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Sitzprobe!

Written by Michaela Kane

Here we arrrrrr a mere week from Load-In for The Pirates of Penzance! This
weekend we had one of my favorite events of G&S: Sitzprobe! Where the cast and
orchestra come together for the first time to sing through the entirety of the
semester’s operetta. From the Overture to the Finale, we all had a great time singing
through classics such as “Modern Major General” and “With Cat-Like Tread.” Thanks
to our lovely music director, Mateo Lincoln ’19, it was all fun and matter patters!
The evening also featured our multi-talented board members Aaron Slipper ’18 and
Arianna Paz ’19, who continue to wow us with their musical ability. Not to mention,
the lovely co-producer and part-time flutist in the orchestra, Richard Tong ’19!
Our production is truly beginning to make waves as we get ever closer to opening
night, so be sure to not mistakenly wait leap years to get your tickets for The Pirates
of Penzance!

Click here for our show dates. We can’t wait to cast off with all of you onboard!

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Pour, O Pour the Pirate Sherry!

The summer heat finally seems to be on its way out (knock on wood), the leaves are beginning to turn golden-orange, and another fall HRG&SP production has begun! Our designers are hard at work creating costumes and a set, our musicians are busily learning their parts, and the production staff is spreading the word. This week though, the Players took a break from rehearsals and build sessions to celebrate our annual Wine and Cheese event, bringing together casts and crews from The Mikado, The Sorcerer, and this fall’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. Wine and cheese was enjoyed, esoteric puns made (and enjoyed by some, I guess), and old friends reunited after a summer away.

The party is over, but we’re all enjoying everything the fall brings—new members into the G&S family, all the challenges of mounting the most famous of Gilbert & Sullivan’s collaborations, and the anticipation of sharing that project with you.

Victorian Piety and Modern Piracy

Written by Ned Sanger

Virginia Woolf was born in the Victorian era and lived to tell the tale of it in her novel Orlando. She makes clear what habits and tastes were typical of the artistic upper class in that swampy age: muffins and crumpets, loud harrumphing, restrained eructing, small trotting dogs, tight trousers warring against turgid bellies, and sententious books written in swollen sentences. Nature itself had an allergic reaction. We’re told that soon after King Edward succeeded Queen Victoria, a huge fog over Britain finally dispersed, and the sky “was no longer so thick, so watery, so prismatic.”

That was also the era Gilbert and Sullivan had to live through. Obviously Orlando caricatures it, but the description is on the mark if we take just Queen Victoria’s attitudes, particularly towards Arthur Sullivan. She was a great admirer of his musical talent and a thorough scorner of his comic talent; the two pieces composed by him in which she found most pleasure were a Christian hymn and a lament for his deceased brother; she repeatedly told him that he was squandering his talent by writing comic operettas; when he finally finished a serious opera, she claimed with pride that the great work was “partly owing to her own instigation”; and perhaps this is apocryphal, but apparently after he played for her a song from Pinafore, she raised the hair under his top-hat by hissing “We are not amused.”

Nothing would have displeased rigid Victorians and their queen more than the production of The Pirates of Penzance which HRG&SP is now preparing—i.e., nothing will please the rest of us more. Our stage director Patrick Cressler, music director Mateo Lincoln, and technical director Katie Polik are working with a cast and staff of some of Harvard’s most skilled artists and technicians, while Pirates itself is G&S at their very best: the show redeems not only the whole Victorian era, but even, by means of a clever twist in its final minutes, the name Queen Victoria itself.

Come see it and witness that miracle! Information about dates and tickets is on our “Happening Now” page.

“Opening”; or, The Fire-Curtain Variety Show

Friends, believe me, if you were not here for our Friday show (or rather, lack of show), you missed out on a truly surreal and (in retrospect) kind of funny situation. For the senior board members of HRG&SP, it certainly made for an eventful final opening night! Allegra Caldera ’17 recounts the tale.


Written by Allegra Caldera

Last Friday, well-dressed audience members made their way across Radcliffe Yard for the first night of The Sorcerer. The cast chatted and applied makeup downstairs in the dressing rooms, and orchestra members warmed up with exercises and scales. Little did they know what the old (dare I say haunted?) Agassiz Theater had in store… DISASTER. Kind of. Disaster turned inspiration? Disast-piration?

Continue reading ““Opening”; or, The Fire-Curtain Variety Show”

Did Gilbert and Sullivan Wear Silk Stockings?

Happy Ides of March! Yesterday, Brad A. Latilla-Campbell ’16 notified me of yet another G&S reference he’d found in The West Wing. Clearly, Aaron Sorkin is a fellow Savoyard. Coincidentally, our blog post this week also features a Gilbert & Sullivan cultural reference, albeit of a … vastly different medium.


Written by Ned Sanger

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Harper’s Bazaar c. 1900

Gilbert and Sullivan show their plump faces in all sorts of places. I recently discovered one of the most absurd: a sordid passage in Chapter 5 of Ulysses. It begins when Mr. Leopold Bloom, the hero of the book and a cuckold, catches sight of a lady across the street. She is about to step into a cab, and he knows that as she does she’ll have to lift her dress slightly, which will briefly expose her silk stockings, as well as a slice of upper calf, or so he hopes. Continue reading “Did Gilbert and Sullivan Wear Silk Stockings?”

A Tale of Two Blog Posts

This week brings TWO mini blog posts with production updates.

Written by Alex Raun, February 22, 2017

 Last Friday, the lumber came in for the Sorcerer set, and the lighting design has been finalized! With build and lights underway now, be looking out for potential sneak peaks at the set in the coming weeks. Additionally, the Sorcerer cast and staff have been busy at rehearsals! Check out this video from last week’s orchestra rehearsal. While Johnnie conducts, Yuki Koide ‘17 is working on the challenging skill of playing her instrument while spinning in an office chair! Continue reading “A Tale of Two Blog Posts”

A Sorcerific Singthrough!

Written by Peryn Reeves-Darby

Last Saturday, the cast and a few excited staff members all made their way through the slush and the wind to the very first rehearsal of the semester. One by one we filed in. Upperclassman rushed to say “hello” to old friends from past shows, while the nervous freshmen eagerly introduced themselves, excited to make new friends. Continue reading “A Sorcerific Singthrough!”