Catching up on a Once-in-a-Lifetime Event

So, I’ve been a bad blogger.

Since my last Director’s post in the spring, we at the Durham Savoyards, Ltd. have had auditions; we’ve cast both “Trial by Jury” and “Thespis”; we’ve had countless production team meetings; and we’ve been in rehearsals for weeks and weeks.

Both shows are now completely staged and choreographed, and we’re currently in the process of fine-tuning for our one weekend of performances: October 12-15 (right around the corner!).

Last night I added some final bits of choreography; and tonight we focused on character study and scenework in “Thespis”.  Lovely, nuanced work all around!

Thursday and Friday of this week will be spent on run-throughs of both shows as we prepare to move into the theater for tech rehearsals next week.

As we make these final preparations for performance, the one thing I want to tell you above all else is that Alan Riley Jones’ original score for “Thespis” is absolutely brilliant!  I have to continuously remind myself that we’re working on the world premiere of a brand new score and not a Sullivan original.  Seriously folks, it’s that good.

In case you’re not aware of the situation here….  “Thespis” was Gilbert and Sullivan’s very first collaboration — well before they were known as “Gilbert and Sullivan.”  It was created as a Christmas-time production and not expected to live beyond its initial run.  So no one thought to save all the paperwork.  The libretto (Gilbert’s words) remain, but the score (Sullivan’s music) has been largely lost to history.

Our long-time music director Alan Riley Jones has devoted the better part of a decade to composing and orchestrating an original score in the style of Sullivan — and he has done a bang-up job of it!

In addition to Alan’s original compositions, you may recognize the few bits of Sullivan’s music which did survive: “Climbing Over Rocky Mountains,” which was later used in “Pirates of Penzance;” “Little Maid of Arcadee,” which was a popular hit back in the day; and “The Sun Whose Rays” from “The Mikado,” which we’ve inserted as an interlude because it just seemed right.

We can only offer four performances of this sparkling musical masterpiece.  October 12, 13, 14 and 15.  You don’t want to miss it!


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