In the 1970s, as Broadway directors like Tom Moore were thrilling audiences by putting a convertible on stage in Grease, Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman, two young midwestern women, headed East to realize their own dreams of bringing imaginative live theater to the public. On a $50 budget, they produced their first show, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, in a church basement in Weymouth. Before long, they had outgrown that humble space and moved to a 600 seat school auditorium, where their production of Peter Pan put what had become The Company Theatre on the map when the two directors collaborated with the South Weymouth Naval Air Station to create flying rigs for the actors. (And, not to be outdone by Broadway, The Company Theatre also put a real convertible donated by Goldie’s junkyard in Quincy on stage for their 1983 production of Grease.)
Realizing there was a need within the South Shore community for arts programs, the theater created the Academy of the Company Theatre (A.C.T.), beginning their first summer workshop in 1987, with 14 students. Within two years, A.C.T. had over one hundred students participating in a variety of courses. This outlet for youth ages 7-18 has become an acclaimed training center for the performing and visual arts. In 1992, with strong community support, The Company Theatre purchased its home in Norwell — a real theater — and have remained there since.
This year, The Company Theatre celebrates its fortieth anniversary with a black tie optional gala in Hull on Saturday, June 15, 2019. The event will be linked to the revival of the theater’s own original acclaimed musical Paragon Park. Paragon Park weaves the history of Hull and the amusement park that for years in the early 1900s was a hot summer destination with a forbidden romance between a Boston Brahmin girl and an Italian immigrant. The show won the Moss Hart Award for Best Production in New England when it premiered at Company in 2012.
The celebration in June will start with drinks and light bites at Paragon Carousel at 5 pm. The carousel party will include a premiere of the recording of the musical’s original feature song “One Last Ride,” which will be played at closing time at the Carousel each evening throughout the Carousel’s summer 2019 season. Trolleys will then transport guests to the Nantasket Beach Resort Hotel for dinner, open bar, entertainment, dancing to live music, and more.
The event’s featured honoree will be Anita Comerford, past chair of Company’s Board of Directors. Anita is an attorney who resides in Hingham and gave many years of her time and energy helping the theater achieve its highest potential. The current Board and staff are thrilled to honor her service and dedication.
In addition, Company will honor long-time supporters Beverly and Donald Messinger. Says founder Bradford, “The theater industry was very male dominated in the ’70’s and still is today. As young female directors, it was very hard to be taken seriously, which is one of the reasons Jordie and I worked so hard early on to prove we were just as capable of producing, directing, and creating a successful and elaborate play or musical as a male run theater company. The Messingers were two people who did not hold the fact that we were women against us. They saw our work as a recipe for success and supported us however they could.” Donald was the first chair of the Company’s Board of Directors and will be honored posthumously. Longtime sponsors Sullivan Tire and W.B. Mason will also be recognized that evening.
Clandestine Kitchen is excited to help celebrate the success of Zoe, Jordie and everyone at The Company Theatre for bringing this incredible cultural resource to the South Shore. CK has donated a delicious family style feast for 8 to be combined with eight tickets to a Company Theatre show of your choice to be auctioned at the event. CK will arrange to deliver this meal to the winner before or after the show (depending on whether it is a matinee or evening performance).
Tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the Company Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Celebration are still available. Please click here for details.