H.M.S. Pinafore 1981 Review Clips
Chicago Sun Times September 11, 1981
Light Opera Works' 'Pinafore' a spirited, romantic delight
For its first production, Light Opera Works has manned the decks of Gilbert and Sullivan's delightful "H.M.S. Pinafore," which docked Thursday evening in Evanston's Cahn Auditorium...
Good news indeed. Not only do we now have a professional operetta company, we have one that's spirited, capable, great fun to watch, and a treat to hear...
So let's emulate the ship's sailors and give three cheers and one cheer more for the hardy captain of this "Pinafore," artistic director Philip Kraus. Under his knowledgable guidance, the production is tenderly romantic, devastating clever, and sometimes, even riotously funny.
In this "Pinafore" the emphasis is on imaginative theatricality, so creative touches abound....
And with William Wronski in the role (Sir Joseph), he's a fabulous fop, a mangnificent ninny who steals the show each time he sucks in his cheeks and waves his lace handkerchief. Wronski is a comic marvel.
Also impressive are Stewart Figa as the slimeball sailor, Dick Deadeye; Patrick Wroblewski as Captain Corcoran and Jeffrey Wiggins as the lovelorn sailor, Ralph Rackstraw...Gayle Royko's Josephine is ample proof of her talent as a singing actress. As for Little Buttercup, Ann Hoselitz makes her a yummy marshmallow of a woman.
The fine chorus bounds around Nels Anderson's seaworthy set with winning assurance, thanks no doubt, to the excellent coaching of choreographer Amy Kekst. And conductor Barney Jones and his able orcherstra of 27 never let the melodious score lag.
The Pioneer Press September 17, 1981
Light Opera Works launches a class act
To anyone too chicken to book passage on the "H.M.S. Pinafore" done by Light Opera Works in Evanston over the weekend, I offer an understanding "too bad." But to anyone, who doesn't rush right to the phone and order the year-end "Orpheus in the Underworld," I am going to say, "serves you right."
...as the last notes of Sir Arthur Sullivan's sprightly overture died away, and the curtain rose on a spiffy seagoing set, replete with ropes to swing on and an elegantly furnished Victorian cabin to retire to, my headache began to fade.
This was the promised professionalism- to be judged by professional standards. No bunch of kids fooling around in a theater, Light Opera Works has launched itself with flying colors. Long may it sail.
First credit goes to music director Barney Jones and his small but highly competent crew of players...Next bouquet to director Phil Kraus, founder and artistic head of the new troupe. With him at the helm, "Pinafore" sailed smoothly into harbor; often funny, always tuneful and occasionally thought provoking with regard to W.S. Gilbert's gentle satire of the British class system.
A well-rehearsed cast was of good, sometimes outstanding quality. A six gun salute to William Wronski as the foolish, foppish "ruler of the Queen's Navee," and pretty Gayle Royko as the Captain's daughter, Josephine....Ann Hoselitz developed into an appealing Buttercup and Stewart Figa's Dick Deadeye was so menacing, it was hard to accept his participation in the joyous finale.
...supporting singers John Holland, MarkSundberg and Kathleen Keske were right in character and on key, as was the classy chorus of British sailors and "ladies, gaily tripping, lightly skipping."
Light Opera Works really works and that's what counts.
The Lerner Papers September 17, 1981
'Pinafore' run too short-lived
It's difficult to write praise of something when you know it can't be seen anymore. But the Light Opera Works' production of "H.M.S. Pinafore" was so noteworthy, it deserves the praise, if only to give notice that you should run, not walk, to the box office for tickets to the next production.
Opening nights are sometimes not quite on up-to-snuff, but this one, Thursday, Sept. 10, saw a cast headed by William T. Wronski and Gayle Royko that was ready for action.
From a layman's point of view, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The performance was studded with star performances, not the least were the set by Nels Anderson and costumes by JoEllen Bendall.
Since we are all familiar with the story and music from this famous Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, it is sufficient to say the comedy was played to the hilt, with Wronski as The Right Honorable Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B. and "Monarch of the Sea." He was royal, indeed, the role, and it is a surprise to see the picture of a young man staring out at you from the program, so accurate is his portrayal of an old one.
Royko has a beautiful voice and also played the comedy broadly, but not forgetting the little nuances of expression so important to her role as Josephine, the captain's daughter.
As her love, Ralph Rackstraw, Jeffrey Wiggins was a bit stiff, but perhaps it is the fact that he is so tall and had to look down on everyone that gave that impression.
The production was staged very well which must be attributed to director Philip A. Kraus and choreographer Amy L. Kekst.