Starlight Theatre Co. showcases Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers

The Gondoliers
The Gondoliers stars Quinton Kriner as Giuseppe Palmieri, Madison Estrada as Tessa, Bridget Andersen as Gianetta, and Luke Savage as Marco Palmieri. Courtesy photo.
Travel to Venice and meet the jolly gondoliers and the ladies who love them in Gilbert and Sullivan’s memorable The Gondoliers. The Starlight Theatre Co. of Las Cruces brings to the stage a production that sparkles with some of Sullivan’s finest orchestrations, romance, comedy, and more comedy.

True to Gilbert and Sullivan style, the plot takes twists and turns that keep the audience guessing. Casilda was married when a baby to the future king of Barataria, but the crown prince was stolen in infancy and was raised by a gondolier who, due to his taste for drink, could never distinguish this prince from his own son. It takes the prince’s nursemaid to come into town to identify the future king. Meanwhile, Casilda is in love with someone else, and the two gondoliers in question, not knowing that one was married as a baby, have just married two lovely ladies in Venice.

Starlight’s director, Dr. Ginger Scarbrough Andersen describes her excitement about this production, “The Gondoliers is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s finest musical comedies. I fell in love with the music and the characters the first time I saw the show. The Las Cruces community is getting very excited about this upcoming production! The characters are engaging and the music will immediately win its way into your heart, if it hasn’t already.”

This year’s production of The Gondoliers is sure to be one of Starlight’s finest, as they welcome a wealth of Las Cruces talent to their staff: director Ginger Scarbrough Andersen, music director Pamela Quiñones, and set designer Doug Roby.

About The Gondoliers
First performed in London in 1889, The Gondoliers, or, The King of Barataria, was the twelfth opera written together by Gilbert and Sullivan. Opening on December 7, 1889 at the Savoy Theatre, The Gondoliers ran for 554 performances, and was the last of the G&S operas that would achieve wide popularity. Its lilting score has, perhaps, the most sparkling and tuneful music of them all and calls, perhaps, for the most dancing.

Gilbert returns, in this opera, to satire of snobbery regarding class distinctions and begins his fascination with the “stock company act” using the absurd convergence of people becoming legal entities. Setting his work comfortably far away from mother England, Gilbert is emboldened to level somewhat harsh criticism on the noble class, and the institution of the monarchy itself.

About Starlight Theatre Co. of Las Cruces
The Starlight Theatre Company of Las Cruces, directed by Dr. Ginger Scarbrough Andersen, is well known in the Las Cruces area for their high-quality productions of theatre classics.

Andersen says, “Our singer/actors range in age this year from 12 to 20. In spite of the young ages of the cast, many say that Starlight’s Productions are among the finest quality in town. I try to describe the level of quality, but people can’t fathom it, until they experience it.”

Starlight regularly produces shows written by Gilbert & Sullivan and Shakespeare. These time-tested classics represent some of the greatest works of theatre, and are a fabulous way to introduce the community to great literature.

Says Andersen, “We have developed an audience base that eagerly awaits each new roduction, and we love to share these astoundingly high quality musicals with the community. Music is an integral part of everything we do. Our audiences are thrilled at the quality of the singing, acting, choreography, costuming, props, set design—every detail is important to a great production, and every detail is important to us.”

Starlight’s productions are sometimes modified for child actors and modern audiences by reducing the runtime, but they maintain the rich dialogue and most of the music from the original productions. Since all onstage roles are played by youth, this provides a wonderful way to promote literacy skills for the actors and to enrich the community.

Performances are Friday, July 14, 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 15, 1 p.m.; Saturday, July 15, 7 p.m.; Friday, July 2, 10:30 a.m. (Children’s matinee); Friday, July 21, 7 p.m.; and Saturday, July 22, at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $5 for students and children, $10 for adults. Group rates are also available. Adults $8/ticket for groups of 10 or more. Schools and day cares may contact the media coordinators to arrange a special group rate for children at the special children’s matinee. All performances will be at the Atkinson Recital Hall at New Mexico State University Music Center.