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The Martha's Vineyard Times

The Martha's Vineyard Times is a weekly publication.
August 18 - 24, 2005 Edition
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Theater: Operetta - perfect summer entertainment!
August 18, 2005

"HMS Pinafore", or "The Lass That Loved a Sailor," was the fourth collaboration between Gilbert and Sullivan and their first blockbuster hit. It opened on May 28, 1878 at the Opera Comique and ran for 571 performances. More than 100 years later, the operetta remains one of the most popular of their works because of its combination of delightful tunes and madcap story.

"Pinafore"comes to the Island beginning this Saturday, August 20 at 8 pm, when Island Theater Workshop will begin an eight-performance run of the popular operetta at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Vineyard Haven.

The operetta’s gentle satire deals with love between members of different social classes. The gentlemanly Captain of the Pinafore does not know that his daughter has fallen in love with Rafe, one of his ship’s common sailors, so he has arranged for her to marry the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter. Sir Joseph has risen from humble beginnings to gain his office by political acumen, despite the fact that he has never gone to sea. And the Captain himself fancies Buttercup, a poor bumboat woman.

A chorus of British tars and Sir Joseph’s sisters, cousins, and aunts provide a rollicking background to the chaos the main characters have made of their lives. It takes two acts of Gilbert madness and Sullivan music to straighten everything out and unite the right pairs of lovers, but it all comes out happily at the end.

The production stars Donald Lyons as Sir Joseph Porter KGB, Chris Stokes as the Captain, Shelly Brown as Little Buttercup, Kris Hauck as the lovesick sailor Rafe, Jonathan Ryan as Dick Deadeye, and Stephanie Burke as Cousin Hebe. All the actors are ITW regulars and audience favorites.

New to the company is lyric soprano Abigail Southard as Josephine, the Captain’s daughter. A native Islander, Ms. Southard graduated from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in 1993, from Ithaca College in 1998 with a Bachelor of Music degree and from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2002 with a Master of Music degree.

Brad Austin, Judy Campbell, Nick HallBilsback, Fala Freeman, Jeanne Moore, Gwenn Mead, Martha Mezzer, Jim Osborn, and Jennifer Sanders play the sailors and Sir Joseph’s female relatives.

Lee Fierro directs the production, with Peter Boak as Musical Director. He will also serve as pianist and conductor of the production’s chamber orchestra with Holly Wayman on flute, Atzic Marquez and Matt Pelikan on violin, and Jan Hyer on cello. The production is designed by Kevin Ryan, assisted by E. St. John Villard as light designer.

"HMS Pinafore," at Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring Street, Vineyard Haven on August 20, 21, 22, 25, 27, 28, and 29, 8 pm and a matinee on Sunday, August 28 at 2 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. Call 508-693-5290 for reservations.

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