Savoy Company Presents PATIENCE: G&S Satirical Operetta at Longwood Gardens

by Patricia Bradford

PHILADELPHIA, PA: What do you get when you add (20 Love Sick Maidens + 20 Thrown-Over Officers of the Dragoon Guards), divide by (a “fleshly” Poet + an “idyllic” Poet), and multiply by (the Village Milkmaid who cares not for poetry)? You get Patience, where everyone ends up with a suitable partner, even if it is only a tulip or lily.

The Savoy Company, a Philadelphia non-profit organization in its 115th year of producing the sole works of Gilbert and Sullivan, will perform PATIENCE, OR BUNTHORNE’S BRIDE. The operetta or musical comedy will be costumed and fully-staged with a professional orchestra at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA in the Open Air Theatre on Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th at 8:30 pm (raindates: June 14th & 15th). Performances of PATIENCE in 2015 will benefit CAPA (the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts).

This production of PATIENCE marks the 91st anniversary of Savoy performing at Longwood Gardens’ Open Air Theatre. Bill Kiesling debuts as Stage Director. Peter Hilliard returns as Musical Director for his third season. PATIENCE is produced by Aaron Manthey and costumed by Hether May. Lighting is designed by Bill Kader.

Passion and poetry exude from the talented cast starring: Robert “Bob” Binkley as Reginald Bunthorne, a fleshly poet, Mark Baron as Archibald Grosvenor, an idyllic poet, and Meghan Curry as Patience, a dairy maid. Officers of the Dragoon Guards are John Chesney as Colonel Calverley, Greg Spurgeon as Major Murgatroyd, and C. Erik Nordgren as Lieut. The Duke of Dunstable. Rapturous Maidens are Mary Punshon as The Lady Angela, Jen Chesterson as The Lady Saphir, Whitney Connelly as The Lady Ella, and Martha L. Smylie as The Lady Jane.

PATIENCE, OR BUNTHORNE’S BRIDE, the sixth of fourteen operas by Gilbert and Sullivan, opened in April 1881 at the Opera Comique. It transferred in October 1881 to The Savoy Theatre, D’Oyly Carte’s new theatre and the first theatre in the world to be lit entirely by electric lights. It ran for a total of 578 performances, the longest initial run of any G&S opera up to that time.

A big hit in England, PATIENCE satirizes the 1870’s and ’80s “aesthetic movement” based on the principle of art for art’s sake. All the well-born young ladies in the village rapturously caught up in aestheticism, find themselves love sick over two contrasting aesthetic poets — Bunthorne, a “fleshly” poet and Grosvenor, an “idyllic” poet. Both poets are in love with Patience, the simple village milkmaid, who cares nothing for poetry. The ladies’ military suitors, Officers of the Dragoon Guards, don’t understand aesthetics, but give it a try to win their ladies’ hearts. With a comic turn of events, everyone ends up with a suitable partner, even if it is only a tulip or lily.

Nestled in the tranquil setting of Longwood Gardens, The Savoy Company’s performances, costumed and fully-staged at the Open Air Theater, feature a professional orchestra bringing the exquisite music to life. PATIENCE promises to be a delightful adventure for audiences of all ages. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8:30 pm. Parking for all performances is free. Call 215-735-7161 or visit the Company’s website at for more information.

TICKETS: Individual tickets are $29 per person. The ticket price includes all-day admission and re-admission on the same day to The Gardens! Handicap seating is available. Visit the Company’s website at to select your seats and to purchase tickets online. Credit card orders are subject to a $3.00 per ticket fee on the Savoy website.

GROUP RATES: The Savoy Company welcomes groups! If there are 15 or more in your party, you can take advantage of discount pricing ($20 per person GROUP RATE). To make a group reservation, call 215-735-7161 and leave a message for the Group Ticket Coordinator including: your name, group name, performance date, number of tickets you need and your phone number.

HISTORY TID BIT: The Savoy Company’s volunteer cast has included such luminaries as Hollywood film star Nelson Eddy, Metropolitan Opera soprano Margaret Harshaw, Wagnerian bass-baritone James Pease, and Broadway star Wilbur Evans.

Theater/Organization Website:

Theater/Organization Address: THE SAVOY COMPANY AT LONGWOOD GARDENS OPEN AIR THEATRE 1001 Longwood Road Kennett Square, Pennsylvania 19348 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (215) 735-7161

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