Combining a classic with a historic theatre makes Fraser Valley Stage's Pinafore even more memorable
Fraser Valley Stage sets sail this summer to represent Canada at the 18th annual International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton England in August.
The Abbotsford-based musical theatre group will perform the classic, H.M.S. Pinafore, as they vie for some coveted awards against amateur performers from around the world.
"It's especially exciting because we're going to be adjudicated," said artistic director Paulina Harskamp.
"The Buxton Opera House is very old, about 200 to 300 years old. It's extraordinarily exciting to perform in that theatre."
But before they venture over the pond, F.V. Stage will give local audiences a sneak peek when they present Pinafore for five shows at the Abbotsford Arts Centre, from April 18 to 21.
Gilbert and Sullivan's first blockbuster, H.M.S Pinafore is one of the most crowd-pleasing comic musicals in history, loved for its dynamic songs, entertaining story and saucy satire.
"Sir William Gilbert's words are always witty and funny. It's one of my favourite shows," said Harskamp, who has performed in the musical three times.
In the show, the captain's daughter finds herself in love with a lowly sailor, while her father has a more sophisticated suitor in mind. Will she and her beloved defy convention and set sail for love?
"We have some fabulous singers. The two leads Tiffany King [who plays Josephine] and Mark Kroeker [as Ralph, the sailor] are spellbinding," said Harskamp.
"There are moments when they sing together . . . the emotion, the blending . . . their duet is going to be a show stopper."
Musical director for the production is Chad Joiner (musical director at Mennonite Educational Institute), and audiences will find themselves humming along to some very familiar tunes.
Among the challenges in taking the large 48-member cast and crew overseas are the logistics and adapting the show from the large Abbotsford stage to a somewhat smaller venue. They can't take any sets along and the blocking will have to be reworked in just two days to enable all the actors and the large choruses to fit on stage.
Still it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many FVS members, who will be performing right in the heart of Gilbert and Sullivan territory.
"It's all G&S all the time," added Harskamp. "We're pitting ourselves against England's G&S society. The last time we went we matched up pretty well."
She was referring to the previous three times FVS took their shows to England, and came back with some highly coveted awards for singing and costumes.
"We don't go thinking we are going to win although we have won in the past," she added.
The competition is also a festival, which makes Buxton a destination point this summer for all who love G&S musical theatre.
- Local performances of H.M.S. Pinafore are April 18-21 with evening shows at 7: 30 p.m. each day and a 2 p.m. matinée on April 21, at the Abbotsford Arts Centre, 2329 Crescent Way. Tickets are $25/adults and $23 seniors/students. Group rates are also available.
For more ticket information call 604-853-4164 or visit www.fraservalleystage.com.