Bucks County Herald

Gilbert & Sullivan operettas – like no other musicals

STUART LEE FRIEDMAN



The Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society rehearses for “Trial by Jury,” which will be presented June 16 through 18 at Delaware Valley University’s theater.

Once singers have sung the comedic, fast-paced patter of Gilbert & Sullivan music, their appetite for more similar singing is whetted.

People have so much fun with that unusual music that they need to experience the style more, so singers travel from far and wide to sing with the G&S shows, joining various groups in the extended southeastern Pennsylvania area.

Such is also true for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society again this year for the annual spring performance. The group is presenting two one-act comic shows plus featuring soloists and several instrumental pieces by the Bucks County Orchestra under the direction of Lee Milhouse.

Singers have come from distances to join the core Bucks County group.

The first comic operetta is “Trial by Jury,” which launched the series of 13 collaborative works between Gilbert and Sullivan that came to be known as the Savoy Operas.

“Trial by Jury” involves men and women posturing in a British courtroom and as always, there a twist in the ending.

The second one-act, “Cox and Box” by Sullivan and Burnard, is a different goofy story of misunderstandings.

Potential attendees should not be put off by the word “opera,” because G & S musicals are really operettas. The plots usually are ludicrous as the composers point often base barbs at hypocrisy, especially at those in positions of authority. Those same writers would have had great fun writing goofy lyrics about some of today’s politics.

Bob Binkley, of New Britain, the driving force behind the Bucks County G&S Society, is directing “Trial by Jury” and Robert Kinney, of Doylestown, is directing “Cox and Box.” Milhouse, of New Britain, shares directing the Bucks County Orchestra with Binkley.

Bill Buckman, of Doylestown, one of the dedicated troupe of singers, is producer. Joe Nappi is rehearsal and show pianist along with Jessica McCall, and Pat Achilles designed the poster and does special promotion.

The following cast members are from Doylestown: Perry Beem, Bill Buckman, Bob Binkley, Robert Kinney, Dennis Klöppel, Eva Rae Martinez, Lisa Nordland, Jim Plastaras and Robert West. From outside the area are Jenne Carey of Manalapan, N.J.; Derek Hess of Boyertown; Wilbur Lewis of North Brunswick, N.J.; Theresa Swartz and David Swartz of Ambler; Abby Capitolo of Abington; Stu Baird of Audubon; Luann Casey of North Hills; Fred Dittman of Berwyn; Sarah Darrow of Philadelphia; Virginia Ziegler of Pipersville; Alice Deanin of Princeton; Ridge Goodwin of Holicong; and Jim Sanders of New Hope.

At a rehearsal last week, I chuckled as I watched Abby Capitolo’s melodramatic rendition of the leading female role, which she will play on opening night, Friday, June 16. Thereafter, Jenne Carey will play the leading role for three remaining performances. Derek Hess is Edwin and David Swartz plays the judge.

In addition to singing in “Trial by Jury,” two women will sing solos: Theresa Swartz,of Ambler, will perform “Tis Done, I am a Bride” from “Yeoman of the Guard” and Eva Martinez of Doylestown will sing “Poor Wand’ring One” from “Pirates of Penzance.”

“Trial by Jury and More” will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 18, in the theater of the Life Sciences building at Delaware Valley University, 700 E. Butler Avenue.

Tickets are $24 for adults, $19 for seniors and students. They are available at the door or thorough brownpapertickets.com.

More information is on the website: bucksgilbertandsullivan.org or by calling 215-348-4837.

Jeanbrenner3@gmail.com

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