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Sitzprobe is in the air!

Hello friends!

It’s getting colder and windier here in Cambridge, so I hope everyone is enjoying the transition into fall. Harvard is never quite so beautiful as it is in the fall. This semester, I am extremely excited to be orchestra producing HMS Pinafore. I am usually in the cast of HRG&SP shows, but I am glad to have this opportunity to learn about another part of the process. 

The first orchestra rehearsal was a bit sparse, but even though we were missing a few instruments, the first few notes of the overture blew me away. I recognized the jaunty tune and knew that we were going to have a good show. As the orchestra has grown week to week, I can do nothing but smile. 

Last weekend, we had our Sitzprobe where the cast and orchestra performed together for the first time. It was elysian. Mary Reynolds (Tufts ‘21) has done such a good job as music director! The rehearsal went smoothly and we got through the whole show with minimal hiccups. Janiah Lockett ‘20 (the stage director), Sam Guillemette ‘20 (Cast Producer), and I were bobbing our heads, tapping our feet, and humming along to the famous and unforgettable tunes of this classic operetta. 

I hope that you all can come to see our show!

HMS Pinafore runs in the historic Agassiz theater from November 8th through November 17th. Tickets are available at the Harvard Box Office website. 
https://www.boxoffice.harvard.edu

Thanks again for your support of HRG&SP and our shows!

Ross Simmons ‘21
HRG&SP Historian
HMS Pinafore Orchestra Producer

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Announcing H.M.S. Pinafore!

As the semester kicks into gear and G&S events begin to start, the rest of the board and I have been busy preparing for this semester, and we are thrilled to announce this semester’s show: a traditional staging of HMS Pinafore! We are excited to have Pinafore set in the 1800s on a British ship and are looking forward to the captain and his daughter, sailors, the bumboat woman, the monarch of the sea, sisters, cousins, and aunts all gracing the stage of the Agassiz theatre once again.

We have a fabulous crew, cast, and orchestra made of many inveterate and quite a few new G&S players, and I can’t wait to see all of their creativity, visions, and talents come to life. The first cast and orchestra rehearsals and the first few production meetings have happened and are off to a great start, and we are looking forward to “sailing the ocean blue” with you in the Agassiz Theatre in November- “in the meantime, farewell!”

Spring Updates!

Hello Friends!

Non-G&S show

The HRG&SP would like to hear your thoughts about an idea we’ve had. We are considering producing a non-G&S show in Spring 2020. The kind of show we have in mind is a musical from the “Golden Age of Broadway” era, shows like My Fair Lady, The Music Man, The Man of La Mancha, Kiss me Kate, etc.

We think that producing a non-G&S show could bring in a wider swath of the Harvard Community, increase student interest in our organization, and build a larger community that can then make better G&S shows in following semesters.

It’s a risk we’re willing to take if our patron base is on board. We will not make this leap if our patron base doesn’t think it is a good idea.

To give us your input, please fill out this form.

New Board member and Visitas Fair

In other news, we would like to introduce you all to the newest member of the HRG&SP Board, Edward J. Athaide ’22. We inducted him a couple of weeks ago, and he has been doing a great job ever since. He plays the violin and he orchestra managed The Gondoliers! Give him a big Schwenck welcome!

One of Edward’s first duties was to greet admitted students at the Visitas activities fair and convince them that the HRG&SP is the organization for them. Below is a photo of this auspicious occasion.

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A Magic Lozenge?

Even W.S. Gilbert fought against one of many writers’ most dreaded adversaries: writer’s block. Following the conclusion of Princess Ida at the Savoy Theatre, Gilbert and Sullivan were at a standstill with regards to what form their next operetta should take. It was at this point, Gilbert suggested a plot regarding a “magic lozenge” that would introduce conflict into the plot. Sullivan was not keen on this idea, calling the idea lacking in “human interest and probability”, and it was also reminiscent of one of their first productions The Sorcerer where everyone falls in love with the wrong person as a result of a love potion. This resulted in production of a new Savoy opera being stalled until Gilbert came up with the idea for The Mikado, which went on to become the most successful of Gilbert and Sullivan’s collaborations.

