Ruddigore 2020 Cast

The Principals

Seth Tychon Šteidl – Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd … disguised as Robin Oakapple

Seth could not be happier to perform in his second production with the GSVLOC after 2016’s Iolanthe.  He has grown very found of Ruthven over the past few months and will “very properly” hold all-night laments following their inevitable dissolution.  Additional recent credits include Ashland Production’s Beauty & the Beast (Beast), Eagan Summer Community Theater’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Quasimodo), and Artistry’s The Secret Garden (Dickon Sowerby).  When not performing on stage, Seth is either singing / chanting in the choir of St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church or spending time with his wonderful wife, Sarah.  See if you can spot her long beautiful red hair among the Chorus of Bridesmaids!

 

Sarah Wind Richens – Rose Maybud

Sarah would like to take this opportunity to announce her retirement from the GSVLOC.  As a forty-five-year-old, she can no longer, in good conscience, play a seventeen-year-old.  Sarah’s first role with the GSVLOC was Rose Maybud at the Lake Harriet Bandshell summer performance of Ruddigore (2004).  She is very pleased that Rose Maybud is also her last role with the company, since it is her favorite soprano role in the entire repertoire.  Over the last sixteen years, Sarah has played a fairy in Iolanthe (2004), Lady Psyche in Princess Ida (2006), Yum-Yum in The Mikado (2007), Nekaya in Utopia, Limited (2008), a townsperson in The Sorcerer (2010), Patience in Patience (2012), Julia in The Grand Duke (2014), Phyllis in Iolanthe (2016), and Princess Ida in Princess Ida (2018).  At the Lake Harriet Bandshell summer performances, she also had the opportunity to play Peep-Bo in The Mikado (2006), Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (2008), Josephine in H.M.S Pinafore (2009), and Yum-Yum in The Mikado (2016).  In one of GSVLOC’s special performances, Sarah played Violetta Da Vinci in The Da Vinci Coda (2007).  In GSVLOC’s Fringe show, Trial by Jury (2015), she played a floozy (easiest role she ever played – all puns intended).  Sarah would like to thank her dear friends in the GSVLOC for being such a wonderful theater family over the years, and her husband Eric for still being married to her after all these shows.  She would also like to dedicate her performance as Rose Maybud to her sister Beth, who made her fall in love with theater in the first place.

 

Anthony Rohr – Richard Dauntless

Anthony is thrilled to be bringing to life Richard Dauntless, everyone’s favorite “incompetent imposter.”  A software engineer by day, Anthony holds a degree in Opera Performance from Luther College and moonlights as a classical singer.  His previous performances with the GSVLOC include Patience in 2012, The Yeoman of the Guard in 2013, Orpheus in the Underworld in 2017, Princess Ida in 2018 as Prince Hilarion, and most recently, The Mikado in 2019 as Franki Poo.

 

Lara Trujillo – Mad Margaret

Lara appeared most recently in the Ordway’s production of In the Heights, in the role of Camila, and in Joe Chvala’s production of Heaven, at Park Square Theater, in the role of Almira.  She was also seen at the Ordway in My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, at the Guthrie, with 7th House Theater Company, in The Passage, at the History Theater in River Road Boogie: The Augie Garcia Story and J.D. Steele’s Snapshots: Life in the City, at The Pantages in HAIR, as well as in productions with Minnesota Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, Theater Latte Da, Teatro del Pueblo, Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, Artistry and Mu Performing Arts.  Some of her favorite roles include The Witch in Into the Woods, Anita in West Side Story and Eva Peron in Evita.  Lara co-authored and appeared in a production of Theater: A Sacred Passage, with Full Circle Theater Company, for which she also serves as a Core Artist Group member.  This is Lara’s tenth appearance with the GSVLOC, having performed in previous productions of Iolanthe, The Yeomen of the Guard, Utopia, Limited, The Sorcerer, Orpheus in the Underworld and The Mikado.  This production marks her second appearance as Ruddigore’s Mad Margaret.  Lara has also appeared with the GSVLOC and the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, in concert versions of H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.  She is immensely grateful to her husband, Stephen, and to her family and friends who continually offer her their love, support, and encouragement.

