NEGASS home page Gilbert Sullivan pooh-bah@negass.orgpdf copies

Vol. XXVI No. 5
 - I am an acquired taste -

Sunday, March 24, 2002 AT 2:00 PM:
LMLO/O MIKADO

 In This Issue: 

Articles

Calendar:
Performances and auditions
in NE and elsewhere

 

 

 

 

 

 


LMLO/O MIKADO

(How to get there - Park Avenue Congregational Church, Arlington, MA)

Sunday March 24 at 2:00 PM
Park Avenue Congregational Church
50 Paul Revere Road, Arlington, MA

On March 24 at 2:00PM, NEGASS will enjoy a Last-Minute Light Opera/Orchestra performance of MIKADO, conducted by David Larrick. Vic Godin is once more our Orchestra Manager - he has a full orchestra already, but he still has some room for strings. Contact him at vicgodin@neu.edu if you want to play.

CAST: Responses to Our notice in the last Bray were so instantaneous and so numerous that Program Chair Carl Weggel has already filled all the roles - with an all-star cast!

  Yum-Yum............ Rebecca Hains
  Peep-Bo............... Tania Mandzy
  Pitti-Sing............. Juliet Cunningham
  Katisha ............... Jena Eison / Katherine Engel Meifert
  Nanki-Poo........... Larry Seiler / Lee Patterson
  Ko-Ko.................. Tony Parkes
  Pooh-Bah............. David Leigh
  Pish-Tush............ Ken McPherson
  The Mikado......... Walt Howe

Yum-Yum nd Globe

Note: Since this meeting falls on Juliet's birthday, she requested her role as a birthday present to herself. Be ready to sing Happy Birthday to Juliet, and to others (e.g. Ron Dallas) whose birthdays fall near that day.
- mlc 
to top

~~~  

NEGASS 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: ALL NEW ENGLAND G&S GALA. At our next meeting, starting at 2:00 PM on Sunday, May 5, NEGASS plans to celebrate our 25th anniversary with a few friends.

We're asking groups which have performed, or are about to perform, even one G&S opera to share their love of G&S by performing anything - a scene, a song, staged or in concert, with piano or orchestra or a capella - anything as long as it's G&S. Invitations have already gone out to (and some exciting replies have returned from) established performing groups such as The Sudbury Savoyards, The Savoyard Light Opera Company, The MIT G&S Players, The Harvard-Radcliffe G&S Players, Valley Light Opera, The Connecticut G&S Society, and The Hancock County (Maine) G&S Society - groups which often receive publicity and reviews in Our pages. More invitations will follow - but if your organization has not yet received an invitation to present a scene or two at our Gala, please don't think you're not invited. (Feel free to print out this linked PDF copy of the invitation, and assume it's addressed to your group.) Be in touch!

singer with guitarAfter we spend the afternoon enjoying each others' performances, NEGASS will provide a catered reception - which will probably be a Chinese buffet. The celebration will continue with an "open mike" evening: any and all choruses, ensembles, and solos are welcome. The excellent David Goldhirsch will be available to accompany or conduct for any organization which may not be able to bring its own conductor or accompanist, and will also play for the evening free-for-all.

This is a great chance to intermingle and share, and to discuss how NEGASS, which was founded for the purpose of supporting and aiding local performance groups, can do more to be of help. Contact Program Chair Carl Weggel at (978) 474-0396 to schedule your participation, and to give us an idea of how many will be coming to the reception.

A limited amount of funding, generously donated by Charter Member Dean Edmonds, is available to help local groups which may have difficulty arranging the trip to Arlington. Ask Carl for details.

See you at our Anniversary Party! - mlc
to top

~~~ 

LAST MEETING: PIRATES VIDEO AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY On January 27 about 40 folks (including about 8 members of NEGASS) met at the Newton (MA) Free Library to enjoy a videotape of The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company's International G&S Festival 2001 performance of PIRATES.

