Iolanthe

Directed by Michael Blatt

Music Directed by Laura Ravotti

Since its sparkling 1882 premiere at London’s new Savoy Theatre (the first to be fitted with electric lights, making all manner of magical effects possible), the fantastical satire Iolanthe has delighted audiences with its clever combination of romance, humor, political satire, and the memorable musical numbers that made Gilbert and Sullivan household names. In the opera, the fairy Iolanthe has been banished from fairyland because she married a mortal; this forbidden by fairy law.  Her son, Strephon, is an Arcadian shepherd who wants to marry Phyllis, a Ward of Chancery.  All the members of the House of Peers also want to marry Phyllis.  When Phyllis sees Strephon hugging a young woman, she assumes the worst and sets off a climactic confrontation between the peers and the fairies.  The opera satirizes many aspects of British government, law and society.  The confrontation between the fairies and the peers is a version of one of Gilbert’s favorite themes: a tranquil civilization of women is disrupted by a male-dominated world through the discovery of mortal love.

Performance Schedule

Concerts:

Sunday, October 22 at 2:00pm: Finkelstein Library

Sunday, October 29 at 2:00pm: Suffern Library

Thursday, November 30 at 8:00pm: Five Star Residences of Teaneck*

* This performance is closed to the general public.

Full Performances:

Saturday, November 4 at 7:30pm: Ridgewood United Methodist Church
Sunday, November 5
 at 3:00pm: Ridgewood United Methodist Church

Sunday, November 12 at 3:00pm: Ridgewood United Methodist Church

Sunday, November 19 at 3:00pm: Heritage Village, CT

Sunday, November 26 at 3:00pm: Fair Lawn Community Center

Cast List

Lord Chancellor .......................................................................................................................................................................................................... Peter O’Malley

Lord Mountararat  ................................................................................................................................................................... Robert Prowse (November 4, 12, 26)

Frank Skokan (November 5, 19)

Lord Tolloller .......................................................................................................................................................................... Philip Sternenberg (November 4, 19)

Joe Rothstein (November 5, 12, 26)

Private Willis ................................................................................................................................................................................................................ John Holmboe

Strephon .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Malik Squire

Queen of the Fairies ...................................................................................................................................................................... Eva Giorgi (November 4, 12, 26)

Eileen Mager (November 5, 19)

Iolanthe ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Sarah Strickland

Celia ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Jamie Roitman

Leila ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Carol Ciancia

Felta ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Kathleen Meagher

Phyllis ........................................................................................................................................................................................ Veronica Shea (November 4, 12, 26)

Angela Scorese (November 5, 19)

Fairies ............................................................................................................................................................. Joan Barker, Rhonda Cooperstein, Barbara Domini,

Eileen Karlson, Jennifer Low, Maryanne Rauschenbach, Sarah Rauschenbach, Judith Weis

Peers ............................................................................................................ Larry Bogert, Bob Bromberg, Tim Domini, Stephen Kiss, John Ryle, Tim Schwartz

About Our Creative Team

Michael Blatt (director) is a New York City based director and actor. As a Director, Michael has worked in Bergen, Norway where he directed a new Norwegian translation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. Other directing credits include Curtains by Kander and Ebb at The Village Light Opera Group, NYC, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang and An Infinite Ache by David Schulner for the 2016 Actors Studio Repertory Season. Prom Queen the Musical (US Premiere) Guys and Dolls and Brigadoon at Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center. He also directed Urinetown and Seussical at The Theatre Arts Center. He directed a world premiere of Where a Certain Future by James Howard Carr at Northern Michigan University. Michael is a recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Director Award for his work in Wimberley at The Mid-town International Theatre Festival and a member of The Playwriting and Directing Workshop at The Actors Studio. Michael has an MFA in Directing from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and a BFA from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. He is an associate member of SDC.

