How much do I love Gilbert and Sullivan? Let me count the ways! Every time I see that GASP or the Gilbert and Sullivan Players are putting on their EXTREMELY limited performances, I immediately run to get tickets no matter where in the City they may be. And they move around from location to location.This September they ended up at the YMCA! I’m not kidding! And inside NYC’s oldest and most legendary facility ( James Dean stayed there when he first got to NY. ) is The Marjorie S. Dean Little Theater. It was a perfect little jewel box surprise, an Art Deco boite.
And so was the recent NYGASP production of the rarely seen “The Sorcerer.” A cut version sped by and the Little Theater seemed built to show off this particularly charming and mostly forgotten G&S tuner.
GASP, to its everlasting credit, regularly unearths these little-seen treasures, and their September, late summer “Sorcerer” has to be my favorite one to date.
Paired down to fit the usually thirty-something cast, this “Sorcerer” of only ten terrific singers, with no mikes, made the Marjorie S. Dean shake and shiver with delight. It was the perfect summer divertissement. I’ve saved this review til now because with Hallowe’en upon us, and holiday season just around the corner, I’m giving you plenty o’time to get it together to see their “H.M.S Pinafore,” which is coming up next. Quickly, go to their website http://www.nygasp.com for full details. Haste! I’m giving you plenty of warning! Don’t miss this one!
Before I leave you with sweet memories of the summer “Sorcerer,” I must mention it’s outstanding cast and James Mills who as John Wellington Wells did a pixie-ish turn in the title role. He did indeed cast a spell, not just over the villagers, but also the audience.
Mills was aided and abetted in his hypnotic musical magic by full–throated GASP veterans Carter Lynch, Caitlin Burke and Matthew Wages as Sir Marmaduke Poindexter. Direction, as usual, by the redoubtable Allen Bergeret, who is also the artistic director of GASP.
If you happen to have access to the wonderful Mike Leigh movie of “Topsy Turvy, “The Sorcerer” plays a large role in the beginning of the picture. The fact that once again Lyricist and Librettist Gilbert has chosen to plot his new musical around a magic love potion sends composer Sir Arthur Sullivan to nearly break up with his collaborator of many years.
And did I mention that there was only ONE piano playing instead of the full orchestra GASP so gainfully employs? The one, brave woman attempting (and succeeding) playing this epic score was Andrea Stryker- Rodda, The full title of this little known gem is “The Sorcecer:or the Vicar’s Reduction of Tea.”