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Savoyaires stage ‘The Gondoliers’

Now in its 46th year, the Evanston-based Savoyaires theater company continues to bring Gilbert & Sullivan to Chicago’s North Shore. This year the company will present Gilbert & Sullivan’s last smash hit, "The Gondoliers, or The King of Barataria."

A scene from last year’s Savoyaires performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s "Utopia Limited."

For this year’s production Jeff-nominated director Jim Schneider, acclaimed for staging comedies by Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward at Forest Park’s Circle Theatre, makes his Savoyaires directing debut.

Musical director Timothy Semanik, whose conducting credits include productions with Light Opera Works, Festival Opera, and Great Lakes Lyric Opera, returns for his third consecutive Savoyaires production.

Sets and costumes, respectively, are by Jeff-winning designers Bob Knuth and Elizabeth Wislar. Choreography is by Amy Uhl, who recently garnered raves for her work for City Lit’s Oh, Boy!

In the show, two Venetian gondoliers wed their sweethearts, only to learn that one of them (but who knows which?) is a crown prince and was married as a baby to the Duke of Plaza-Toro’s daughter — who is now hopelessly in love with the duke’s lowly attendant.

Only Inez, the prince’s foster mother, can “solve the complicated plot.” The song hits include “We’re Called Gondolieri,” “When a Merry Maiden Marries,” and “Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes.” Appearing as Inez is Chicago-area stage favorite Jo Ann Minds, recently seen with Light Opera Works as Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady and Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man.

Performances will be held at the Chute Middle School Auditorium in Evanston on Oct. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., and on Oct. 10 and 17 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $22/17/12, and $17/$12/$7 for ages 12 and under, and may be purchased by phone at (847) 251-8767, online, or by mail from Savoyaires, P.O. Box 126, Evanston, IL 60204.

The Savoyaires are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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