Tickets Now On Sale For Gilbert & Sullivan Society Of Houston's RUDDIGORE At Cullen Performance Hall

Two performances are set for Saturday evenings (July 20 and July 27 at 7 p.m.), while two are Sunday matinees (July 21 and July 28 at 2:30 p.m.).

By: Jun. 03, 2024
Tickets Now On Sale For Gilbert & Sullivan Society Of Houston's RUDDIGORE At Cullen Performance Hall
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Tickets to Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston's July production of Ruddigore (or The Witch's Curse) at Cullen Performance Hall at the University of Houston are now on sale to the public. Two performances are set for Saturday evenings (July 20 and July 27 at 7 p.m.), while two are Sunday matinees (July 21 and July 28 at 2:30 p.m.).

Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston, the city's longest-running opera company, has presented several Gilbert and Sullivan works over the years, including HMS Pinafore, Princess Ida, The Mikado, The Yeomen of the Guard, and The Pirates of Penzance, with Ruddigore's last run in 2007.

Serving as stage director for Ruddigore is opera veteran Buck Ross, who is Professor Emeritus and founder and former director of the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston. Noted conductor Eiki Isomura, who leads Houston's Opera in the Heights, takes the reins for the second year as music director. Joseph Rawley once again returns as artistic director/chorus master.

Ross and Isomura are certain to bring a unique take on the operetta, which is not as well-known as many of the other Gilbert & Sullivan productions (The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado), but has much to offer to the eyes and ears of audience members. Once again, noted set designer Jodi Bobrovsky will display her creativity as audiences get to see stunning digital scenery, evoking ghosts and a Halloween mood.

“I'm excited to work with the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston to acquaint audiences with this rarely produced operetta, which I would characterize as ‘Jane Austen meets Young Frankenstein,'” says Ross. “The gothic elements, infused with a sense of humor, will bring a level of madness in the best possible way. The costumes are Regency era, the score is first class and for the first time the company will experiment with digital scenery. I predict audiences of all ages will be enamored of this fun and spooky period piece. ”

“Ruddigore is an ensemble tour de force with many fun character roles,” continues Ross. “The stage at historic Cullen Performance Hall will come alive with a plethora of large personalities, singing, dancing and acting in this send-up of Victorian melodrama. Projected surtitles will ensure that the audience easily follows the fast pace of the operetta.”

Ross went on to say that he considers his involvement akin to “homecoming week.” “During my UH tenure with Moores, I worked closely with many of the cast members, including Richard Paul Fink (Sir Roderic Murgatroyd), Wes Landry (Robin), Lisa Borik Vickers (Rose), Thomas O ‘Neill (Richard) and Johnny Salvesen (Adam),” says Ross. “We have a wealth of operatic talent in Houston, and Ruddigore is such a great vehicle to showcase that talent with infectious music that allows the singers to exercise their vocal gifts.”

“I have a lot of affection for Ruddigore with its wealth of great roles and a score featuring some of the best showstoppers in all of G&S,” says Isomura. “The spooky music of the ancestors, especially the aria 'When the night wind howls,' is powerfully evocative. And of course, G&S is known and loved for rapid-fire patter songs, and Ruddigore features a patter trio 'My eyes are fully open' that is like the Major General's (The Pirates of Penzance) song times three.

“On a personal note, Ruddigore was my first-ever experience with opera in any form,” continues Isomura. “I played one of the ancestor ghosts in a junior production in the sixth grade. It's just one testament to Gilbert and Sullivan's gifts that 30 years later, it's come back to me mostly memorized and feeling every bit as fresh as it did then.”

The Plot

A satirical take on the Victorian melodrama genre, Ruddigore's zany plot has it all--ghosts, witches, curses, disguises, and reluctantly wicked villains who try to make off with the fair maiden. All of the Baronets of Ruddigore are under a curse enacted by a witch long ago--each of the successive Baronets must commit some kind of a crime every single day, or else they will die in agony.

Robin Oakapple has been living as a farmer for years, working up the courage to ask the beautiful village maiden Rose Maybud for her hand. However, he is keeping a secret--he is actually Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, the Baronet of Ruddigore who has been hiding in disguise while his younger brother Despard assumed the title--and the curse.

Betrayed by his foster-brother Richard, Robin is discovered and must now commit a crime every day in order to appease the curse--and the ghosts of all his ancestors' past, who are unhappy with his attempt to shirk his title. Robin must somehow find a way to lead the honest life he loves--but how? Audiences will find out when they come to see Ruddigore.

The Cast

Cast members include Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd - Wes Landry; Richard Dauntless - Thomas O'Neill; Sir Despard Murgatroyd - Dennis Arrowsmith; Old Adam Goodheart - Johnny Salvesen; Rose Maybud - Lisa Borik Vickers; Mad Margaret - Meaghan Heath; Dame Hannah - Jana Ellsworth;  Zorah - Riley Vagis; Ruth - Chloe Owens; and Sir Roderic Murgatroyd - Richard Paul Fink.

The Women's Chorus members are Justine Ash, Tarryn Ballard, Giselle Bautista, Tiffany Dawkins, Melisa Gultan, Emma Hayden, Lena Lowe, Samantha Taylor and Whitney Wells.

The Men's Chorus includes Jadon Campos, Zaccai Campos, Gage Campos, Geoff Copper, Trey Fitzgerald, Zachary Frank, Joe Key, Mike McCarver, Benjamin Rorabaugh, Joe White and Martin Wolff.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.hgns.org/tickets. Prices range from $49 to $94, plus handling fees. Be sure and purchase early to get the best seats.




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