However, do not fear, for the “magic lozenge” idea was not lost completely to history. In fact, Gilbert collaborated with two other composers, Alfred Cellier, who died in the process of creating the comic opera, and Ivan Caryll, who finished in Cellier’s place, to write The Mountebanks, which was a comic opera in which a magical potion is administered which transforms people into what they pretend to be. However, this was not a huge success, and it was on par with the moderate success of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Utopia, Limited, running for 229 performances. Critics praised Gilbert’s libretto at the time, but reviews of the score were mixed.

One can only wonder what might have happened should this plot have been used as the plot in Gilbert and Sullivan’s next collaboration and if it would have caused them to stop collaborating earlier or been a rollicking success, but alas, we must be satisfied with Gilbert and Sullivan’s six final collaborations: The Mikado, Ruddigore, The Yeomen of the Guard, The Gondoliers, Utopia, Limited, and The Grand Duke that were still to come.

Sitzprobe and Load-in!

Hello HRG&SP Community!

The past couple of days have been busy for us here. We’ve been working on bringing The Gondoliers; or The King of Barataria to life! Sunday evening we had our sitzprobe led by our immeasurably wonderful music director Mary Reynolds. The cast, orchestra, and board joined her in the Lowell Lecture hall to run through all of the music in the show. I daresay it’s coming along swimmingly. It was one of the best sitzprobes we’ve had in recent memory. We enjoyed singing some of the most fun music Gilbert and Sullivan ever wrote (“Dance a Cachucha” anyone?). We are eager for you to hear it!

After Sunday night’s run through the aural experience of the show, Monday and Tuesday night were spent constructing the visual experience. We have officially started our residency in the Agassiz Theater! We got everything moved into the Horner Room (future site of the Victorian Ball; stay tuned for more information on that) and started getting platforms and flats painted. While construction was ongoing upstairs, cast members had initial costume fittings downstairs in the costume shop. Let me just say that the costumes will blow you all away. They are simply fantastic. Jamie Paterno Ostmann, our costume designer, has simply outdone herself. You’ll have to come see the show to get a glimpse of these killer ensembles.

We’re so excited to have you join us to see The Gondoliers; or The King of Barataria! We’re less than a month away from opening night, and we’re excited to share our hard work and our artistic vision with all of you.

Dutifully yours,
Ross Simmons
HRG&SP Historian

Our very first show poster!

This week, HRG&SP had a very exciting occurrence- we were sent a poster from HGSP’s (our name before the Radcliffe part was added in) inaugural production, Ruddigore from the spring semester of 1956! Julia McVaugh, a member of cast, had found the poster and offered to send it to us, and we were delighted to welcome the beautiful poster, which was designed by the leading tenor of the cast, back home. Thank you so much to the McVaughs for helping us preserve our history and records!

We have scanned the poster and added it to our digital archive, and Ross, our historian, is putting it in our physical archive.

Other than that, our cast, crew, and orchestra are off and running on rehearsals for Gondoliers, which is shaping up to be a great show! It has been exciting to get a sneak peek at the initial concepts from the other designers and hear the first run-throughs of songs by cast and orchestra, and I have been enjoying getting to know the talented people who are working with HRG&SP this semester.

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Spring 1956, Ruddigore

Winter Welcome!

Welcome back!

It’s a new semester, and we’re off to a running start! Or should I say paddling? Rowing? If you couldn’t guess, this semester, we’re putting on a production of The Gondoliers; or, the King of Barataria. In typical G&S fashion, Gondoliers is a tale of princes switched at birth by a (contralto) nursemaid. Abnormally for G&S, this show features a song in Italian, so wish us buona sorte with the diction!

Music rehearsals are well underway. This past Saturday, we had our sing-through, which is the first time the entire cast and senior staff come together. It’s always exciting to see the beginnings of a new production – especially so for me personally, as I am returning to the stage as Gianetta in Gondoliers! Thank you, thank you, hold your applause until our opening on March 29 (mark your calendars!).

