Wagner College Theatre’s current main stage production is a reimagining of Gilbert & Sullivan’s topsy-turvy musical, “Iolanthe.” The show runs from Wednesday, March 2 to Sunday, March 6 in the college’s Main Hall auditorium.
“Iolanthe” features book and lyrics by W.S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan, the 19th century forefathers of modern musical comedy. Wagner Dance Head Rusty Curcio (WCT’s “Cats,” “The Goddess Wheel”) is director and choreographer. Joan Melton, a noted vocal coach for musical theater training who specializes in 20th century music, is music director. Wagner theater professor Lauri Young will conduct a quintet of musicians.
First performed in 1882, “Iolanthe” (pronounced “eye-oh-LAN-thee”) is one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s 14 musicals (including “The Pirates of Penzance,” “The Mikado” and “HMS Pinafore”). It is universally regarded as one of Arthur Sullivan’s most beautiful scores — a high watermark in terms of music, wit, cleverness and color — with choruses, patter songs, solos and orchestrations. Sullivan’s captivating score, unmistakably influenced by classical music composers Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Wagner, contains some of his most accomplished and beautiful music.
Director/choreographer Rusty Curcio sets his version of “Iolanthe” as a magical romp in 1920s Washington, D.C., as the Fairies (known in the original script as the Peris) meet members of Congress (known in the script as the Peers). The production sparkles with romance, fairy mischief, a chief justice and a legal system that is turned upside-down by meddling sprites who inspire the question, “To which Party do you belong? Liberal? Conservative? Or Fairy?”
Wagner College Theatre’s production features Lauren Dennis (Iolanthe), Addi Berry (Phyllis), Becca Barrett (Queen), Joe O’Malley (Chief Justice), Nicholas Barakos (Strephon), Dean Marino (Moutararat), Joshua Sottile (Tolloller), Maria Salerno (Celia), Taylor Baskin (Leila), Natalie Schaffer (Felta), Matthew Drinkwater (Agent Smith 1) and John Drinkwater (Agent Smith 2). The ensemble features Bobbi Barricella, Gabriella Baker, Jasmine Canziani, Eric Elson, Ryan Garbee, Gregory Ippolito, Dana Kluczyk, Megan Lione, Nick Mestakides, Emma Pittman, Chris Rucci, Carolyn Savoia, Mari Skoultchi, Clint Maddox Thompson, Garrett Toole, Gabriel Trimbur and Chris Zika.
The creative team includes Vicki Neal (scenic design), Martha Bromelmeier (costume design), Phill Hickox (lighting design), Richard Kroth (sound design) and Joanna Catalano ’16 (hair and make-up design). Amanda Taylor ’16 is production stage manager.
Wagner College Theatre has presented Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” (1984, 2003) and the “The Mikado” (1994, 2008) on its main stage.
“Iolanthe” runs from Wednesday, March 2 through Sunday, March 6. Evening performances begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Matinee performances begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Wagner College Theatre box office, located on the first floor of Main Hall, is open weekdays from 12 to 4 p.m. Single tickets are on sale with price ranges for children, senior and adult tickets. Wagner College students attend free with current ID. Call (718) 390-3259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next on the Wagner College Theatre main stage: Tony Award-winner Michele Pawk will direct “that singular sensation,” “A Chorus Line,” April 13-24.
And at Wagner College Theatre’s Stage One studio theater: the world premiere of “New York Lands” (March 1-6) and “The Dance Project 2016” (April 19-24).