North Central College's Summer Music Theatre will showcase actors from the community and a new twist on a classic work--"H.M.S. Pinafore," Gilbert and Sullivan's first runaway hit and one of the most successful and enduring comic operas of all time.
Four performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. July 29, 30, 31 and a 2 p.m. matinee Aug. 1 in North Central's Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. Tickets are $15/adults and $10/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit www.northcentralcollege.edu/showtix. The show is directed by Matt Boresi, North Central's lecturer of theatre, with musical direction by Jeordano Martinez, professor of music at the College.
The story of "H.M.S. Pinafore" or "The Lass Who Loved a Sailor" takes place aboard a British naval vessel in the 1840s and is a love story between members of different social classes. Full of infectious tunes and well-constructed libretto, "Pinafore" was such a wild success in the United States and Britain when it premiered in the late 19th century that almost a dozen productions went up simultaneously within blocks of one another in New York City. The piece inspired a number of comical catchphrases and included such popular tunes as "We Sail the Ocean Blue," "I'm Called Little Buttercup" and "Never Mind the Why and Wherefore."
For lovers of Gilbert and Sullivan who are looking for a new twist on this classic, this production restores some of W.S. Gilbert's original dialogue. Gilbert intended the role of Cousin Hebe to have some very funny dialogue, but the performer in the 1878 role couldn't pull it off and Hebe's dialogue was cut and later used in the operetta "Patience."
Boresi says, "In our show we have a very funny and talented performer, Jean Austin, in the role. She'll perform the dialogue as originally intended, as well as an interpolated aria from ‘Patience,' which Gilbert coupled with the cut ‘Pinafore' dialogue. The role of Hebe becomes much clearer in our production and it should be a treat for local ‘Savoyards' [Gilbert and Sullivan fans]."
The cast is filled with rich voices and highly entertaining character actors, including seasoned vocalists, a number of respected music instructors from the Naperville area and students and alumni of North Central College.
Three of the principal roles stem from one family tree. The Honorable C. Stanley Austin, a DuPage County circuit court judge from Wheaton and very talented performer, is playing the Captain of the "Pinafore." His wife Jean, an accomplished vocalist and voice teacher, is playing Cousin Hebe. Their son Matthias, a recent graduate of Huntington University, plays Ralph Rackstraw, the lead tenor role.
"Just seeing this astoundingly talented family in action is worth the price of admission," says Boresi. "The comically villainous Dick Deadeye is played by North Central piano faculty member Jon Warfel, whose wife Jane is a soprano in the Lord Admiral's coterie. The couple has some featured moments together that are very, very funny."
The cast for "H.M.S. Pinafore" includes (part: name, hometown):
The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B. (First Lord of the Admiralty): Bill Nelson of North Aurora
Captain Corcoran (commanding H.M.S. Pinafore): Stan Austin of Wheaton
Ralph Rackstraw (able seaman): Mathias Austin of Wheaton
Dick Deadeye (able seaman): Jon Warfel of Naperville
Josephine (captain's daughter): Jennifer Reusz of Downer's Grove
Hebe (Sir Joseph Porter's first cousin): Jean Austin of Wheaton
Little Cuttercup (a Portsmouth bumboat woman): Katy Harth of Naperville
Bill Bobstay (boatswain's mate): Keith Aarseth of West Chicago
Bob Becket (carpenter's mate): Eric Quinn of Naperville
First Lord's sisters, cousins and aunts:
Jane Warfel of Naperville, Ali Kordelewski of Plainfield, Amanda Lang of Baraboo, Wis., Julie Jarosz of Norridge, Devin Collett, Malinee Ganahl of Darien, Stephanie Mikuzis of Naperville, Katie Brandonisio of Lisle, Meagan Cave of Batavia, Marilyn DiCola of Yorkville and Nadia Tancredi.
Sailors, marines, etc.:
Richard Laidman of Naperville, Dave Laib of Joliet, Matt Schluntz, Adrion Rivera and Sal Garza.
Stage manager is Erin McIntyre, a North Central 2010 graduate, of Bolingbrook.
The North Central College Spring and Summer Music Theatre shows have long been a chance for families to perform together. This summer's light opera continues that tradition and is one of many ongoing programs hosted at North Central College to enrich and broaden the academic and cultural outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of North Central's new 2010-2011 fine and performing arts season, art exhibits, lectures and other musical and theatrical productions, visit www.northcentralcollege.edu/show or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).