A decade of exploration. Gilbert & Sullivan shows with a twist and shows without Gilbert or Sullivan.
Director: Sarah Case
Welcome to the streets of 1950s New York City and our production of Guys and Dolls, a show based on the short stories by Damon Runyon and first performed on Broadway in 1950.
We are absolutely delighted to present this fabulous musical here at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds, in our 110th year! As well as regularly producing the Savoy operas, Leeds G&S Society enjoys being involved in a wide variety of works. Following our production of The Mikado last year, we presented a contemporary revue/song cycle – Closer than Ever at four different venues across the city and at Christmas, our concerts included Vaughan Williams’ choral work Fantasia on Christmas Carols and extracts from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
We have thoroughly enjoyed rehearsing Guys and Dolls. Anita Adams, our Director, has been inspirational in giving everyone the confidence to dance. We are indebted to her for dedication and belief in us and for her innovative and creative approach.
For the last three years Jonathan Drummond has been our talented and enthusiastic Musical Director. During this time we have attained exceptionally high standards and music rehearsals have been a pleasure. We are very sorry that this will be his last show with us but we thank him for all his hard work and expertise and wish him well for his new ventures in the world of music.
We are very grateful to everyone who has helped in any way in this production. The most important people, however, are our audiences and we thank you for your support and wish you a safe journey home.
Welcome to our 2019 production of Guys of and Dolls and thank you so much for your support.
Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan society took a little bit of a risk in deciding to do this wonderful musical. Guys and Dolls is a multi Tony award winning musical which is considered to be a romantic, comedy masterpiece. Based on a series of short stories, composer and lyricist Frank Loesser and librettist Abe Burrows created some well-loved and expertly constructed songs and scenes. The scenes are intricate and complicated, and the songs are memorable, exciting with a lyrical structure that is second to none! But this was not the huge challenge (although challenge enough) ... the risk here was in the movement. Leeds G and S society is not a society that is bursting at the seams with natural dancers (they won’t mind me saying this), but they are a society bursting with enthusiasm, grit and a determination to learn. This has meant I have had the total joy of bringing this delightful musical to life with complex routines and sequences and I could not be more proud of what they have achieved.
The work that goes in to putting on these shows is astonishing I want to extend a huge thanks to all the volunteers who make it possible. You are amazing!
We have had a blast in rehearsal for Guys and Dolls and I hope you have a blast watching it.
Director: Anita Adams
Musical Director: Adam Boniface
Peter Chiles, Will Gausden, Bernie Haynes, Peter Loveday, Josh Ruddiman
Frances Ayers, Ellie Chalmers, Emily Futers, Emma Kennedy, Heather Pennwood, Naomi Priest, Emma Stirk.
Hannah Faulkner, Klaudia Gawrysiak, Shirley Hoyland, Pat Kearney Sophie Moul, Abbie Palmer
A rebound from unrequited love; the wonder of new parenthood; painful divorce and later joyous remarriage; lunchtime liaisons. Every life is full of moments. Every person sometimes feels closer than ever – but closer to what?
"Closer Than Ever" is a rarely performed show written by Maltby & Shire. First performed in 1989, it won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. It was revived in New York as recently as 2012.
Closer Than Ever is a tricky show to categorize. It is normally described as a “musical revue”. In the world of Musical Theatre this normally describes a show with no through-story, often focusing solely on a selection of songs, often with dance (there was almost no dance) and sometimes also with sketches (there were no sketches).
If we were in the world of classical music, we would call it a “song cycle”, and we think this is a better term. The audience experienced an evening of songs, one after the other. There is no through story, there is no dialogue, and every scene introduces new characters struggling with new scenarios.
In a world where the same “old favourites” are available to see time and time again, this was something different. Closer Than Ever is a rare gem; an evening that offered poignant charm through every door.
Director: Richard Pascoe
Musical Director: Heather Pennwood
Note: there are no named characters in this show - all performers played a range of characters across scenes.
