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Interview: Benjamin Krumreig of INNOCENT MERRIMENT; OR AN EVENING WITH GILBERT AND SULLIVAN! at Gamut Theatre

Enjoy this musical revue through November 27th!

Interview: Benjamin Krumreig of INNOCENT MERRIMENT; OR AN EVENING WITH GILBERT AND SULLIVAN! at Gamut Theatre

For the first time, Gamut Theatre is presenting a musical revue for audiences to enjoy this fall. Featuring the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, this show, Innocent Merriment; or, An Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan!, will explore not only their musical prowess, but also their comedic flair, highlighting many of their well-known shows as well as some that may be new to audiences. Director Benjamin Krumreig recently took a few moments to share his excitement for this project with us.

BWW: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Krumreig: I've lived in the Harrisburg area for a couple years. I moved here in the midst of the pandemic. In terms of my educational background in theatre and music, I have a B.A. and a Masters in Opera performance. That's where I started. In 2012, I started working over the summers for the Ohio Light Opera, which is where my love for operetta, especially Gilbert and Sullivan, came from, and it's where I got my training. After moving to Harrisburg, I started last year with Gamut as an actor in Alice in Wonderland, and now I'm part of the core company as their PR manager.

BWW: Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the show itself.

Krumreig: This production is a musical revue. There isn't a single storyline that carries throughout the show. A few years ago, Gamut planned to do The Pirates Penzance, and, due to a number of factors, it didn't happen. Gamut doesn't usually do musical productions, so this would have been something new to Gamut. When I heard about that, I thought, well, this is something I can help with. Rather than trying to jump in with a full production right away, I recommended a musical revue. Gilbert and Sullivan have 14 titles together, and for this show we have selections from 11 of those 14 shows. There is something that is a little different about our revue. Many times, in a musical revue someone will come out and introduce the songs. This is not like that. What we've done is to take chunks from the various shows to perform. For example, for H.M.S. Pinafore, we took 3-4 musical numbers along with dialogue in between, and formed a vignette of the show. This way, the audience can understand what's going on without have the entire story. This production consists of a cast of 13 singing actors who share the load. Everyone is featured in some way, and they all sing in the ensemble numbers. It's definitely an ensemble piece.

Interview: Benjamin Krumreig of INNOCENT MERRIMENT; OR AN EVENING WITH GILBERT AND SULLIVAN! at Gamut Theatre BWW: What is your favorite thing about this show?

Krumreig: Of course, one of my favorite things is that it's Gilbert and Sullivan-I love Gilbert and Sullivan. Aside from that, though, this is my first time directing something of this large scale. It is definitely a labor of love, as I've been director, choreographer, and music coach. It's been very exciting for me. I also love this cast. Most of the cast is new to Gamut's stage, so regular audience members will see some new folks. It has been really exciting to expose these actors to Gamut for the first time and vice versa.

BWW: What was the most challenging thing about directing this show?

Krumreig: For me I think the most challenging thing was learning how to schedule my time properly with a production this big where I was doing multiple things. There are 28 musical numbers in the show, so mapping out how to get everything done on time was challenging. With this production we started on Sept 1st and just focused for the first month on musical coaching. It was important to me that the singing and music are done extremely well. There's a lot of dancing and movement and comedy, of course, so I think everyone will be in for a good time.

BWW: What do you think audiences will love the most about this show?

Krumreig: There are a lot of really enjoyable elements in this show, but I think they'll definitely enjoy the comedy. Gilbert and Sullivan is not performed as much in this area, so it was important for me in this production to expose audiences to all of their great content in a way that is fun rather than intimidating. There definitely will be musical numbers that they recognize but perhaps didn't know came from Gilbert and Sullivan, because so much of their music is found in the everyday world. The whole production is silly fun, and there's so much going on in the world that I hope people will be able to come and just enjoy themselves.

BWW: Gilbert and Sullivan are probably most well-known for H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. If you could recommend any Gilbert and Sullivan opera to someone unfamiliar with their work, which would you recommend and why?

Krumreig: Probably Pirates-it's a great starter. There are a lot of conventions that Gilbert and Sullivan use in all of their shows, and The Pirates of Penzance probably has the most of those. The story is particularly easy to follow and there are a lot of musical numbers that people likely have heard before without realizing where they originally came from.

BWW: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

Krumreig: With opera and operetta, sometimes audiences feel intimidated or afraid to goInterview: Benjamin Krumreig of INNOCENT MERRIMENT; OR AN EVENING WITH GILBERT AND SULLIVAN! at Gamut Theatre see it. Coming to see a light opera or operetta is just like going to any show. You'll enjoy yourself, hear great music, enjoy great comedy and laugh. It's much more accessible that people think it is. I promise you'll have a good time if you come! Also, on opening night we will have a champagne toast after the show, and Nov. 18th is Gilbert's birthday so you can be sure there will be a little celebration for that after the show as well.

Get your tickets today for a fun evening of music and comedy now through November 27th at Gamut Theatre. Visit www.gamuttheatre.org for more information!


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From This Author - Andrea Stephenson

Andrea Stephenson’s love of music and theatre was nurtured by her parents. She started performing as a singer and actor in elementary school, and her passion for the performing arts grew thro... (read more about this author)


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