Arts and Entertainment

A tradition three years in the making

The stage isn't cluttered with props and the actors are minimally costumed but the cast of "The Gondoliers" vows to fully perform the comical opera.

Readers Theatre Plus, The Peninsula Singers and The Museum and Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley are collaborating to present the third Gilbert & Sullivan offering July 23, 24, 30, 31 and Aug 1.

A joint production by Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert, "The Gondoliers" premiered at Savoy Theatre in London on Dec. 17, 1889. The successful opera ran for 554 performances - the fifth longest running piece of musical theater in history at that time - before closing June 30, 1891.

The bride of the heir of the Baratarian throne arrives in Venice to join her husband, but he can't be identified because he was entrusted to the care of a drunken gondolier who mixed up the prince with his own son. To complicate matters, the king of Barataria has just been killed. The two young gondoliers must rule the kingdom jointly until the nurse of the prince can be brought in to determine who is the rightful king. As if that's not enough, both "princes" recently have married local girls and the young queen is in love with an entirely different man.

"The Gondoliers" was the 12th comic opera collaboration between Gilbert and Sullivan and the duo's last great success.

Dewey Ehling, the conductor of The Peninsula Singers, is directing the musical portion of the reading and Carol Swarbrick Dries is in charge of the stage direction.

The cast includes several Sequim "regulars" to the entertainment stage: Aaron Barnes, Marilyn Carlson, Bonnie Christianson, Bud Davies, Brian Doig, Linda Grubb, Lee Harwell, Dorothy Hensey, Barbara Hughes, Paul Martin, Ric Munhall, Byron Nelson, Milton Patrie, Trent Pomeroy, Karen Pritchard and Jessica Reid.

The "orchestra" is Pat Marcy.

"This is the first time I've ever done 'Gondoliers' but I think it ranks with the best musical literature I've ever heard," Ehling said. "It's exciting and very descriptive music."

Ehling described the plot of the musical as "funny and clever" and "a good match with the music."

Gilbert & Sullivan

Who: Readers Theatre Plus, The Peninsula Singers and The Museum and Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley

What: "The Gondoliers"

When: 7:30 p.m. July 23, 24, 30 and 31, with additional matinee performances 2 p.m. July 25 and Aug. 1

Where: The Old Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road, Sequim

Tickets: $15 or two for $25 if purchased in advance. Available at Pacific Mist Books in Sequim and The Odyssey Book Store in Port Angeles

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