"As always, the cast were supported by a creative team to the highest degree. Leeds G&S are really making their mark to give audiences something new and innovative – and that is great news for amateur theatre in this area." Christine Castle - NODA NE Regional Representative.
"Thoroughly enjoyed the Show on Friday evening... So slick and the cast worked well together keeping up the pace. If I was still adjudicating I would give it 9/10. Well done and congratulations all round.”
We are well into the swing of doing G&S with a twist. Why place The Mikado in a fanciful version of Japan, when we can place it somewhere where the sense of dread can be more easily understood. Here is how Anita writes about the production in the programme.
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Welcome to The Titus Is Pure Academy. This is the Mikado, but probably like you have never seen it before.
For me as a Director it is very important to re-imagine these pieces so that we can adore them in all their original glory but with new concepts that allow us to see them anew.... that allows new audiences to see them anew.
This is 1978 we are in a private school which has become very set in its ways. A surprise visit is announced from an infamous local inspector and all the teachers start to panic! The new teachers who see education running slightly differently in the future escape the panic by creating an incredible story which imagines their colleagues in a slightly different light.
It is very important to me that all cast members feel they are a massive part of the story, that the ensemble feel they are influencing the action and helping events unfold. This concept gave us something to really sink our teeth into. Everyone has created 2 characters: the characters that exist in 1978 and the characters who live in the farcical story that is the Mikado. The Mikado is funny; it’s hilarious in fact and with our story within a story approach we have been able to grow the comedy in many ways and this has really brought the show to life.
We have had incredible fun putting this show together. It has more than a significant nod to the original and yet a new fresh look bringing the wonderful music to the stage once more. We hope you enjoy your trip with us to the 1970's or was that ancient Japan?
Director: Anita Adams
Musical Director: Jonathan Drummon
"MEMBERS OF STAFF":
Frances Ayers, Philip Case, Peter Chiles, Janet Clarke, Anne Futers, Emily Futers, Will Gausden, Rebecca Hall, Dave Harrison, Shirley Hoyland, Pat Kearney, Tony Lee, Peter Loveday, Amy Lynch, Sophie Moul, Gillian Myers, David Naylor, Carol Sass, Alan Stirk, Joy Suthern.T
"I thought it was marvellous". Richard Pascoe
Around 2014 a strange idea started to form in Sarah’s “brain far-seeing”. Writing a piece using the music of Gilbert & Sullivan, but with a completely new book. This would be a fun and funny musical, showing off the strengths of the Leeds Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Sarah made the classic mistake of admitting to these ideas forming in her head, and when she offered to write “A Nice Dilemma” the response was a unanimous “Yes, Please!”.
Although, A Nice Dilemma would lovingly poke fun at some of the tropes of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, it would also explore the deep themes of an amateur group keeping the shows themselves alive and thriving in the modern world.
In the original programme for the show, Sarah wrote, “We deal with the very real issues our beloved operettas are facing, including those awkward age differences in leading couples, happy endings normally brought about by hilarious mistaken identity, and the fact that audiences are increasingly hard to come by”.
Sarah found the perfect scenario to manoeuvre through these realities. “A Nice Dilemma”, she wrote, ”is centred on the idea that the beloved characters of Gilbert & Sullivan have physical form and are living in the world around us. However, they only continue to exist while their shows are performed – and with falling audience numbers, some of the characters have faded and disappeared”
In 2016 the project started in earnest. Firstly, Sarah sat and watched all the original filmed performances of all the shows – a set of very long weekends! She started writing and bravely started sharing early drafts with a few friends who gave her the bad news that it was great so she had to keep going.
Jonathan Drummond, Musical Director for Leeds Gilbert & Sullivan Society (and friend), came on board to help on choosing musical numbers from the famous operettas. In addition, he took on arranging two primary pieces. Jonathan wrote, “My thoughts turned immediately to how I could incorporate Sir Arthur’s well-loved music into the new environs of this show. Most of the numbers could be worked into the show without too much editing, but two of them required more careful thought and preparation: the Madrigal Competition and The Nightingale Sighed.”