At least one NEGASSer was heard to complain after the showing, "It was all wrong! D'Oyly Carte didn't do it that way!" - but another NEGASSer writes to say:

I remember thinking "This is G&S as it ought to be done" -- lots of energy, polished performances, a bit of slapstick but not enough to obscure the verbal humor. I was particularly impressed with the Mabel (Charlotte Page) and thought the Major-General a trifle bland. The director was obviously influenced by Papp's PIRATES but didn't copy it slavishly: the King was slightly younger and more athletic than D'Oyly Carte tradition would dictate, the police a little looser-jointed, and so forth. As PIRATES is largely a send-up of melodrama and grand opera, it's appropriate to play it a bit more broadly than some of the other G&S shows. I'd be interested to see how this company would do, say, IOLANTHE or YEOMEN.

[We hear that this group will be performing IOLANTHE at next summer's Festival - mlc]

-- MARCO AND GIUSEPPE
to top

 

Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2001-2002 

March 24 Last Minute Light Opera MIKADO
May 5 All-New England G&S Gala
June 9 Elections/Fantasy Day

Next Bray Copy Deadline: April 14, 2002

Next Bray Stuffing: SATURDAY, April 20, 2002 at 3:00 PM at 111 Fairmont St, Arlington, MA. Call Us at (781) 646-9115 evenings and weekends, or send email to marion@leedscarroll.com for directions to Our easy-to-get-to Arlington home. -mlc

 
to top
spring and summer

Member News

fall and winter

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome We New Members Christopher N. Ciccone, Isabel Leonard. and Katherine Engel Meifert

Chris writes: My first experience with Gilbert & Sullivan was watching PIRATES (with Kevin Kline as the Pirate King) on HBO. I cannot recall how many times I watched it, but I had it memorized in no time. I decided, even at that young age, that one of my goals in life was to act that very role. The few years of acting I did later in school never provided me with the opportunity, but I did become more familiar with other works. Unfortunately, I've never acted in a G&S performance, and with my singing voice (much to the world's relief) I probably never shall! Nevertheless, I have become a rabid fan of all the work and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm with others of the same mind.

Isabel writes: I grew up in a London suburb and was taken to many a D'Oyly Carte production in London by my devoted Savoyard father. Came to America in 1965 when I immediately got swept up in a production of PIRATES at MIT. I moved, got out of touch, but was re-enthused by a PINAFORE sing with Juliet Cunningham last year and a MIKADO sing last Sunday (Jan. 13) in Belmont, where I picked up the NEGASS flier. I'm a useful (not polished) rehearsal accompanist and would be happy to substitute on occasion for the real one if needed by any Boston-area group.

Katherine writes: Currently Chair of the Sudbury Savoyards and Mrs. Partlett in upcoming [now past] SORCERER. Previously, have been the group's Secretary, Makeup Chief, Lead and chorus member, and general techie. Was Buttercup in Fiddlehead's PINAFORE in 2001. Began love affair with G&S with the Binghamton Summer Savoyards in 1988. Finally couldn't procrastinate this membership any longer - feelings of guilt over perusing the Trumpet Bray online for free were getting unbearable.

Hearty Greeting Offer We! -mlc

TELL US, TELL US ALL ABOUT IT! Rebecca (Consentino) Hains (a popular soprano in the area, who'll be singing Yum-Yum in the LMLO MIKADO) writes: I have some good news to share: I received a letter from Rensselaer today, stating that I have been accepted into their doctoral program in Communication, Culture and Rhetoric. Their program has a lot going for it, so I'm delighted! [The Japanese equivalent for Hear, Hear, Hear! - mlc]

Todd Alan Long, a popular lyric baritone and stage director who returned from Boston to the DC area last summer, writes: Here's a quick review of my latest show that made the Washington Post! I'm also the Asst. Director, Producer and Stage Floor Manager (set changes) so I'm glad it came off well. Whew! [The glowing review praises Rockville, MD's Victorian Lyric Opera Co.'s production of La Vie Parisienne. ]

-- mlc 
to top

 NEGASS Business

JUNE MEETING: NEGASS ELECTIONS This year, our Vice President (Jennifer Morris), Secretary (Peter Cameron), Program Chair (Carl Weggel) and three Members at Large (Linda Silverstein, Janice Dallas and Marion Leeds Carroll) are up for replacement.

singerPlease note that the three Members-at-Large in question have also held positions of responsibility in NEGASS, performing the duties of Company Promoter, Membership Officer, and Newsletter Editor. Any one seeking to replace any of these three MALs ought to consider which of the three jobs he or she wishes to take on - because these functions are particularly vital, and must not be allowed to lapse with re-election!