 

Joe Allen – Sir Despard Murgatroyd

A GSVLOC company member grandparented by byzantine bylaws, this is Joe’s seventh main stage production!  You may have seen him onstage this past year in La Traviata with MN Opera; The Rape of Lucretia with Journey North OC; Ripcord with Sidekick Theater; 1940s Radio Christmas Carol with Lyric Arts; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change with The Duluth Playhouse; or touring MN/WI with Sciencetellers.  By day and night, Joe is constantly hustling as a full-time actor/singer/director/educator/bonus parent.  He is currently rocking the artistic/domestic/emotional support multi-class.  Joe enjoys video and tabletop gaming; reading books, articles, and journals; his bouldering and yoga practice at MBP; robust conversation/debate; constant heartmind work; being seven years behind on TV; politics of poverty and literacy; and constantly pushing himself and those he loves to grow.  Joe lives in North Minneapolis with his partner, Kelly, their two remarkable daughters, and two fantastic cats.  This Joe-of-all-trades is most fulfilled when lending his body, soul, voice, and mind to a generative and creative process.  UP NEXT: Rachmaninoff & Stravinsky with MN Chorale and MN Orchestra under Osmo Vanska; Directing and co-producing a new play by Phil Holt in the MN Fringe Festival.  Joe Allen (a note from last time, “heartmind” is one word.)

 

Deb Haas – Dame Hannah

Cast as a pirate (and understudy to Ruth) in The Pirates of Penzance at the tender age of twelve (her voice was lower than most of the males her age), Deb was bitten by the G&S bug too early to deny its siren song.  With “cat-like tread” she sought opportunities to express her inner battle-axe and was rewarded with the role of Katisha in the Saint Olaf College production of The Mikado.  The die was cast and Deb spent the following years pursuing her noble ambition, portraying spinsterish longing and desperation on stages from the United Kingdom to the United States.  This is her tenth show with the GSVLOC.

 

Scott Benson – Sir Roderic Murgatroyd

Thirty short years ago, Scott auditioned to be in Patience with the GSVLOC because they rehearsed near his house.  Several years ago, he moved.  How kind the GSVLOC was to accommodate him by moving its rehearsal space to less than a mile from his new home!  Scott has come to a point in his on-stage career where he’s actually close to the age of the characters he’s played since he was fourteen, when he played the town drunk.  Hopefully, playing a character in Ruddigore who has been dead for 10 years isn’t a bad omen.  By day, Scott is a lawyer and can confirm that “the law is the true embodiment of everything that’s excellent.”  Scott finally married in 2015, and even had music from Gilbert and Sullivan at the wedding … which seemed fitting given that he was marrying his comic foil from the 1990 production of Patience. (In hindsight, the title of the show takes on special significance.)

 

Sarah Mehle – Zorah

Sarah is delighted to be part of another show with the GSVLOC!  Sarah’s love for Gilbert & Sullivan was sparked as a child, when she discovered a trio of dusty VHS tapes in her parents’ basement (which included The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and Iolanthe).  This love only grew as Sarah began to perform, most recently as Pitti-Sing in The Mikado and as Lady Psyche in Princess Ida with the GSVLOC.  Sarah has also appeared as Angelina in Trial by Jury, Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte.  She has enjoyed performing in elementary schools with Lyric Opera of the North and Voyageurs, where she taught children about healthy habits and friendship in Little Bigfoot and the Bully and The Pirates of the Carrot Bean.  Outside of the realm of opera, Sarah spends her time adoring her beloved cat, Toulouse, enjoying British murder mysteries, and working on her children’s book featuring a cat detective.

