THE SAVOY COMPANY Heads to Parliament in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Fairy Tale Opera IOLANTHE

by Patricia Bradford

PRESS RELEASE — A Philadelphia Tradition, THE SAVOY COMPANY Heads to Parliament in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Fairy Tale Opera Iolanthe!

Internationally acclaimed & the newest Company in Residence with Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Savoy Company [] will go to British Parliament to present Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera Iolanthe, or The Peer and the Peri featuring a gorgeous, professionally designed set, beautiful costumes, & a professional orchestra. Three performances will delight the audience at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre [480 S. Broad Street (Broad & Lombard Streets), Philadelphia, PA 19146] on May 18 (8 pm) & 19 (2 pm & 8 pm), 2018.

The Savoy Company [] will present Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera IOLANTHE under the stars on stage of the Open Air Theatre amid the tranquil beauty of Longwood Gardens [1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348] featuring gorgeous, professionally designed set pieces, beautiful costumes, & a professional orchestra. Two evening performances will delight the audience on June 8 & 9, 2018 (8:30 pm). ALL DAY ADMISSION TO THE GARDENS IS INCLUDED. Note the Rain Date policy [].

Advertised as “An Entirely Original Fairy Opera” by Gilbert and Sullivan, IOLANTHE recounts the conflict between the immortal fairies and the mortal peers. Strephon, a half-mortal whose mother is Iolanthe of the Fairy Court, loves Phyllis, a ward of the Lord Chancellor of the English Court, who is unaware of Strephon’s fairy heritage. The opera lampoons both the English House of Lords and the idea of political parties but in such bouncy, amicable absurdities that it is all received as good fun.

SYNOPSIS: In the opera, the fairy Iolanthe has been banished from fairyland because she married a mortal; this is forbidden by fairy law. Her son, Strephon, is an Arcadian shepherd who wants to marry Phyllis, a Ward of Chancery. All the members of the House of Peers also want to marry Phyllis. When Phyllis sees Strephon hugging a young woman (not knowing that it is his mother – immortal fairies all appear young), she assumes the worst and sets off a climactic confrontation between the peers and the fairies. The opera satirizes many aspects of British government, law and society. The confrontation between the fairies and the peers is a version of one of Gilbert’s favorite themes: a tranquil civilization of women is disrupted by a male-dominated world through the discovery of mortal love.

Peter Hilliard returns for his sixth season as music director and Bill Kiesling, in his fourth season as stage director, adds his signature subtle twist by envisioning Iolanthe as a fairy tale. Take note of his homage to several Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales intertwined with this classic G&S tale. A longtime Savoy member, William Kader returns for his second year as production manager.

• The Lord Chancellor: Ross Druker
• Earl of Mountararat: Bob Binkley
• Earl of Tolloller: Tom Faracco
• Private Willis (of the Grenadier Guards): Guillermo Bosch
• Strephon (an Arcadian Shepherd): Phoenix Fritch
• Queen of the Fairies: Susan Weinman
• Iolanthe (a Fairy, Strephon’s Mother): Rachel Sigman
• Celia (a Fairy): Amber Englebert
• Leila (a Fairy): Elise Bjordammen
• Fleta (a Fairy): Kara Beck
• Phyllis (an Arcadian Shepherdess and Ward of Chancery): Alize Rozsnyai

Iolanthe features some of the most memorable Gilbert & Sullivan songs including: “None shall part us from each other,” “Spurn not the nobly born,” “When all night long a chap remains,” and “When you’re lying awake” (more commonly called “The Nightmare Song”).

Tickets range in price from $35 – $50 for performances at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre. All tickets are priced at $29 for performances at Longwood Gardens. Go to to purchase tickets online or for more information.

In 1901, a young Philadelphia doctor named Alfred Reginald Allen, having witnessed Gilbert and Sullivan works in England, recruited a group of locals to perform their works in Philadelphia. The group presented Trial by Jury at the Merion Cricket Club on May 4th, 1901. The performance was such a hit that The Savoy Company was born!

The Savoy Company continues to honor Dr. Allen’s traditional vision today. Savoy is the oldest theatre company in the world dedicated solely to the production of the works of G&S. In fact, Savoy took home an award for “Best Traditional Opera” in 2016 for its performance of The Pirates of Penzance at the International G&S Festival in Harrogate, England and is returning in August 2018 to try to recapture the throne.

All Savoy members volunteer their time and talents – on stage, singing and dancing, and backstage, building the set and props – to produce one of the thirteen existing G&S operas each year. A 1939 profile of The Savoy Company by Life Magazine highlighted one of the true benefits of being Savoy members as getting “their reward in parties.” That is a tradition The Company continues to honor proudly today.

Enjoy a video clip from 2017 production of H.M.S. Pinafore at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Celebrating its 118th season, The Savoy Company promises Iolanthe, a fairy tale love story, to be a delight for audiences of all ages!

Theater/Organization THE SAVOY COMPANY
Theater/Organization Website:

Theater/Organization Address: P.O. Box 59150 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102-9150 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (215) 735-7161

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