All three MALs, as well as the Program Chair, have already expressed an interest in remaining in their positions. But this is an open Society! - if you long to take a seat on the Board, and help with the operations of the Society, start thinking about which position you'd like to stand for at the Election Meeting in June.

WHAT IS NEGASS HERE FOR? Candidates for Board positions may want to know the answer to that question. Our Constitution explains:

The New England Gilbert and Sullivan Society is an educational and philanthropic organization dedicated to the preservation and furtherance of the spirit and art contained in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan through a program of public education and support for performing companies in the New England region.

NOTICE OF CANDIDACY FOR THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN Here's a member who would like to institute, and inhabit, a new office on the Board. We'll let him explain why:

As a NEGASSer of 18 years, I've concluded that the membership lacks an ability to monitor how the Society is run. As Ombudsman, I would work to provide answers to questions of individual members with minimum burden on other Officers. For more details, please email or write for a copy of my position, "A Carpet Quarrel Averted?" Ombudsman would be a new position on the Board. Sincerely -

- BOB RUSSELL
savoyard@altavista.com
297 K Street, South Boston, MA 02127
to top
 

FINANCIAL REPORT: We have received a request for more nitty-gritty NEGASS operational details. So - in addition to making our Constitution more readily available, We hereupon publish an interim financial report, provided by Treasurer Richard Freedman. (Although not all expenses or income are in for this year, you'll note that we are not in bad shape at all!)

About the entry "Purchase of Scores": We received a donation from Nancy and Bill Burdine several years ago, in memory of their late daughter Carol Burdine, and have been using this donation to acquire piano/vocal scores to lend to local organizations or individuals - contact the Board for more information!

DID ANYONE CATCH Fitchburg Public Library's Afternoon of G&S on Sunday, February 3?

Or the Connecticut Master Chorale of Newtown, CT in their concert on March 10 featuring Sullivan's Festival Te Deum, along with John Rutter's Requiem? -- Tell Us, Tell Us All About It!

SINGOUT NOVA SCOTIA: The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia, a performing group, is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. To celebrate, the group is planning a weekend Sing-out, similar to the ones hosted in the past by Rockville and Toronto. The dates: July 19-21, 2002. The performance space: Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.

Only seven of the operas will be performed at this sing-out, to leave more time for socializing. (Specific operas have not yet been chosen - suggestions are welcome!) No dialogue, no overtures, no rehearsals - but music directors and accompanists will be provided. Registration is expected to be approximately $50 Canadian.

As in other sing-outs, potential soloists will be asked to request roles ahead of time, and casts will be chosen in plenty of time to prepare.

Tentative Schedule:

Friday Evening, July 19:
Registration ~ Shows 1 & 2 ~ Wine & cheese party
Saturday, July 20:
Continental Breakfast ~ Show 3 ~ Lunch Break ~ Shows 4 & 5 ~ Supper Break ~ Shows 6 & 7 ~ The "Cast Party"
Sunday, July 21:
Social Activities TBA

For more info and to express interest in the Nova Scotia Singout, contact Leo Weniger at gilbertandsullivansingout@hotmail.com or (902) 425-3392. Or write to him at 504-1333 South Park St., Halifax, NS B3J 2K9 Canada.

HASTI NOTES As part of their anniversary celebration, Nova Scotia is offering for sale a set of note cards featuring G&S designs, which they are calling G&S Hasti Notes.

Visit their handsome new web page to see pictures of the cards - 2 each from GONDOLIERS, MIKADO, PATIENCE and YEOMEN. These notes are blank inside, come with matching envelopes, and are priced at $6.00 Cdn. per pack of 8 plus shipping; no tax.

In Halifax, you can order by phone: (902) 429-1287. From elsewhere, mail cheque or money order to: Hasti Notes, Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia, Box 3136, Halifax, NS B3K 5Z1. If ordering from the US or elsewhere, please remit in Canadian dollars:

Packs Canada US Surface US Air 1-2 $2.00 $3.50 $5.25 3-5 $3.60 $5.00 $6.00 6-12 $7.25 $8.00 $10.50

MIKADO BOWTIES The company Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont has come out with a new print for their bowties, pocket squares and ascots called "Mikado." The description in their catalog reads: "Gilbert & Sullivan's music combines worldly wit and sophisticated style. So does this design." It is of gold and ivory fans on black silk, and I'll try to get one to show at the next meeting. If anyone is interested in getting their own, their web address is www.beautiesltd.com.

