With only days to go until Brentwood Operatic Society’s first performance of Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking “Company”, we found a few minutes to catch up with Sam Gilmore-Cousins, starring in the lead role of Robert.
‘Bobby’ is a demanding role famously played by actors Larry Kert, Raul Esparza, Adrian Lester and Neil Patrick Harris. The Tony award-winning “Company” brings together ‘Bobby”s married friends-and his numerous girlfriends-to celebrate his 35th birthday. Everyone wonders when he will get married…but ‘Bobby’ famously “drives a person crazy” with his stubborn commitment to bachelorhood.
Find out how Sam is preparing for his role, his favourite song and why “Company” has timeless appeal…
Brentwood Operatic Society (BOS): How are rehearsals going?
Sam: Rehearsals are getting pretty tense as more and more of us realise how close we are to the week of the show. It is really exciting to see it all coming together and only now are we starting to get some of the jokes!
BOS: What’s your performing background?
Sam: I studied drama at the University of Winchester and graduated in 2008. I joined the lecturing team and led the 100-strong choir “Sing Our Hearts Out” for 4 years. I’ve done everything from star in the role of ‘Kenneth Williams’ in the Carry On-inspired “Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick”; act as musical director of “Jekyll and Hyde”; serve as vocal coach for “We Will Rock You” and “Guys and Dolls”; and work with Hampshire County Council teaching children music and theatre. When I moved to Brentwood, I joined Brentwood Operatic Society’s “Guys and Dolls” before auditioning for lead role of ‘Bobby’ in “Company”.
BOS: How are you enjoying the role of ‘Bobby’? You’re in almost every scene.
‘Bobby’ is really hard work. I have to rely on the entire cast to pull me through each scene and get into each moment as it is a very fast paced show!
BOS: Sondheim’s songs are beautiful but notorious challenging for performers. How do prepare for rehearsals?
Sam: Preparing does take a lot of effort. Fortunately I have a long car journey on the way to rehearsals, so I use the opportunity to listen to the soundtrack [Company, 2006 Broadway Cast Revival] non-stop. I’m also inspired by YouTube clips of other actor/singers performing ‘Bobby’.
BOS: Do you have a favourite song from “Company”?
Sam: Obviously, I love “Being Alive” [the famous show-stopping solo]. But I also love “Barcelona” as I love acting with Samantha, who is a brilliant [girlfriend] April.
BOS: Written in 1969 as a wry and witty look at marriage and relationships, do you think “Company” still has relevance in 2011?
Sam: Absolutely. You can watch the show and imagine your own friends. I think I may be a bit of a ‘Bobby’ myself and I certainly know lots of Larry’s, Sarah’s and Joanne’s. “Company” is a great window to the world. I think it will always be relevant.
Brentwood Operatic Society’s performances of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” run from 2-5 November 2011 at the Brentwood Theatre.
Tickets available online.
Nina Jarram… Sarah
Ben Martins… Paul
Emma Ware… Susan
Robbie Hunt… Peter
Marcia Alderson… Jenny/’Woman’
Mike Toft… David
Sian Hopwood… Amy
Jason Markham… Harry
Rachel Lane… Joanne
Bob Southgate… Larry
Samantha Thompson… April
Abby Lowman… Kathy
Cath Davis …Choir
Diane Moul… Choir
Graham Greenaway… Choir
Sue Stewart… Choir
Jordan Cox… Choir
Luke Goulding… Choir
Robert Davies… Choir
Tricia Allgood… Choir
Ian Southgate…Musical Director