 

Waldyn Benbenek – Old Adam

When Waldyn first did Ruddigore with the GSVLOC, he spent forty-five minutes on aging make-up.  This is no longer required even to play a character called “Old.”  Waldyn first listened to Ruddigore well before the advent of digital media, when the hottest songs came on forty-five singles with big holes.  These did not include songs from Ruddigore.  After a troubled youth of memorizing calculus theorems by singing them as patter songs, Waldyn washed up on the shores of Lake of the Isles.  He was one of the crowd that gathered in Dick Fishel’s basement over forty years ago to form the GSVLOC. Since then he has been playing various dissolute parts in most of the operettas produced by the company.  He has also appeared around town in various fly-by-night productions, still playing drunks and villains.  He once spent more time dead on stage than alive.  He is married to fellow performer Dr. Mary Mescher Benbenek, and they have three children.  When one of them was asked his father’s profession, he replied “opera singer.”  When Waldyn challenged that, his son replied, “Well, I can’t tell them you’re a computer programmer.  That’s too boring.”

 

Cassie Utt – Ruth

Cassie most recently appeared as Aldonza in Joe Chvala’s staging of Man of La Mancha.  She is thrilled to be working with the GSVLOC family again and memorably performed as a member of the Love Police in Orpheus in the Underworld and as Casilda in The Gondoliers.  Cassie is thrilled to be producing an immersive staging of Sullivan’s Cox and Box in partnership with GSVLOC!  The show will run from May 8th – 17th at a lovely house in nearby Northeast Minneapolis.

 

The Chorus

Mary Mescher Benbenek

Mary has performed with the GSVLOC intermittently for over thirty years.  She has graduated from playing a lithe, lovesick maiden and bridesmaid to a jaded townswoman and former bridesmaid who looks on, mostly fondly, to the chaotic happenings around her (although she is still lithe and dancing in her heart!)

 

Maggie Benham

Maggie is thrilled to be performing in her first show with the GSVLOC!  She was drawn to the stage from a young age performing with the Pittsburgh Opera Company and Pittsburgh Symphony as a child and teen before moving to the Twin Cities to pursue a degree in Vocal Performance and Theatre at the University of Northwestern, in Saint Paul.  After having dabbled in G&S music in college performing as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Maggie thought it was time to give this company a try!  In the last year, Maggie has performed with Lakeshore Players Theatre in Miracle on 34th Street and the Snow Queen, as well as Joe Chvala’s Man of La Mancha with MVCT.  She is pondering on taking the summer off to spend some much needed time with her partner-in-crime, Brandyn, hiking and soaking in some non-stage light.

 

Jim Brooks

Jim has had the pleasure and privilege of performing with the GSLVOC chorus for the past twenty-six years.  He has performed in all of the Gilbert and Sullivan collaborations, but he is still hoping that the company will present a restaging of their lost operetta Thespis.  When not doing G&S, Jim is the director of the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers and choreographs and calls contra dances at the Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis.  He is also an adjunct math professor at Concordia University – Saint Paul and likewise tutors high school and college students in mathematics throughout the Twin Cities. Jim’s wife Judy and daughter Julia have been faithful followers of the GSVLOC throughout the years.  They tolerate Jim’s intense rehearsal schedule each spring, but always bring friends and acquaintances with them to enjoy the shows.

 

Kelly Danger

Kelly lives with her dashing partner Joe Allen, two spectacular daughters, and two predictably enigmatic felines in their North Minneapolis ongoing-project … er …home.  Yes, her last name really is Danger, and no, she is not a superhero, nor villain. This is Kelly’s second appearance with GSVLOC and she is delighted to be reprising her stunning portrayal of 3rd Soprano on the Left from GSVLOC’s 2019 production of The Mikado, other roles of note include, Athena the Android in Artificial (2019 Fringe), Tessie Turra in Gypsy (Lakeshore Players), Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady (Morris Park Players), the titular role in Mary Poppins (SACT), Woman-Who’s-Skirt-is-Too-Tight-to-Get-up-the-Stairs in Rhinoceros (TRP), and First Sea Otter in Mrs. Wilcox’s 4th Grade production of the original play, Sea Creatures of the Pacific Northwest (She totally got an A on that project and got to wear her friend Laura’s grandmother’s fur coat which was amazing, even though she still sort of feels bad for all those mink).  Upcoming projects include Lychorida / Paulina in I with Things New Born (Open Stage Productions). Originally from the Seattle area, Kelly is reveling in the rich theatre community of the Twin Cities, but she should really take a break, after this show, and the other one she’s working on, then definitely a break, as long as nothing too exciting comes up, which it always does.  As always, thanks and love to Chris, Joe, Ayla, and Truly!