-- TOM DAWKINS
to top

COMPLETE ANNOTATED GILBERT AND SULLIVAN Ian Bradley's classic, containing the complete text of each opera plus detailed annotations, is now available in paperback for £17.99 + s/h. Write to: Direct Sales Department/ Oxford University Press/ Freepost, NH 4051/ Corby, Northants NN18 9BR or email book.orders@oup.co.uk for details.

G&S COURSES FOR SENIORS IN SALEM, MA For the seniors among us, the Salem State College offers many interesting courses in their "SSC Explorers" groups in Spring and Fall sessions. One of the Fall 2002 sessions will include a 6-week course on G & S operettas: GONDOLIERS, IDA, and SORCERER. NEGASS member Allen Cohen will show videos of the productions, will distribute librettos and add interesting and informative points to make the productions come alive. No homework and no credit given. For more information call SSC office at 978-542-6342.

- ALLEN COHEN
to top

[Allen is the proud uncle of the talented high-school girl, Caitlin Vincent, whose request in the Bray a few months ago for help in finding G&S audition materials led, you'll all be glad to know, to her winning a scholarship from the Seattle G&S Society. She plans to come to Boston to attend college - watch for her! - mlc]

Reviews

SORCERER WITH THE SUDBURY SAVOYARDS Kathy Lague has done it again, assembling a sparkling cast of both new and old faces while making sure that the works of Gilbert and Sullivan age gracefully. With a few clever tricks to appeal to the modern audience, I may have enjoyed this year's SORCERER even more than I enjoyed J.W. WellsSudbury's excellent IOLANTHE in 1999. From the very beginning, when the curtains open to reveal one of the most elaborate and lovely sets the group has ever constructed, to the high-energy finale, a good time was had by all.

The chorus was a very large and energetic bunch, though their tendency to go off-beat when not accompanied by the orchestra did strain the pace of the show at times. This production marked Sudbury's most ambitious attempt at stringent choreography, which succeeded about half the time: Some of the twirling in the chorus numbers was a little too maniacal, but the pavane with chairs as the servants are setting up the feast was excellent. I was also pleased to see the effort that had gone into costumes for this show. The details gave each member of the chorus an identity, and made the whole affair feel very authentic.

I should say of Dennis O'Brien that he didn't have the Cockney simplicity that is customarily regarded as the trademark of John Wellington Wells (he didn't even try to drop his H's), but I can't really say that and mean it. His impeccable British stateliness is impossible to resist. He knows how to please an audience, and he does it every time, with flawless diction and pitch. I was also very pleased to see Ben Stevens excelling in the role of Alexis. He faced a challenge that the Sudbury audience has not seen him take on before: Overt physical comedy. He went above and beyond what I expected, and as always, sang beautifully.

I wish to make a case for Peter Nigra, who may have packed more character and humor into the tiny role of Hercules than any performer in the role's history. After getting a bigger laugh for his drawn-out "Yes, sir" than many of the principles got for their elaborate political cracks, Nigra went on to steal all the chorus scenes with his assertive stage presence and his evident talent at both subtle and overt humor. If his singing ability is anywhere near the caliber of his acting chops, there is no reason that Mr. Nigra should not be put in a lead role if he returns next season. Another conventional underdog who unexpectedly earned the limelight was Tony Parkes [the Notary], whose straight-on wisecracks during "Dear friends, take pity" nearly undermined the charm of Sarah Telford's singing.

Ms. Lague also deserves to be commended for the risky decision to reinstate the Act II scene where Wells invokes the demon. Ted Koban's powerful, developed voice made for an excellent spooky Ahrimanes, though I was disappointed that this was at the expense of enjoying his presence onstage. David Larrick's music, composed for the never-scored cut scene, was not always Sullivanian; but was very appropriately majestic (the chorus music in this scene was especially lovely). On the subject of the "supernatural" scenes, I must applaud the tech crew for orchestrating some wonderful surprises (a very believable levitating teapot was a high point). I think some more effort could have been put into making the chorus of sprites sound less suspiciously like the merry townsfolk of Ploverleigh, but these scenes were some of the finest in the production.