 

Laura Ravotti (music director) has been performing professionally since 1986, starting in Nashville, TN, where she was rehearsal accompanist for the Nashville Ballet, staff accompanist at Vanderbilt University (Blair School of Music), and a substitute french horn player with the Nashville Symphony.   She then went on to perform in Branson, MO where she backed up such entertainers as Bob Hope, Wayne Newton, Andy Williams, Shari Lewis & Lambchop.  In 2000, Laura moved to New York City where she played on Broadway, Off-Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall, and performed with the NJ Pops and Greenwich Symphony.  She has been the Music Director at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Croton-on-Hudson, NY since 2005.  Ms. Ravotti has a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University, PA, and an MM from Bowling Green State University, OH.

About Our Cast & Crew

Carol Ciancia

Carol Ciancia (Leila) of Oakland, NJ is happy to be part of this fun show. She is a longtime member of the Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Co. where she has performed leading roles in all 13 operas. Some of her favorites include: Mabel in Pirates of Penzance; Josephine in HMS Pinafore and the title role in Princess Ida. She has also stage directed several of the operas. Other roles include Valencienne in The Merry Widow; Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls; Marian in The Music Man; Lilliane LaFleur in Nine; Mrs. Peacock in Clue, The Musical; Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music and Fraulein Scheider in Cabaret. She has also performed many times in children's theater. She enjoys traveling the world with her husband and fellow thespian, Peter O'Malley.

Robert Prowse

Robert Prowse (Lord Mountararat Nov. 4, 12 & 26) of Emerson, N.J. is excited to be making his debut with the Ridgewood Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.  By day, he is Coordinator of Choral Studies at New Jersey City University, where he directs the 80-voice Concert Chorale and the 20-voice Chamber Singers.  He also performs in opera, oratorio and recital throughout the New York metropolitan area.  His G & S roles with other companies include Bill Bobstay and Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore, the Usher and the Judge in Trial by Jury, and he has done music direction for The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and Trial by Jury.  Robert has sung over 40 operatic roles with Amore Opera, Regina Opera, Opera at Florham, Palisades Opera, New York Opera Forum and others.

Jamie Roitman

Jamie Roitman (Celia) is excited to make her Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company debut as Celia in Iolanthe! In 2018, Jamie will be singing Pamina in the Magic Flute and Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte. Other credits include the Queen of the Night in the Magic Flute, the Sandman in Hansel & Gretel, Ghita in the US premiere of La Zingara, Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and covering Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring. Love to Marc, Ryan, friends, and family.

Joe Rothstein

Joe Rothstein  (Lord Tolloller): Portraying his 14th principal role with the Co., Joe has also sung Major Murgatroyd in Patience, 1st AND 2nd Yeomen in Yeomen of the Guard (in the same production!), Dick Deadeye in Pinafore, Old Adam in Ruddigore, Samuel and the Sergeant of Police in Pirates (different productions), John Wellington Wells in Sorcerer, Pish-Tush in Mikado, The Prince of Monte Carlo in Grand Duke, Florian in Princess Ida, Don Alhambra in Gondoliers, and The Usher in Trial By Jury.  His other stage credits include Oliver! (Mr. Bumble), The Diary of Anne Frank (Mr. Dussel), Indians (Gunther Hookman/Uncas), Man of La Mancha (Dr. Carasco/The Duke), You Can't Take it with You (Ed Carmichael), The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd (Ensemble), and The Good Doctor (Ensemble).  A former member of the New Jersey Mental Health Players, Joe sings music sacred and profane.

Angela Scorese

Angela Scorese (Phyllis) recently received her Bachelor’s in Music from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she was an annual soloist with the Barnard-Columbia Chorus and a founding cast member of Columbia’s New Opera Workshop (NOW). Opera credits at Columbia include NOW’s repertory scenes (Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict, Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites, and Marie in La fille du régiment), Mercury (soprano octave) in John Eccles’s The Judgment of Paris (also with NOW), and Countess in Thea Musgrave’s The Voice of Ariadne with the Barnard-Columbia Chamber Choir. She first cut her teeth on Gilbert & Sullivan’s ditties as Mabel in a scene from Pirates of Penzance with NOW and as Blush-of-Morning in Utopia Opera’s The Rose of Persia. Throughout her vocal career path, Angela has always kept one foot firmly entrenched in the musical theater world in which she was raised, playing such roles as Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cinderella’s Mother in Into the Woods, and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (all with OnStage, Inc.). She is currently the assistant director/conductor of the children’s choir and soprano section leader at St. Gabriel’s Church in Saddle River. Much love and gratitude to her voice teacher Julia Radosz, her father (perennial on-demand accompanist and diction coach) along with the rest of her family, and the whole company for welcoming her with open arms for her first season. YouTube: Angela Scorese