 

Jeff Erickson

Google defines Jeff D. Erickson as, “Did you mean: Chef de cuisine?” , Regardless, Jeff defines himself as thrilled to be returning for his third consecutive show with the GSVLOC, after appearing in The Mikado and Princess Ida.  You may have also recently seen him in The Most Happy Fella, with Skylark Opera Theatre, Man of La Mancha and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Toymaker), with Mounds View Community Theatre, and My Fair Lady (Henry Higgins) with Morris Park Players.  In his free time, Jeff enjoys singing (obviously), playing video games more than he should, playing the piano less than he should, watching terrible reality shows, and not using his Computer Science or French degrees in any way whatsoever.  Jeff is also very flattered that you think he looks 22.

 

Doug Freeman

Doug is happy to be back with the GSVLOC, with another Cats’ Reactions to His Practicing at Home report: they don’t much care about his spooky ghost antics, but they do scowl and run away when he gallops around as a Buck (or is it Blade?) — so overall, a success.  Doug has performed with the GSVLOC in The Mikado, Princess Ida, Orpheus in the Underworld, and The Gondoliers.  Over the years and across several states, he’s done all but three G&S operettas; he also enjoys musicals (Narrator / Mysterious Man in Into the Woods and El Gallo in The Fantasticks, both with Eat Street Players), opera (Leporello in Don Giovanni with Twin Cities Fringe Opera; Dr. Gibbs in Ned Rorem’s Our Town with Skylark Opera), and an occasional straight play (Harold in The Boys in the Band).

 

Clyde Gerber

Clyde is excited to be performing in his sixth GSVLOC show, having previously appeared in Patience ‘12, The Grand Duke ’14, Iolanthe ’16, Orpheus in the Underworld ’17 and The Mikado ‘19.  While he occasionally has to do a song and dance at his job as a Software Development Manager, he counts himself very fortunate to actually sing and dance with this talented cast and crew!

 

Mary Gregory

This is Mary’s third production of Ruddigore with the GSVLOC. Her script is marked with notes from different directors, each of whom had ideas for making the show fun for audiences and actors alike.  Mary hopes that this production brings joy and laughter to you as you watch the director’s ideas come to life on stage.  Off stage, Mary works at Tamarack Nature Center as a Naturalist preschool teacher, helping children explore and learn through play.  She is also learning a new role as Grandmary to her grandson.  Inside Mary’s Ruddigore script is a picture drawn in 1995 by her then 4 year old daughter.  It is a portrait of Mary, with a big heart, smiling.  It shows how much she loved performing this melodramatic romp back then … and also how much she loves performing for you now, with old friends and new.

 

Stephen Hage

Stephen’s lifelong passion for Gilbert and Sullivan began in the eighth grade when he was cast as Sir Joseph Porter in his middle school’s production of H.M.S. Pinafore and it has carried him through the years that have followed to this staging of Ruddigore … his fortieth appearance in a G&S production …  but then, who’s counting!?  Stephen also serves the company as Producer.  He has performed with Artistry and as a supernumerary with Minnesota Opera and Mill City Summer Opera.  Stephen particularly enjoys the opportunities that performing in the opera provides him … to carry spears or bottles of wine, to flirt with or to menace world famous sopranos … usually in different operas … and to be killed in battle … sometimes several times in the same opera!  In addition to performing on stage, Stephen has begun a new venture into the world of film and has appeared in a number of feature films, short films, commercials and videos in roles ranging from principal to extra.  By day, he is responsible for Human Resources for the Orion Associates organization of companies, which he does with his wonderful staff of Human Resources professionals, all the while enjoying far too many cups of coffee.  Stephen dedicates this, and all that he does, to his delightful daughters, Lyndsay, Madeleine and Maya … to his sweet son, Liam … and to his lovely and loving wife, Lara.

