled by the kindness of my cast and my crew.  There really are no people like theatre people. 
Q: Why would you recommend Company to our readers?

Amy: Here is what I've been telling people who don't know the show. I recommend Company because it is a musical for adults about adult subject matter. It has an amazing score written by Stephen Sondheim, and for my money there is no one better. This musical is an actor's musical. Sondheim writes for actors and that gives his work a different feel from other musicals. You have two chances to see this show and I urge you to take one of those. I can't guarantee you'll think it's a great show or even a good show. But I can guarantee you'll see brave actors taking chances and putting themselves out there for you to see.  These actors and techs deserve an audience. I hope you can make it. 

   Thanks, Amy!

   Arts Resources for the Tri-State presents the hit musical Company by Stephen Sondheim on March 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are$15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and show. Call for dinner reservations at  304-733-2787 (but hurry - the dinners have been selling out).

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