Regarding the most controversial aspect of the show (Kathy Lague's decision to let the audience vote off either Alexis or Wells in the end), I confess that I went in on opening night with a purist's skepticism. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. The audience loved being included, and incorporating the "ballot count" into the scene did not prove to be a problem for disruption to pacing. There was no deviation from the original script; a drum roll played as the notary counted the audience's votes from the stage, and then clapped a hand on the doomed one's shoulder. To boot, the audience did seem to think that Alexis was to blame, and voted him off almost every night. While it is a little odd that Sir Marmaduke marks his son's death with a jolly feast, this little creative spin made the show distinctive and fun. Let us hope that Gilbert was right when he said that "ingenuity is catching."

Eric Ruben was true to Sir Marmaduke's inherently reserved mannerisms, although he certainly could have taken the wildness of "Welcome joy" to a higher level. I thought he was excellent playing off of Laura Schall Gouillart in the role of Lady Sangazure, but I must not explore this topic too deeply lest the Nepotism Police revoke my reviewing privileges. Thus, we need not reexamine the fact that Mom...uh, Ms. Gouillart is one of the most superior contraltos in all of light opera. [Hear, hear! - mlc] I was very impressed with Sudbury newcomer Sarah Telford as Constance. She demonstrates a rare combination of a very trained soprano with a distinctive comic touch. The latter is often lacking in Gilbert and Sullivan's young ladies, at a great cost. I hope to see Ms. Telford back and aiming perhaps for a more principle role. Stephanie Mann as Aline sang like an angel, and was very successful playing off of Ben Stevens. I would have liked, however, to see her having a little more fun with the role. David Kehs as Dr. Daly was the audience's sweetheart, delivering his lines with an almost biting humor, though his solos occasionally lagged towards the end.

When all is said and done, I was delighted with Kathy Lague's fresh approach to SORCERER. The extra efforts paid off, and the formidable cast and high-voltage chorus marked one of Sudbury's most successful endeavors in recent history. My very best congratulations and thanks for a night at the theater well-spent, and I look forward to seeing Sudbury's PATIENCE next year.

 

- EMILY F. GOUILLART
Sudbury's webmaster, Stoney Ballard, writes:
I've posted the photos I took at Tuesday's dress rehearsal on the web site. They're linked from the front page, or go directly to http://www.sudburysavoyards.org/pages/ sorcerer2002pics/
to top

MIKADO AT BELMONT'S OPEN SING As a singer, "open sings" are probably my favorite form of G&S entertainment. Thus, I am delighted that Mary Beekman and her Belmont Open Sings cater to my weakness. Sometimes, however, the whole does not equal the sum of its parts. Although every part of the Belmont Open Sings' MIKADO was good to excellent, the whole was a trifle less.

The standout performer of the evening was Jena Eison. Her Katisha was the finest I have ever heard. In such numbers as Alone, and yet alive! she portrayed a Katisha that fulfilled my vision of the role - someone who is desperately lonely, not because she is ugly (Jena is gorgeous), but because (like a Margaret Thatcher or a Golda Meier) she must rule. Since effective rulers must distance themselves from their subjects, they thus are doomed to lead tragically lonely lives. Ko-Ko actually wins a prize for himself, and, as a commoner, being domineered would have been his natural fate anyway. Just, with a marriage to Yum-Yum, Ko-Ko was ambitiously hoping for something even better.

The second gorgeous voice is that of Tania Mandzy (Peep-Bo). I had fallen in love with her voice several years ago, when she was the standout performer as Antonia's Mother in a Lowell House Opera production of Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann at Harvard. Both Jena and Tania will be featured in their same roles in NEGASS's Last-Minute Light Opera production of MIKADO on March 24, 2002.

The other female soloists, Rebecca De Felice (Pitti-Sing) and Elizabeth Canterbury (Yum-Yum), were both excellent and would have warranted highest praise in any production not in the shadow of Jena and Tania. Incidentally, Elizabeth is the niece of Robert Canterbury, one of the organizers of this May's Reunion of the B. U. Savoyards. All four of the female leads are students or former students of Donna Roll and Tom Enman at the Longy School of Music. The superb caliber of the these four singers, plus Norman Fox (Pish-Tush and Mikado), should make Donna Roll and Tom Enman proud.