 

Gabe Heffernan

Gabe always wished to be in a Gilbert and Sullivan production since hearing their wonderful music in England at age six.  He is finally fulfilling that wish with the GSVLOC!  Last year, he appeared in The Tale of the Bloody Benders at Minnesota Fringe and in The Comedy of Errors at Theatre in the Round. During the day, Gabe works at a Montessori school, dreams of artistic projects and laughs at life’s ebullience.  His whimsy is inspired by travel, voracious reading, drawing, writing stories and poetry.  Among his many adventures and wearing whimsical socks, Gabe has thoroughly enjoyed Minnesota and the lively theatre community in the Twin Cities.

 

Rylan Hefner

Rylan is absolutely thrilled to be performing with the GSVLOC for the first time!  He first fell in love with the works of G&S in second grade, when, after seeing his school’s performance of The Pirates of Penzance, he went home and memorized the entire Major-General’s Song.  Now, nine years later, he is finally singing “particularly rapid unintelligible patter” onstage!  Rylan recently played Pierre in The Madwoman of Chaillot, and will be performing in Saint Paul Academy’s production of CHICAGO this spring.  In his almost-non-existent free time, Rylan loves to play the violin and piano, tap dance, and write music.  He would like to thank Joe Andrews and Randal Buikema for casting him in the production, and for making his first experience with the GSVLOC an enjoyable and rewarding one.  Rylan would especially like to thank his parents for all of their support, and for putting up with his constant patter-singing back in second grade.

 

Shawn Holt

This is Shawn’s second time performing in Ruddigore.  The first time she was in Ruddigore, she was a bridesmaid.  This time Shawn returns as a wizened and hopefully successful pub owner.  Shawn lives in Shoreview with her husband Phil, daughter Amanda, and cat Shadow.  She hopes you enjoy the show!

 

Alvin Kim

This is Alvin’s first time performing with the GSVLOC and he is very excited to be part of the group.  This is also his first time performing a G&S opera and has found it surprisingly more difficult to memorize words in English than Italian!  Other works in which Alvin has performed include Die Zauberflöte, Le Nozze di Figaro, L’Orfeo, Die Fledermaus, and The Merry Widow.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in Music / Vocal Performance from Luther College.  Aside from music, he enjoys cooking and hosting dinner parties, correcting the grammar of internet trolls, and playing table-top games like Magic: The Gathering.

 

Dean Laurance

Warren Loud, the Company’s only other octogenarian, once said on stage, “I am still here.”  Well, Dean is still here.  Dean, Charlotte Morrison and Waldyn Benbenek are the last three members of the original cast of GSVLOC in 1979 who are still performing.  Ruddigore marks the third time that Dean has been cast as a priest.  Type casting?

 

Danielle Long

A transplant to Minnesota from Illinois, Danielle received her Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance from Saint Olaf College.  While in attendance, she performed with the Saint Olaf Lyric Theatre in Candide, Der Vampyr, Albert Herring, and Fabrizio’s Comet.  After graduating, she remained in Minnesota to study voice with a beloved mentor, Audrey Stottler, to whom she dedicates this performance.  During this time, she performed with Northern Starz Children’s Theater, Lakeshore Players Theater, and the Guthrie Theater.  She continues to compete in local competitions and give recitals around the Minneapolis / Saint Paul area.  Danielle has continued her work with local theaters in roles such as Rachel Crabbe in One Man, Two Guvnors with Expressions Theater, Roxane in Cyrano de Bergerac with the Merrill Arts Center, and as Mad Margaret’s understudy and a chorus member in Ruddigore with the GSVLOC.  When not singing, Danielle teaches yoga, dances Flamenco, and tends bar at 112 Eatery.  Danielle is grateful for all the support she has received from her friends, family, and mentors.  She is excited to be making her debut with GSVLOC and hopes everyone enjoys the show!