Winter Update #1: The Board of HRG&SP is thrilled to introduce our newest members, Sam Guillemette ‘20 and Ross Simmons ‘21!

Winter Update #2: The weather in Cambridge is dreadful these days. A gondola might be useful to navigate the puddles at this point (although it would be a little tricky to store in a backpack).

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Patience Load-In

Written by Isabella Kopits

Last Sunday, friends and family, was (drumroll, please!) load-in! That’s right, folks. As I write this post, the staff and cast of Patience are hard at work painting, drilling, sewing, lighting, and belting along to their favourite songs. (Meanwhile I, of weak grip strength and poor coordination, am keeping you, our adoring public, in the loop.) The set is well underway, but we’ve still got a ways to go before we can share it with our loyal fan base; however, attached are a few pictures to pique your interest.

Load-in is the one day during the show process when all of us, technically proficient and not, come together to work on the set. It’s really the Hackathon for theatre people. I love load-in because I always learn something new. This year, I learned how to paint wood to look like a different sort of wood! It is remarkably complicated, with several layers of colours and different techniques.

We are incredibly fortunate to have a dedicated staff that has already been toiling away at every aspect of the show. Shoutout to our fearless president and brilliant tech director, Richard Tong, who has been leading the build team, and to our treasurer/set design/paint extraordinaire, Sabrina Richert!

So far, only two G&Sers are lying on the floor of the Agassiz. Morale remains high. We remain caffeinated. We build on!

 

A New Year!

Written by Isabella Kopits.

Welcome back! We’re thrilled to welcome you all to our 2018–2019 season!

A month into the academic year, HRG&SP is already abuzz. This fall, we are putting on a production of Patience; or, Bunthorne’s Bride! The cast and staff have been working hard in the Ag. So, too, has our board! We are thrilled to announce our newest board members, Olivia and Amanda, who were inaugurated this fall.

In addition to producing Patience, the Board has been focused on community building. We hosted our annual Wine and Cheese party this weekend. Many Trader Joe’s* products were consumed, and much merriment was made by all. Wine and Cheese is one of my favourite HRG&SP events. It’s an excuse to dress up, and even better, it’s a reason to catch up with theater friends and community members. As the weather gets colder and midterms draw near, opportunities to leave homework behind and enjoy this place are precious. Stay tuned for updates on the show!

*We are not sponsored by Trader Joe’s, but I personally wouldn’t mind if we were.

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Our new board members: Olivia Manickas-Hill and Amanda Gonzalez-Piloto!

Visitas

Written by Abraham Rebollo

A sunny day, temperature in the mid-50s (could it finally be Spring?) with a cold wind to rein in anyone foolish enough to have dressed for warm weather. The smell of mulch looms in the air, intermingling with the smell of… indecision?

It was visiting weekend this past weekend at Harvard, bringing hordes of high school seniors trying so desperately to make their school decision before the deadline (c’mon guys, between the financial aid, meal plan, and guaranteed 4-year housing, the choice really is that simple). I do my best to avoid the hordes at all costs. That is, until the activities fair, where my introverted side (libra sun) has to take the back seat so my more extroverted self (aries moon) can get as many talented prefrosh as possible to agree to join our organization come fall.

I arrived at our stand, with its tri-fold covered in (old) production photos, a jar holding what appeared to be fairy wands(?) and British flags, and chocolate candies scattered about to entice passers-by (like a venus fly trap but fun!). I went into the board office, donned a beautiful orange flower crown over my baseball cap, and set to work. Richard and Sabrina covered the same shift as I, asking any freshman who made the mistake of making eye contact with us or looking in our general direction if they were “interested in musical theatre?” Many were frightened by this very question. Those who weren’t, however, seemed quite promising. A lot of them were instrumentalists, many of whom were violinists/cellists. Of those interested who were singers, many sang the lower voice parts. Perhaps a good sign that we will, in the future, be very easily able to find string players and male chorus members?

Fingers-crossed, I suppose we’ll find out when we start Patience in the fall!