A Nice Dilemma was first performed at St Margaret’s Church Hall in Bramley on October 7th 2017 by Leeds Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Everyone who attended smiled and laughed and left remembering Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas survive for a good reason – people like Sarah.
Director: Sarah Case
Musical Director: Jonathan Drummond
Wilfred Shadbolt - Yeoman Of The Guard - Richard Pascoe
Hebe - H.M.S. Pinafore - Rowena Thornton
Buttercup - H.M.S. Pinafore - Judith Huntley
Captain Corcoran - H.M.S. Pinafore - Graeme Lister
Mad Margaret - Ruddigore - Judith Smith
Fairy Queen - Iolanthe - Katie Lister
Princess Ida - Princess Ida - Heather Greenwood
2nd Yeoman - Yeoman Of The Guard - Janet Johnston
Celia - Iolanthe - Gillian Myers
Coxorbox - Cox And Box - Sarah Case
Phoebe - Yeoman Of The Guard - Anne Futers
Ralph Rackstraw - H.M.S. Pinafore - Alan Stirk
Robin Oakapple - Ruddigore - Fraser Wilkinson
The Mikado - The Mikado - Andrew Aspland
Katisha - The Mikado - Jazz Caine
Nanki-Poo - The Mikado - Matthew Oglesby
Yum-Yum - The Mikado - Emily Futers
Pitti-Sing - The Mikado - Hannah Birch
Peep-Bo - The Mikado - Emma Smith
Pirate King - Pirates Of Penzance - Jason Weightman
Ruth - Pirates Of Penzance - Shirley Hoyland
Frederick - Pirates Of Penzance - Simon Bray
Mabel - Pirates Of Penzance - Emma Stirk
The Notary - The Sorcerer, Patience, & The Grand Duke - Scott Pen
For the Society, Kiss Me, Kate was quite a departure. The theatrical climate of the world had changed significantly since the Hunslet St Silas Choral and Operatic Society became the Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society in the 1950s and we could no longer survive performing G&S alone. The company had a diverse and vibrant membership who were ready for a new challenge and were commended for taking a risk.
Having said this, it was important to us to remain ‘classic’ in our approach to theatrical endeavours. So Kiss Me, Kate seemed a lovely choice, a classic 40s musical with Cole Porter’s timeless score. This show has allowed us to explore the works of Shakespeare, experiment with the wonderful jazzy rhythms of 1940s music and most of all dance like we have had never had opportunity before.
Kiss Me, Kate is actually a fairly tricky story to tell. It belongs well and truly in the 1940s due to the very outdated references to the treatment of women. The story of Taming of the Shrew itself is a very difficult story to present and provides a directorial challenge. How can we do justice to this comic piece whilst still managing to maintain the integrity of the romance to a modern audience? For this reason the piece has remained solidly set in the 1940s but the audience noticed some intentional changes to the representation of some of the women and scenes, not least the casting of a female gangster!
The cast were taken well and truly out of their comfort zone and worked tirelessly to bring this show to the Carriageworks stage.
Director: Anita Adams
Musical Director: Jonathan Drummond
Hattie – Heather Greenwood
Ralph – Katie Lister
Paul – Philip Case
Lois/Bianca – Nicky Burrows
Bill/Lucentio – Scott Penn
Lilli/Katherine – Rebecca Jelbert
Fred/Petruchio – Jason Weightman
Harry/Baptista – Richard Pascoe
Hortensio – Matthew Oglesby
Gremio – Andrew Aspland
Sarah Case – First Gangster
Matt Stirk – Second Gangster
Graeme Lister – General Howell
Jasmine Caine, Janet Clarke, Anne Futers, Emily Futers, Diana Ghirardi, Shirley Hoyland, Janet Johnston, Sophie Moul, Gillian Myers, Emma Stirk, Becky Barwick, Jackie Dunderdale, Felicity Dunk, Megan Henderson, Pat Kearney, Emma Smith, Joy Suthern, Ruth Watkins, Bryan Butler, John Haywood, Peter Loveday, Will Gausden, Dave Harrison, Tony Lee, Bob Little, Dan Potts.