Next Onstage

Burned Over

By Bess Atlas

Tickets to go on sale August 1St.

Iolanthe 2005

Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe

(the one with the fairies and the politicians)Director Nan Hanna-Paquin is pleased to announce the cast for this year’s operetta:
Lord Chancellor                        Michael David Gorski
Lord Mountararat                     Wayne VanderByl
Lord Tolloller                            Michael Mulberry
Pvt. Willis                                 Bill Hammond
Strephon                                 Robert Gorski
Queen of the Fairies                  Karen Nail
Iolanthe                                   Jaime Akerley
Celia                                        Barb Hunn
Leila                                         Ann Rhody
Fleta                                        Amanda Lobaugh
Phyllis                                      Karen KarniskyAs the play opens, the fairies gather to beg their Queen to bring Iolanthe out of banishment at the bottom of a stream, where she had been exiled for 25 years as punishment for marrying a mortal in violation of fairy law. Iolanthe’s son, Strephon, has grown up working in the country, half fairy, half mortal.
As his mother is pardoned, Strephon enters the fairy ring to announce his intention of marrying Phyllis in spite of her guardian, the Lord Chancellor, who refuses permission. The Queen approves, and plans to influence certain boroughs to elect Strephon to Parliament.
As it turns out, the entire House of Lords is enamored of Phyllis and they appeal to the Lord Chancellor to give her to whichever peer she may select. The Lord Chancellor also loves Phyllis, but feels he has no legal right to assign her to himself. Phyllis refuses to marry a peer and Strephon pleads his cause in court again, but in vain. Iolanthe comes to his rescue but, since she doesn’t age, like all fairies, appears to be Strephon’s age. Phyllis and the peers misinterpret the situation, and ridicule Strephon when he maintains Iolanthe is his mother. Phyllis now declares she will marry eithe rLord Mountararat or Lord Tolloller.
The fairies use their powers not only to send Strephon to Parliament, but to ensure each bill he introduces passes both houses. Among his initiatives is a bill to throw the peerage open to competitive examination, which causes the peers to panic and entreat the fairies to desist. By now, the fairies have fallen in love with the peers and would like to oblige, but it is too late to stop Strephon. The Queen reproaches her subjects for their feminine weakness, and acknowledges her own weakness toward the sentry Private Willis, but maintains she has her feelings under control.
Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller discover that if either marries Phyllis, family tradition would require the loser to kill his successful rival; both therefore renounce Phyllis in the name of friendship. After considerable struggle, the Lord Chancellor pleads his own cause before himself and convinces himself that the law will allow him to marry her.
Meanwhile, Strephon makes Phyllis understand that his mother is a fairy, and they are reconciled.They persuade Iolanthe to appeal to the Lord Chancellor and, to make the appeal effective, Iolanthe reveals her identity to him – her husband – and again incurs the death penalty for violating fairy law. At this point, the other fairies confes they have all married the peers and are subject to the same punishment. To create the quintessential Gilbert & Sullivan Topsy Turvy ending, The Lord Chancellor suggests the legal expedient of inserting a single word in the language of the law making it a capital offense for any fairy who does not marry a mortal.
The Queen asks Pvt. Willis to marry her to save her from death, everyone becomes a fairy and fly away to Fairyland, leaving the House of Lords to be erplenished according to intelligence rather than birth.
Of course, the Pultneyville Civic Light Opera Company cast will make some changes to characters and references to bring the plot and costuming into modern times – a signature of the group since its inception in 1960. The audience is guaranteed a wonderful theatrical experience of music, comedy, visual beauty with another set by TANYS award-winner R.L. Markham, and a topsy turvy ending!

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