All of the male leads - Daryl Yoder (Pooh-Bah), Ray O'Hare (Ko-Ko), Norman Fox (Pish-Tush and Mikado), and Stephen Mark Beaudoin (Nanki-Poo)-approached the same high caliber as the female leads. Most talented was Daryl Yoder, who delivered a resonant Pooh-Bah.Mikado suicide Ray O'Hare added an inspired bit of stage business in his portrayal of Ko-Ko. At the end of the second verse of Ko-Ko's song to woo Katisha, Willow, Tit-Willow, Ko-Ko sings:

"He sobbed and he sighed, and a gurgle he gave,
Then he plunged himself into the billowy wave,
And an echo arose from the suicide's grave-
'Oh, willow, tit-willow, tit-willow!'"

Just before delivering the last line, Ko-Ko took a swig from his water-bottle before gurgling the last line in a clever "Blowing Bubbles" fashion-an ingenious bit of stage business!

It is wonderful to have a G&S sing-along luxuriate in the sound of a full orchestra! The conductor, Logan McCarty, seemed to be a competent, or even skilled, conductor. Unfortunately, he evinced insufficient familiarity with the traditional tempi of the G&S numbers-even though he was the Music Director of the production of GONDOLIERS by the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players (HRG&SP) in the Spring of 1998. Regrettably, the fine singing (particularly of the men) was compromised by Logan's inappropriate choice of tempi that were too often downright plodding, glacial, or even geologic. And I have been justly accused of favoring slow tempi myself! On the other hand, the tempo of There is beauty in the bellow of the blast was blissfully brisk.

I hope that the Belmont Open Sings continue to feature more G&S open sings. I believe that all who participated in this sing-along would welcome even more such opportunities.

-- CARL F. WEGGEL

to top

CONNECTICUT G&S SOCIETY PRINCESS IDA Ever since Philadelphia's marathon 'Three Princesses" (which I sat through!) I've thought of IDA Ida headas a major yawn. Being, however, of the opinion that an evening of relatively dull Gilbert and Sullivan is infinitely better than no Gilbert and Sullivan at all, I continue to go anyway. This one, I knew from seeing a rehearsal, would be different, but I had no idea how different!

From the moment I entered the theater -- I had arrived 45 minutes early to be sure of a good seat, only to find most of the good ones already taken -- I could feel an excitement that was almost palpable. The audience were abuzz -- happily so -- with talk of "...last night's performance was wonderful!"

The staff all told me what a great show I had missed the night before: that people were standing along the side walls and sitting on the steps in the central aisles because there were absolutely no seats available. All had staked out places from which to watch tonight in case there were no seats -- a wise move, as it turned out.

After Dr John Dreslin entered, to warm applause, the orchestra played an overture that set the scene for a truly rewarding performance, and I was beginning to be a bit excited, myself. The curtain opened on the first scene (and more applause for the set designed and built by Bill Sorenson and the tech crew) and the animation of the cast was immediately evident: What a chorus!

The costumes were brilliantly designed and executed, with many hues and styles which all seemed appropriate. Rich robes for the royalty, and scarcely less so for the courtiers. There was even genuine chain mail for the knights. King Hildebrand appeared, to the great amusement of the audience, followed by his six-year-old trainbearer, who skittered about after him, keeping the train directly behind the king no matter how he turned. The little girl, Jessica Ann, one of a family of four Kirbys in the cast, showed amazing stage presence for such a youngster.

The three "lads" -- Hilarion, Florian, and Cyril -- were all portrayed by veteran members of the company, Bill Sorenson, John Knudsen, and Greg Shafer, and King Gama by Leighton Phraner. Our three doughty knights included two stalwarts, Laurie Weissbrot as Arac, and Alan Church, as Guron. Joining them, for the first time as a member of the CG&SS, was Haldan Smith as Scynthius. One of my favorite numbers is the first act finale of IDA, and it was performed to perfection.

In the opening of the second act we were treated to our first sight of Carol Connolly (Lady Blanche), the winsome Kathleen Thompson (Lady Psyche), and Susan Wrzosek (Melissa). Deanna Swanson, as pretty an Ida as Leighton Phraner was bizarre as Gama, was welcome in her first appearance with the Connecticut Society in several years. The lovely Susan Wrzosek, besides her beautiful voice, uncorked a hitherto unsuspected gift for comedy.

