Iolanthe 1998

July 11, 12, 1998

This performance was the first summer concert in which the cast was composed entirely of members of the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company.  Vern Sutton and his colleagues had elected not to continue doing Gilbert and Sullivan operetta concerts with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.  There was, therefore, no concert in the summer of 1997.  The following year, Jere Lantz and the Company discussed and agreed to an arrangement by which the Company would provide the entire cast, including both principals and chorus, for the production.  Since then, all subsequent concerts have been done only with casts from the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company.

While the cast was composed entirely of members of the Company, we didn’t actually have a record of who was in that cast and could only recall a few of the cast members!  While we had little hope that it would ever happen, the posting on this website page said, “Perhaps, someday, one of us will find an old program of the concert, saved as a memento, and we’ll be able to fill in the blanks!”

In 2013, our friend, long-time and founding Company member, Peter Erickson passed away.  Peter had been, for many years, considered to be the Company’s unofficial historian, and in his effects, given to the Company by his parents, was a sizable collection of company records, including show programs, dating back to the Company’s founding.  As it happened, one of the programs that Peter had saved was the one for this summer concert.  As a result and thanks to Peter, we now can share exactly who sang in that concert presentation of Iolanthe.


The cast for this concert production of Iolanthe included:

The Lord Chancellor Matt Dolph
Lord Mountararat Waldyn Benbenek
Lord Tolloler Joe Andrews
Strephon Don Barbee
The Fairy Queen Lisa Drew
Phyllis Zoe Carroll
Iolanthe Tamara Norden
Leila Kathryrn Larsen
Celia Mary Gregory

Chorus of Fairies

Janice Barbee, Mary Mescher Benbenek, Adena Brumer, Karly Christensen, Diane Friebe, Kathy Hering, Barb Hovey, Holly MacDonald, Carol Manning, Carol Paulsen, Ellen Sorenson, Margaret Sullivan, Kristin Root Tobertson, Patricia Ward, Jean Van Heel, Susan Volkmer

Chorus of House of Lords of Great Britain

Scott Benson, Tony Blackwood, Mike Campbell, Peter Erickson, Roger Evans, Stephen Hage, Chris Hibma, Dean Laurance, Randy Lebsock, Todd Lilgenquist, Warren Loud, Kris Lysne, John Orbison, Richard Rames, Scott Sandberg, Gordon Staff, Jim Streich, Jack Stuckmayer

Artistic Director

Wendy Evans

Dialogue Adaption

Lesley Hendrickson


Jere Lantz

The following alternate lyric second verse of “Oh, Foolish Fay” was written by Holly Windle and performed by Lisa Drew, as The Fairy Queen, during our 1998 Summer Concert performance of Iolanthe, on the shores of Lake Harriet.

On fire that glows
    With heat intense
I turn the hose
    Of common sense,
And out it goes
    At small expense.
We must maintain
    Our fairy rule.
I’d even drain
    This limpid pool —
Of all the chain
    Of lakes the jewel.

Oh, lovely lake,
    Drown fervor’s flame and bury it.
Your waters drench, but cannot quench
    My passion great, Lake Harriet!