Veronica Shea

Veronica Shea (Phyllis) is an actor and marketer with a wide variety of interests. By day, Veronica is the Marketing & Ticketing Assistant at Primary Stages, where she sometimes convinces people to let her act for our Einhorn School of Performing Arts. A graduate of Northwestern University, some of her favorite roles include Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest, Lydia in girl., and Sister James in Doubt, A Parable. Her passion is new works, and she debuted roles throughout New York City and Chicago – including at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the Cherry Lane Theatre. Relatively new in the world of opera, she is lucky enough to have performed Musetta (La Bohème), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), and the title role in Alcina. In addition, Veronica is the Founder and Executive Director of Eccentric Theater Company (ETC.), a collection of artists dedicated to pushing the boundaries of a standard theater company. Upcoming roles include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Louise in Gypsy. veronicashea.com

Frank Skokan

Frank Skokan (Mountararat) is grateful and happy join in the fun again. He was seen here 10 years ago as the Captain in "Pinafore" and the Consul in "Trial". In NJ he has performed with Light opera of NJ, Montclair Operetta, Trilogy Rep., Plays in the Park Somerset County, Stony Hill Players and as a guest artist at Morris and Sussex County Colleges. In NYC he performed at the Amato and Village Light operas and worked Off Broadway at The American Place Theatre and the NY Shakespeare festival Public Theatre, and he was a principle baritone with the preeminent New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players. Stock credits were at New London Barn Playhouse, Hershey Park and The Chappalear Drama Centre while attending Ohio Wesleyan. Some favorite roles are Pooh Bah "Mikado", Gomez "Addams Family", Claudius "Hamlet", Tevye "Fiddler", Kevin Rosario "In the Heights", Dolittle "My Fair Lady", Count Almaviva "Marrage of Figaro", and RP MacMurphy 'Cukoo's Nest" to name a few. His current weekly role is as a furniture sales consultant at Raymour and Flanigan in Fairfield NJ. He thanks everyone who made this production possible and especially his wife Adrienne and daughters Lindsay and Hannah for their love and support. Dedications to Mom on her 99th birthday and 8 week old (by performance time) grandson Yahuda.

Malik Squire

Malik Squire (Strephon) is a singer-songwriter and actor of the stage and screen with a wide range of talent.  He began his professional career as a teenager when he signed his first recording contract with Sonic Wave Intl in 2005 as lead singer of R&B group, O-ficial. He traveled the United States and released the album, "Resurrection," with the group. Malik also took a great interest in theater and took on leading roles in musicals like Beauty and the Beast (Beast), Hairspray (Seaweed), The Wizard of Oz (Tin Man), and Guys and Dolls (Nathan Detroit). 
    

After a great and successful run, the members of O-ficial decided to pursue other ambitions individually. Malik then joined the "Voices of Praise" at Walterboro Christian Center in Walterboro, SC and appeared weekly on their Sunday morning inspirational television show "The Best of LowCountry Jams." He studied vocal performance at the University of South Carolina and moved to NYC to further his performance career. Since in New York, Malik released a solo LP entitled "Palette" and has been involved in several wonderful theatrical and television productions including Law and Order:SVU, Madam SecretaryBlack Magic (for which the cast and writer won Best Overall Play in the NYC International Fringe Festival), and Langston Hughes' Black Nativity (performed at the Tony award winning Crossroads Theater). 