The Lady and the ApeI could go on about individual performances, but I think I should mention the staging and choreography, both of which were outstanding. Bob Cumming has been known for his imaginative, yet traditional, direction and staging, and this IDA was no exception. Gilbert's humor was highlighted without 'pork-pie,' even though some was updated. Karen Pajor was assistant director and choreographer, and her signature dancing was simple, yet, because of painstaking rehearsal and design, looked far more spectacular and difficult than it was. (She and husband Greg Shafer are moving to Indiana immediately; they will be sorely missed by all.)

The chorus was very well concerted, and all the words were distinct. I asked others, at intermission, whether they could understand the words, and even those who were new to IDA agreed that they could.

The sets were solid, allowing the "lads" to climb over the wall without rippling the scenery, and for maids and soldiers on the battlements to stand with confidence. Lighting was so good as to be unobtrusive, and the sound, though individuals were body-miked, was exemplary. I couldn't help comparing the total effect most favorably to last week's DUKE at Amherst. At Middletown, there were no lost lines at all.

The departing audience were all enthusiastic about the show. Paul Cohen called the show "brilliant." I would certainly agree, adding such words as "sparkling," "fast?paced," "exciting," "professional," and "memorable."

I will certainly remember it, and I'll play my video frequently!

-- TED RICE

to top

DIRECTION/TICKET SALES ADVICE FOR WEB SITES: a NEGASSer writes: .Unhappy Policeman..Would you kindly be sure that all websites you list for productions include information (1) as to the exact location of the production and (2) the way to buy tickets?

The Sudbury SORCERER website is beautiful but does not tell how to buy tickets. [This problem was corrected closer to the opening of the show - perhaps an off-season ticket page ought to be made, to explain the company's policy regarding ticket information?]

A recent performance at the Agassiz theater was not attended by us as the location of the theater was not given. It is not listed in the phone book. I made 3 calls to an answering machine, none of which were returned. [The Agassiz Theater, in Radcliffe Yard, is the home of the Harvard-Radcliffe G&S Players. It is possible to find directions on the HRG&SP site - but it takes a bit of searching.]

You can't get people to attend if you won't tell them where it is and how to buy tickets. Hope this helps.

-- ALLEN COHEN
[Thanks, Allen! - We can't edit the sites for which We are sent URLs, but perhaps your "review" of these sites and the problems they can cause will be noted. - mlc]

to top

~~~

IN-PROGRESS PDF BRAY ARCHIVE We've started a new project: We're posting PDF versions of recent Brays on the web. What does this mean? It means that if you have a (free and easily accessible) copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can print out a copy of the issue you want, looking pretty much the same as the copy you received in the mail - in case you lost your old copy, or want to lend a copy to someone else. Ultimately, We hope to create a more nearly complete archive of old Brays in PDF format.

Note: Very old issues of The Trumpet Bray are still available in The G & S Archives.

~~~

ABOUT CONTRIBUTING TO THE TRUMPET BRAY:

All contributions are welcome, of course - but, strictly speaking, only activities and articles relating to G&S ought to be published. (…although an occasional Yes We Know It's Not slips by when the subject relates to a promising activity presented by long-standing and active member of NEGASS.)

  1. E-mail is the best way to send things! - marion@leedscarroll.com or pooh-bah at negass dot org will get to Us equally well.
  2. The US Postal Service (aka "snail mail") is fine, too - send letters, preferably typed, or hand-written very clearly so that We can read and correctly reproduce names, dates, etc. - to NEGASS, PO Box 367, Arlington, MA 02476-0004.
  3. The Telephone is a very last choice. We do have an answering machine, but spellings of names and specifics of dates are awfully hard to be sure of when delivered by Word of Mouth (Oricular or otherwise), and We rarely have time to phone people back to check details. Please use the phone only if you have no other choice!
 -- mlc   
to top

Visit http://leedscarroll.com/GSEnsembles.html for a list of G&S ensembles suitable for excerpt programs.

Visit http://negass.org/Pages/Ads.html for a NEGASS business card image.

  Calendar             Officers  

 THE NEW ENGLAND GILBERT AND SULLIVAN SOCIETY  
PO Box 367, Arlington, MA 02476-0004

Send electronic contributions to our e-mail address:

 

NEGASS home

contact current webmaster mlc for more information