NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players' 2015-16 Season to Include THE MIKADO, PRINCESS IDA & More
The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, America's preeminent professional Gilbert & Sullivan repertory company, adds another welcome dose of joyous "topsy-turvy" satire to the 2015-16 New York theatrical scene when it kicks off its 41st season November 7 with a roster of G &S favorites including the political fairytale Iolanthe (November 7 & 8), a holiday run of the much loved The Mikado (December 26 - January 2, 2016); and a limited spring run of the chauvinist spoof Princess Ida (May 21 & 22, 2016) --- all taking place at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place). Single Tickets go on sale August 17! In addition to the mainstage season, the season will also feature the company's Bistro Award winning production, where G&S meets Broadway, entitled I've Got a Little TWIST! (December 1) at the cabaret hotspot, "Broadway's living room," 54 Below - tickets on sale now!Under the dynamic leadership of Artistic Director Albert Bergeret, The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players has been hailed as "the leading custodian of the G&S classics" by New York magazine and has created its own special niche in the cultural mosaic of New York City and the nation. Since its founding in 1974, the company has presented over 2,000 performances of the G&S masterpieces throughout the United States, Canada and England, captivating audiences of all ages. NYGASP's productions are charged with engaging contemporary entertainment values while retaining respect for the famous duo's comedic and musical genius. The burning question in Iolanthe, or The Peer and the Peri is, can a man who is half a fairy find happiness in a world where to marry a mortal is a capital crime? No this is not an indictment of gay marriage or the death penalty but a fanciful Victorian tale about a band of spritely females with "fairy brains" who "never grow old", the stodgy male House of Peers who rejoice that they "are persons of no capacity whatever", and confused "half a fairy" Strephon - the fellow who is literally caught in the middle. Could anyone wonder that this gentleman's lady friend wants to know "which half"? Gilbert's commentary on the human condition was never pithier while Sullivan's effervescent score evokes the conflict between the balletic fairies and the martial peers as well as the more serious motherly love of the title character. Last, but not least, Iolanthe also features the Lord Chancellor - an elderly gentlemen whose conflicting emotions as widower, would be lover, legal guardian, father figure, judge, and legislator play out in the course of three classic patter songs, including his delightfully convoluted tongue twister known as the "Nightmare Song". When the Fairy Queen's best friend, Iolanthe, returns to fairyland after a 25 year banishment for having married a mortal, she tells her fairy sisters that she has a son, Strephon, a man who has the mixed blessing of being half a fairy. When Strephon is thwarted in his attempts to marry the beautiful Phyllis by a group of stodgy politicians from the House of Lords and a deliciously conflicted Lord Chancellor, he calls upon the supernatural powers of his newly discovered "aunts". The ensuing impasse results in a riotous battle of the sexes which cannot be resolved until Iolanthe, following her motherly instincts, puts her life on the line to reveal that the Lord Chancellor is her husband and Strephon's father. But all fairy tales have happy endings, so the fairy law is amended, allowing everyone to get married and perhaps change their minds afterwards. As Strephon says, "That's the usual course!" In The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu, where flirting is illegal, the location is a fictitious Japanese town full of colorful characters - 3 little maids from school, a wandering minstrel, a hilariously corrupt public official, and a Lord High Executioner who may have a list of potential victims but is too tenderhearted to actually perform his duties. Beautiful school girl Yum-Yum loves the romantic minstrel Nanki-Poo but is engaged to Ko-Ko the executioner. This romantic triangle takes the usual course of thwarted romance, until the arrival first of the fearsome Katisha, claiming Nanki-Poo as her "perjured lover," and later of the emperor, or Mikado, himself - with his own list of punishments to fit the crime. In order to resolve the ensuing complications, Ko-Ko must use his wits to convince the most unattractive Katisha to marry him - in record time. That done, all other potentially dangerous circumstances are settled by the Mikado's all encompassing pronouncement "nothing could possibly be more satisfactory." Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant is the classic battle of the sexes, which nobody can win but where true love triumphs! A witty and rousing send up of extremism on both sides, with a crusty curmudgeon, dashing young courtiers, 3 incredibly dumb warriors, and a determined feminist - with just a touch of sentiment and pathos. The women's lib movement started earlier than you might think. In order to promote peace between their warring countries, two kings, the none too bright male chauvinist Hildebrand and the viciously twisted cripple Gama, married their infant son and daughter twenty years ago. Prince Hilarion has grown into a determined romantic, while Princess Ida has established a woman's university where no men are permitted and the virtues of an all female society are promoted. Hilarion and two male friends, each in pursuit of true love, disguise themselves as girls in order to gain admission to the school. The sincerity of the prince's affection for the princess initially holds no sway when their true gender is discovered, but Ida relents when her three hulking warrior brothers lose a match fight to the three courtly gentlemen in women's garb. She reluctantly admits that, after all, the posterity of her all female society can only be secured with the assistance of men. Each season the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players offers several special family friendly events that everyone can enjoy! Family Overture Series (1:45pm in the theater, prior to select Sunday matinees) --- Families are invited to a free musical introduction and plot summary made entertaining and informative for the entire family. Savoy Dialogue (following the Sat., Dec. 26th - 7:30pm performance of The Mikado) --- Enjoy a dazzling discourse about all matters G&S with members of the NYGASP cast and artistic staff after the show. Bring Your Grandparents Day (December 30) --- Respect your favorite elders with a pre-show Family Overture (1:45pm in the theater) and a backstage tour featuring the character of your choice following the performance! New Year's Eve Gala (December 31) --- G&S's most beloved score and a little bubbly at intermission is just the beginning. An exclusive invitation to the cast party afterwards completes the elegant affair. Performance times for The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players' 2015-16 Season at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place) are as follows: Iolanthe: Saturday, November 7 (2PM); Saturday, November 7 (7:30PM); Sunday, November 8 (3PM; Family Overture @ 1:45PM). The Mikado: Saturday, December 26 (2PM); Saturday, December 26 (7:30PM); Sunday, December 27 (3PM; Family Overture @ 1:45PM); Wednesday, December 30 (3PM; Family Overture @ 1:45PM) --- Bring your Grandparents Day!; Thursday, December 31 (7:30PM) --- New Year's Eve Gala!; Saturday, January 2, 2016 (2PM). Princess Ida: Saturday, May 21, 2016 (2PM); Saturday, May 21, 2016 (7:30PM); Sunday, May 22, 2016 (3PM; Family Overture @ 1:45pm). Tickets go on sale August 17. Discount subscriptions are available by calling (212) 769-1000. To order regular tickets by phone call NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts Box office at 212-998-4941 or visit www.nygasp.org. Special Added Attraction Mark your calendar for the one-night only event: I've Got A Little TWIST!: Gilbert & Sullivan Meets Broadway on Tuesday, December 1 (9:30PM) at 54 Below! It's where The Mikado meets The Music Man, where the HMS Pinafore sets sail for Brigadoon, and where The Pirates of Penzance take shore leave On the Town. It's I've Got a Little TWIST!, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players' hit production that highlights the timeless legacy of Gilbert & Sullivan in music theatre - showing off how much fun, fresh, and full-of-life Gilbert & Sullivan can be for a modern audience. The show incorporates both Gilbert & Sullivan favorites performed with "little twists" and clever mash ups of more contemporary musical theatre works combined with G&S classics. Tickets for I've Got A Little TWIST! at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Tuesday, December 1st at 9:30PM are $30-$40 cover charge, plus a $25 food & beverage minimum. Premium Seating is $65. Doors Open at 8:45pm. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://54below.com/artist/ive-got-a-little-twist-modern-gilbert-sullivan/ The NYGASP 2015-16 season is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Photo by William Reynolds