Philip Sternenberg

PHILIP STERNENBERG (Lord Tolloller) of Bergenfield has appeared in every full Ridgewood G&S production since joining us in 1976.  He earned the title of Lord High Substitute in his first season when he filled in as Sir Marmaduke in The Sorcerer on three hours’ notice and no rehearsal whatsoever.  Ridgewood G&S roles he has earned in his own right include the Duke of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers, Scaphio and Tarara in Utopia Limited, Grosvenor in Patience, the Lord Chancellor and Private Willis in Iolanthe, Sergeant Meryll and the Lieutenant in The Yeomen of the Guard, four different roles (most recently Florian) in Princess Ida, Sir Joseph and the Boatswain in HMS Pinafore, the Judge and Counsel in Trial by Jury, and Ko-Ko and Pish-Tush in The Mikado.  He also played Sir Joseph, Ko-Ko, the Duke of Plaza-Toro, and Major-General Stanley (The Pirates of Penzance) with the Iron Mountain Stage Company in Ringwood, and with Brundage Park Playhouse in Randolph he played Major-General Stanley and Pish-Tush.  He is currently our Business Manager and has previously served as President, Secretary, and Treasurer.   He has been a member of the G&S Society of New York since 1995 as an audience member, chorister and soloist in concert, and now Treasurer.  In October 2000 he appeared as a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and got to sing eight seconds of “My name is John Wellington Wells” (The Sorcerer) to Regis Philbin and a national TV audience.

Joan Barker

Joan Barker (Ensemble) has been a member of the RGSOC for 40 years.  Started in the chorus as an alto, as there was no openings for sopranos at the time of my auditioning for the company in '76.  During those years I was given the opportunity to perform most of the soprano leads in the G&S cannon and some contralto leads including Iolanthe and Lady Jane.  Also, my musical ability brought me to many secular and scared chorus throughout the trip-state area and in the performing of many of the classic musicals.  It all has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.

Bob Bromberg

Bob Bromberg (Ensemble) went to Baruch College, have an BA, and an MBA in business. In Theatron at college, acted directed and did publicity. Factory rep over 40 years selling musical instrument to retail music stores. Performed with local groups, Leave to Jane, Good News and Fiddler on the Roof. Directed fiddler. Member of Ridgewood Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Co over 30 years. Sing with the Bermuda club performers in the winter in Tamarac, Florida.  

Tim Domini

Tim Domini (Ensemble) has been singing since his mom put in the church choir in 3rd grade and he has never stopped being in one form of music or another. A member during the early 90s of RGSOC Tim stopped doing shows and went back to choirs until his son got his drivers licence and Tim has been back since 2008. Tim met his wife Barbara when performing in Mikado in 1985 in Connecticut. Tim has sung with, Wellesley Chorale, Troupers Light Opera, Rockland Choral Society, Woodcliff Lake Choraliers and Ridgewood, and the Reform Temple of Rockland Choir.  Tim is also a avid folk song singer and enthusiastic rather than talented guitar player.  

Eileen Karlson White

Eileen Karlson White (Ensemble) of Teaneck, N.J. joined Ridgewood Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company in 1984 and as played the contralto lead in 12 of the 13 operas (Trial by Jury doesn't have one!). She played several lead in the formative years of NYGASP and has been an alto soloist for performances at the G&S Society of New York.  She has sung with VLOG, the Bronx Opera Company, and Music a la Carte.  She played Lady Thiang in The King and I and Vera in Mame with the Community Theater at Tenafly.  She has performed the roles of the Duchess, Katisha,  Queen of the Fairies, Dame Carruthers, and Lady Jane with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Symphony; and Dame Carruthers, Dame Hannah, and Lady Sangazure with Chorus 802.  She appeared off-off-Broadway in "Where There's a Will" with Random Coconut Productions.

Steven Kiss

Steven Kiss (Ensemble) is a longtime resident of Rockland County, Steve has been a 30-year member of Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack, where he most recently appeared in Les Miserables. He has also sung in St Thomas Aquinas College's production of 9 to 5.  Since childhood, Steve has loved Gilbert & Sullivan, but this is the first production he has been in, for which he is proud and grateful.

Jennifer Low

Jennifer A. Low (Ensemble) recently retired from her professorship in the English Department at Florida Atlantic University.  She is the author of Manhood and the Duel: Masculinity in Early Modern Drama and Culture (Palgrave-Macmillan 2003) and Dramatic Spaces: Scenography and Spectatorial Perceptions (Routledge 2016), and co-editor, with Nova Myhill, of Imagining the Audience in Early Modern Drama, 1558-1642 (Palgrave-Macmillan 2011).  This is her third production with the Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

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