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David Handley and Connor McAndrews | Photo by Christina Hallowell

Theater at Monmouth is once again delighting audiences with a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta this fall. This season, Ruddigore, or the Witch’s Curse hits the stage. Two members of the production team, Rebecca Caron, Music Director and Adam Blais, Choreographer gave us an insider look at this process for bringing this piece to the stage.

Ruddigore follows the mishaps of Robin Oakapple, the heir to the house of Murgatroyd (and therefore to the family curse) who faked his death and now lives an unassuming life as a country farmer. He’s fallen in love with the beautiful, and unmarried, Rose Maybud. On the day of their wedding, Rose discovers Robin’s true identity and calls off the marriage. In typical Gilbert & Sullivan fashion, chaos ensues and the pieces are all put together for a happy ending!

“Basically anything anyone could possibly want is right here in this show,” said Rebecca, “There are bad Baronets and ghosts and portraits that come to life, jilted lovers driven mad, and, of course, pirates…”

Adam added, “Rebecca and I often joke that we find Gilbert & Sullivan to be very formulaic and structured.” It’s true. Audiences come to TAM knowing just what to expect. Gilbert & Sullivan seldom stray from the tried and true delights that audiences love. However, Adam continued, “I was excited to discover the ways that this show was different.” For starters, the score for Ruddigore is generally much faster in tempo than other works by Gilbert & Sullivan. “There are also a significant number of dance breaks into the piece which helped me identify the choreography style,” said Adam. “Some of the dance breaks are identified by the period of the piece…these textual elements gave me permission to choreograph moments of actual dance, as opposed to conventional musical sequences.”

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Timothy Madden and the cast of Ruddigore | Photo by Christina Hallowell

Rebecca, on the other hand, was excited for a whole different aspect of the show. “I do a lot of Community Theater and high school shows, so I look forward to working with local singers and professional actors from away,” she said. “It’s refreshing for me to get a chance to work with the professional stage manager and the production team you get at a professional theater company like TAM.”

Adam agrees. “”Our process here is very accelerated, due to the talent and dedication of the cast,” he said. “It’s fun to just dive into something and commit eight hours right then and there…We have three weeks of rehearsal and then boom! We put the show together.”

“Something we’ve been doing in our three year commitment to Gilbert & Sullivan, “ said Adam. “is we’ve been trying to be really true to the style and storytelling of the show.”

Rebecca continued, “These shows are set in the exact period in which they were written. It’s a very classical take.” TAM audiences have come to really enjoy that classical feel.

Ruddigore or the Witch’s Curse opened September 18, but there are still 5 chances to see the show! Thursday, September 27 at 7:30PM, Friday, September 25 at 7:30PM, Saturday, September 26 at 1PM and 7:30PM and Sunday September 27 at 1PM. Visit theateratmonmouth.org/ruddigore or call 207.933.999 for tickets.

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