Yes, yes, yes, you're waiting for a post. This will have to do for now.
People have been asking who the cast is for the upcoming NYGASP performances at Symphony Space. I am here with that scoop. We are doing Utopia, Limited for the first time in ages. It is late Gilbert (1893), written four years after what was to be their final lasting success, The Gondoliers. It was written for the money and not a very inspired piece, but a towering masterpiece compared to The Grand Duke from three years later - the only G&S financial failure and a real load of rubbish. The Grand Duke may be a soggy blob of a pointlessly plotted operetta, and I can't bear to listen to it, but it doesn't make me mad the way Utopia does. Almost every page has a lazy, possibly inadvertent quote from an earlier, better G&S opera, as if GIlbert thought "Oh, I said it so well in Mikado, I'll just use it again." Therefore Utopia has ladies who "each a little bit afraid is," an army which "in serried ranks assembles," Princess Zara flatteringly quotes the Major-General with "The west wind whispers when he woos the poplars," someone says "That is the idea I intended to convey," to which our director has added the word "Officially," for extra imagined yuks. The "everybody believes an affidavit" joke from Mikado which was repeated and developed in Ruddigore is heard here once again. King Paramount is in touch by mail with the Mikado of Japan, as he is an expert on appropriate punishments for particular crimes. Ha, ha. CAPTAIN COROCORAN appears. He now holds Sir Joseph's rank of K.C.B. (Knight Commander of the Bath) and sings about his naval expertise and how he never runs his ship ashore. The chorus is skeptical, leading to an abashed confession from Corcoran and a familiar refrain from "Pinafore."
There is a lot of this type of thing in Utopia and every one of them zaps you like the electric vibrator attached to the bottom of your movie theater seat which is activated during the "TINGLER HAS ESCAPED!!! SCREAM FOR YOUR LIVES!!!" scene in "The Tingler." There is also the matter of there being too many dud songs which go on for three verses at least. And way too many pages of dialogue. Used to be, in Pinafore and Pirates, you'd get a half page or occasionally a full page of quick exchanges before getting on to a song which more often than not moved the plot along. In Utopia time is spent talking and a song sung setting up a premise which is thereafter forgotten. A good deal of the boring banter in NYGASP's Utopia has been mercifully abbreviated and I promise you will not miss a thing. Unfortunately a good deal of talk is necessary to attempt to make understandable the incredibly lame plot - which I refuse to put any energy in to summarising. Go to Wikipedia, if you dare.
So here is who is playing whom, Sunday, November 21, 5PM at Symphony Space:
King Paramount – David Wannen
Scaphio – Stephen Quint
Phantis – Stephen O’Brien
Tarara – James Mills
Captain Fitzbattleaxe – Cameron Smith
Mr. Goldbury – Richard Holmes
Lord Dramaleigh – Michael Galante
Sir Bailey Barre – Michael Connolly
Mr. Blushington – David Macaluso
Captain Sir Edward Corcoran, K.C.B. – Quinto Ott
Princess Zara – Laurelyn Watson Chase
Princess Nekaya – Sarah Smith
Princess Kalyba – Amy Helfer
Lady Sophy – Erika Person
Sopranos: Rebecca O’Sullivan, Jenny Millsap (Melene), Lauren Wenegrat, Brooke Collins (Phylla), Susan Case
Altos: Angela Smith, Katie Hall (Salata), Vicky Devany, Sarah Best, Elizabeth Cernadas, Carol Davis, Andrea Stryker-Rodda
Tenors: Alan Hill, Tom Donelan, Chris-Ian Sanchez, James LaRosa, Daniel Lockwood
Basses: Louis Dall’Ava, Ted Bouton, Chris White, David Auxier, Lance Olds (Calynx), Andrew Taines
Parade of G&S Characters in costume: everyone in the ensemble is involved
One night only, and tickets are moving pretty briskly, considering it's the beginning of November. Get 'em online at the Symphony Space site or call their box office (212-864-5400) or "Join the NYGASP email list at NYGASP.org to RECEIVE A 10% DISCOUNT or call 212-769-1000 for more information." It is my personal considered opinion that you should seize this rare opportunity. Utopia, Limited won't be your new favorite, but can you be a G&S fan and miss it? So what if you look at your watch a couple of times, and the music and the words don't always fit together? This is a fully-staged production, costumes and all, girls in grass skirts. The orchestra will be onstage right, due to Symphony Space's new edict that the first couple rows of seats can't be removed to accommodate the orchestra, as it has for decades. But I don't imagine that will interfere with the debatable delights of Utopia, Limited.
By the way we're not at City Center this year due to rennovations.
We are also doing Yeomen of the Guard! Again one performance only, after a ton of work. December 5, 5PM, Symphony Space, etc. By the way, if you're dubious about Symphony Space because you haven't been to 95th and Broadway in years, you should dust off the chicken shit, spruce yourself up, and check it out. At least go online and look at the neighborhood. There are lots of restaurants, the subway station has been completely overhauled, there's a big Petco you can take the kids into in case you need to waste time, and the hordes of prostitutes who used to roam the area have either gone away or considerably upgraded their look.
The Yeomen cast...
Lieutenant – Keith Jurosko
Colonel Fairfax – Dan Greenwood
Sgt. Meryll – Richard Holmes
Leonard Meryll – Paul Betz
Jack Point – Stephen Quint
Wilfred – David Wannen
Elsie – Laurelyn Watson Chase
Phoebe – Erika Person
Dame Carruthers – Angela Smith
Sopranos: Sarah Hutchison (Kate), Rebecca O’Sullivan, Susan Case, Jenny Millsap, Lauren Wenegrat
Altos: Katie Hall, Monique Pelletier, Amy Helfer, Vicky Devany
Yeomen: Dan Lockwood (1st Yeoman), Tom Donelan, Alan Hill, Michael Galante, Louis Dall’Ava, Ted Bouton (2nd Yeoman), Quinto Ott, Men Townspeople: Michael Connolly (priest), James Mills, David Macaluso, Lance Olds, Bill Whitefield, Lucian Russell (headsman)