The Savoy Company's spring double-bill production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury and The Sorcerer will be performed will be fully-staged with a professional orchestra at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA in the Open Air Theatre on June 13th and 14th at 8:30 pm (rain dates: June 15th& 16th). The Open Air Theater, a two-tiered stage backed by a grassy hill and framed by columnar arborvitae, is a larger design of one found at Villa Gori, near Siena, Italy. Tickets are $30. Parking for all performances is free. Call 215-735-7161 or go to www.savoy.org to purchase tickets online or for more information. (Ticket price includes admission to Longwood Gardens for the entire day and re-admission on the same day.) These G& S musical comedies are perfect family entertainment!
Collegeville’s Beverly Redman, Artistic Director, makes her debut with The Savoy Company. Glenside’s Peter Hilliard, Music Director, returns for his second year and conducts the professional orchestra. Jenkintown’s Aaron Manthey serves as Producer and Wayne’s Geoffrey Berwind serves as Assistant Producer.
Trial By Jury is a story set to song about a jilted bride, a brash groom, and a breach of promise of marriage lawsuit in which the learned judge and legal system are the objects of lighthearted satire. The cast of Trial By Jury, drawn from Philadelphia and the suburbs includes: Ardmore's Lawrence Hicks as Usher, Lafayette Hill's Ross Druker as the Defendant (Edwin), Philadelphia's Gene Schneyer as the Counsel, Broomall’s Mary Punshon as the Plaintiff (Angelina), and Havertown’s Thomas Sweitzer as the Jury Foreman. The show features Conshohocken’s Jennifer Bibbs as the Other Woman and as Bridesmaids: Cinzia Lombardo (Clifton Heights), Melissa Burdick (Bryn Mawr), Portia Bosch (New Oxford), Mickey Hewes and Linda Marie Bell (both from Philadelphia). The Chorus – Jury and Spectators – brings the courtroom to life with their action and reaction to the trial of the 19th century.
The cast of Trial By Jury stars West Chester’s Samuel W. M. Griffin as The Learned Judge. It is interesting to note that 50 years ago, Samuel “Sam” W. M. Griffin got his start with Savoy in the 1964 production ofThe Sorcererwhen his father, F. Hastings Griffin, Jr., was cast as John Wellington Wells, “a dealer in magic and spells”Sam was cast in the special part of Mr. Wells’ Assistant and carried the Sorcerer’s bag of magic tricks and paraphernalia. Sam (officially a member of Savoy, Class of 1980) has played the comic baritone roles for Savoy from 1980 to 1995 and was brought out of retirement for the 2012 production of The Mikado to reprise his role as Pooh-Bah. He has directed five Savoy productions and has served as President. His interpretation of The Learned Judge garnered two awards for Best Character Actor at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festivals in Buxton, England.
The Sorcerer satirizes Victorian class distinction via the magical spell cast by the sorcerer and the love potion spiked-tea ingested by villagers who fall asleep and then awaken to fall in love with the wrong person. The cast of The Sorcerer includes: Berwyn’s Fred Dittmann as Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an elderly Baronet, Philadelphia’s Peter Webb as Alexis of the Grenadier Guards – his son, Wayne’s Fredrick D. Wampler as Dr. Daly, the Vicar, New Oxford’s Guillermo Bosch as the Notary, Wayne’s John Chesney as John Wellington Wells of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers, West Chester’s Martha Smylie as Lady Sangazure a Lady of Ancient Lineage, Philadelphia’s Meghan Curry as Aline, her daughter – bethrothed to Alexis, Broomall’s Mary Punshon as Mrs. Partlet, the Pew Opener, and Philadelphia’s Jennifer Chesterson as Constance, her daughter. The Chorus – the Villagers of Ploverleigh – is charming and merry inviting everyone into the enchantment surrounding the betrothal festivities.
Fredrick “Fred” D. Wampler joined Savoy fifty long years ago (Class of 1964) during the golden reign of maestro John Thoms. He has not only been an enthusiastic member of the chorus, as in tonight's Trial By Jury, but has also played innumerable roles including last season's Duke of Plaza Toro in The Gondoliers, King Gama and Cyril in Princess Ida, Phantis in Utopia, Limited, the learned Judge and Edwin The Defendant in Trial By Jury, Major Murgatroyd in Patience, plus other small parts.
Fred is joined onstage with his granddaughter Liesl Margrit Scherrer who is excited to make her Savoy debut in The Sorcerer as young Hercules. She is probably the first and maybe the only fourth generation Savoyard ever. (It will be a few more years until this fifth-grader will be 21 years old and eligible for Savoy membership.) Both her parents Jim and Eliza (Wampler) Scherrer, both grandparents Fredrick D. and Lura Ann (Coleman) Wampler, and both great-grandparents Wilfrid L. and Lura (Wilson) Coleman were all members of the Company in days of yore.
The 2014 production of Trial By Jury and The Sorcerer boasts one father and daughter team and three husband and wife teams. Paul Greenhalgh and Cathleen Greenhalgh are the father daughter team. Paul became a Savoyard in 1961. As a child Cathleen was featured in the 1980 production of Yeoman of the Guard when her father played the role of the Headsman. A spectator in Trial By Jury Peggy Mathieson Conver joined Savoy in 1979 before she was a Conver. She returns onstage and has recruited a new member -- her husband David Conver who portrays a Juryman. Both reside in Flourtown. Debra Appel, a spectator in Trial By Jury, became a Savoyard in 1990 and brought her husband Gene Schneyer (the Counsel) to Savoy in 1998. Both of Philadelphia now, they lived formerly in Cheltenham. Juryman Guillermo Bosch and Bridesmaid Portia Bosch (both from New Oxford) met at The Savoy Company, Classes of 1989 and 1992, respectively, and have been making beautiful music together ever since. Guillermo Bosch portrays the Notary and all of these family members portray Villagers in The Sorcerer.