 

Adam Lowe

A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Adam has enjoyed a varied career which has seen him perform as a trombonist with orchestras, acting the classic works of Shakespeare, tap dancing in Cole Porter, singing in opera houses, and everything in between.  This diverse education has gifted him with strong theatrical and musical gifts which he channels now into his true passion of opera.  His most recent credits include The Lead Tenor in a Premiere of a previously unreleased Cole Porter show La revue des ambassadeurs, stepping in for an ailing Don José in Mill City Summer Opera’s Carmen, Gastone in Capitol Opera Harrisburg’s La Traviata, Don Jose in Opera Western Reserve’s mini mainstage production of Carmen and The Witch in University of Akron’s staging of Hansel and Gretel.

 

Anna Maher

This is Anna’s sixth trip around Howard Conn with the GSVLOC. She also serves as the Women’s Chorus Representative to the Board, and helps produce GSVLOC cabarets.  You may also see her singing with Minnesota Chorale, and at Opera on Tap and OperaTease.  By day, she is a fundraiser and general patriarchy smasher for Planned Parenthood North Central States, and enjoys talking back at her cat, Mabel.  She would like to thank Sarah Mehle for generally being a goddess and fabulous “overstudy.”

 

Wendy Matsutani

Wendy is so excited to be back performing with the GSVLOC!  A sunny So-Cal girl at heart, Wendy completed her Bachelors of Music at UC Santa Barbara before receiving her Masters of Music from the University of Minnesota.  Most recent and favorite credits include: OperaTease (JNOC), Caught (Full Circle Theatre Company), and of course singing in The Mikado and Princess Ida with the SVLOC.  2020 is an especially exciting year as she and her fiancé are planning their May wedding. Wendy is so grateful for the support of the amazing cast and production team who have made this experience so fun.  We hope you enjoy the show!

 

Kali McMillan

Kali is a fun-loving southern gal / podcast-oholic / DIY enthusiast, recently relocated to the Twin Cities area!  She pursued theatre and music at Berry College, a tiny liberal arts school in northwest Georgia, and since graduating, has worked for assorted and sundry companies doing everything from children’s theatre, to film, to Shakespeare.  In her spare time, Kali likes to unabashedly binge watch TV with her beau and check out more books at the library than she can possibly read before they’re due.  This is her fourth professional venture here in the Cities, and she is thrilled to be working with the GSVLOC!  She would like to thank her family for always supporting her in every single one of her crazy endeavors, and Evan Lee for being the very best soup snake a girl could ask for.

 

Blanka Melbostad

Blanka is delighted to be back performing with the GSVLOC team.  She was most recently seen as Bow Peep in the GSVLOC’s production of The Mikado.  Her previous performances with GSVLOC include The Gondoliers, Orpheus In The Underworld and Princess Ida.  As always, she is incredibly grateful to be part of such a supportive and talented cast and looks forward to many more GSVLOC opportunities in the future.

 

Charlotte Morrison

Charlotte had no idea when she attended the second rehearsal (ever) of the GSVLOC that she would spend the next forty years of her life shortening her winters by pursuing Gilbert and Sullivan.  She has served on the company’s Board as Treasurer and Chorus Representative and has had the dubious honour of managing the box office for many years.  Charlotte’s original introduction to G&S was in high school as a member of the jury in Trial by Jury.  She has performed with the GSVLOC in all of the operettas written by Gilbert & Sullivan as well as in Orpheus in the Underworld the first time GSVLOC produced it. During the off-season she enjoys singing with the Saint Mark’s Cathedral Choral Society, travel (including sailing in Greece, Turkey, Croatia, and New Zealand), pursuits, and has been lucky enough to have visited all seven continents.

