The Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society, now in its 29th season, has announced casting for its latest musical, the classic light opera The Gondoliers, which will run May 11 to 21 at the Surrey Arts Centre Studio Theatre.
Producer Reginald Pillay, artistic director Christina Wells Campbell, music director Vashti Fairbairn and choreographer Carol Seitz have a stellar troupe of popular company favourites and promising newcomers to work with in the show, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s last great success, originally premiered at London’s Savoy Theatre in December of 1889.
Pillay himself stars as Luiz, drummer boy to the Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro (Roger Hussen and Jacquollyne Keath), members of the Spanish aristocracy, who have travelled to Venice with their daughter Casilda (Laura Luongo) – summoned by the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, Don Alhambra del Bolero (Robert Newcombe).
A confused and complicated comic plot involving attempts to locate the rightful heir to the throne of Barataria (married in infancy to Casilda, who secretly loves Luiz) draws in two Venetian gondoliers, the brothers Marco (Russell Robson) and Giuseppe (Dann Wilhelm), and their new brides Tessa and Gianetta (Katie Collins and Tamara Wilhelm).
Other leads include Clive Ramroop (Giorgio), Croy Jenkins (Annibale), Jackie Block (Vittoria), Samantha Andrews (Giulia) and Mila Yee-Hafer as Inez.
In addition to Hussen and Keath, the strong White Rock and South Surrey contingent in the production includes chorus members Natalie Dickson, Jake Hildebrand, Chris Roberts, Sabrielle McCurdy-Foreman and Jerret Schwartz, and costume coordinator Linda O’Donovan.
Fourth longest-running of the Savoy operas (after The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore and Patience) The Gondoliers marked a return to form for Gilbert and Sullivan after the unusual grimness of The Yeomen of the Guard. Gilbert’s happy, typically absurd libretto brought out the best in Sullivan, who produced music that borrowed from the French gavotte, the Spanish cachuca, the Italian tarantella and – as might be expected – the Venetian barcarolle.
Tickets are available from the Surrey Arts Centre box office (604-501-5566) or online at https://tickets.surrey.ca
For more information, visit the FVGSS website: www.fvgss.org