The Savoyaires, the Evanston-based Gilbert & Sullivan theater company, celebrated a half-century of annual productions this weekend.

Founded in 1964, the company presented its first show, The Gondoliers, in 1965. The Savoyaires’ upcoming October show, The Grand Duke, will be the group’s 50th annual production.

At the gathering Saturday afternoon at the First Congregational Church House, the group presented awards to four long-time members — Gloria Boyell, Jo Ann Minds, John Shea, and Dave Stockwell.

Boyell, who accompanied the entire Saturday program, has served as the Savoyaires’ rehearsal pianist since 1979.

Jo Ann Minds, John Shea and Gloria Boyell.

Minds and Shea, who performed a scene from The Mikado, each have played leading roles in more than 20 productions—Minds from 1966 to 2010 and Shea from 1973 to 2005.

Stockwell, a cast member of the company’s 1965 Gondoliers and many productions thereafter, performed a lyric recitation and received the Savoyaires Half-Century Award.

The program also featured one musical number from each of the 14 Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, sung by performers from across the company’s five-decade history.

They included 93-year-old Eugene Propp as well as Kara Chandler, Amy Conn, David Craven, Kingsley Day, Lane Halverson, Margaret Jarvis, Kristin Lutzeier, Wendy Wells Mineau, Henry Michael Odum, Rachel Rubinstein, Noel Taylor, Jennifer Thompson and Peter Voigt.

Nearly 200 past show participants, donors and audience members attended the program and reception.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.