 

John Orbison

When John first joined the GSVLOC chorus on stage in 2006, he little thought to what a pass it would bring him, but here he is making his second appearance in Ruddigore with the GSVLOC, and he is pleased to have progressed from a defunct bishop who grumbles unintelligibly to the eldest ghost (Rupert!) who moans unintelligibly.  He hopes he is a steady brother to Jean Orbison Van Heel, GSVLOC Assistant Music Director, who lured him to the stage fourteen years ago (and his four other sisters, too), and a Good Old Man to his adult kids Tom and Ann, who have endured large doses of G&S over the years.  Following the 2009 Ruddigore, he acted upon his heart’s dictates, overcoming a diffident nature to ask Holly MacDonald, the alto chorus member (now cellist in the orchestra) with whom he had been paired onstage, out.  The nuptial knot was tied more than nine years ago, and when he embraces his bride he is happier than any.

 

Eric Pasternack

In real life, Eric is a petrophysicist, gradually sliding into retirement.  Nobody knows what a petrophysicist does, so he does other more recognizable things for fun, such as singing the second tenor part in the GSVLOC chorus and doing whatever the director tells him to do on stage.  Eric’s first G&S experience was in 1963 as Jack Point in The Yeomen of the Guard.  Despite that auspicious start, he stayed off the stage for thirty years before joining the chorus of the (late) Texas Gilbert & Sullivan Company from 1994 to 1998.  He joined the GSVLOC in 2000 after moving to the great state of Minnesota. Since then he has been on stage in nineteen GSVLOC productions at the Howard Conn Theater, and is happy to be reprising the role of townsperson in Ruddigore.  (Note for the curious: a petrophysicist evaluates data from oil and gas wells in order to determine how much oil and gas is really down there. Now you know).

 

Richard Rames

Richard enjoys “singing choruses in public” and has appeared in the chorus of almost every performance of the GSVLOC at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center since the first production of Patience in 1980.  He also sings regularly in other groups, including the Saint Mark’s Cathedral Choral Society and the Heinrich Schütz Winetasting Homeschool, as well as singing along with his player piano.  This is his fourth production of Ruddigore.

 

Lowell Rice

Lowell is excited to be part of his first show with the GSVLOC. Gilbert and Sullivan have long held a special place in his heart, every since seeing The Pirates of Penzance at the age of three. It was the first stage production he had seen, and his parents swear he sat still though the whole show!  In more recent times, he graduated from Bethel University with a degree in Theatre Arts and performed in a number of community theatre productions.  Most recently he was a Muleteer in Man of La Mancha at Mounds View Community Theatre.

 

Sarah Shervey

Sarah is thrilled to be in her fourth show with the GSVLOC as a Bridesmaid.  She splits her time in the theater world as a performer and teacher.  Sarah is loving her current endeavor as the musical teaching artist with the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program on an inclusion project musical review.  Some of Sarah’s favorite acting credits in include, Love’s Labour’s Lost the Musical (Princess), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), The Little Mermaid (Ariel), and The Last Five Years (Cathy).  Sarah is excited to work with this amazing cast and production staff, but even more excited to watch her incredibly talented and equally hilarious husband shine as Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd.  Feel free to laugh out loud and enjoy!

 

Thomas Sonneman

Thomas is excited to be involved with the GSVLOC’s production of Ruddigore.  He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Theatre Arts degree who has been working and living the struggling actor life in the Twin Cities.  He was most recently in the MN Fringe Festival 2019 production UStopiA.  Prior to that, Thomas has worked for the Paul Bunyan Playhouse as a carpenter and actor in 9 to 5.

 

Rhea Sullivan

Rhea has played many chorus roles over the years with the GSVLOC, but this year’s role provides a special challenge. Rhea, normally an optimist with a sunny smile, is playing Widow Wells – a wailing widow whose husband has died in a mysterious fishing accident.  This year, instead of wielding a parasol or a bouquet, she is carrying an embroidered hanky to soak up her tears.  (She also is no stranger to a mug of ale from the Rederring pub, Schwenck’s.)  Rhea, a neophyte retiree, is thoroughly enjoying her new lifestyle.  She is now a member of the Voices of Experience choir at MacPhail.  This marks Rhea’s thirty-eighth year with the GSVLOC and her third production of Ruddigore.

 

Lydia Wildes

Lydia is thrilled to be back performing with the GSVLOC after appearing in The Gondoliers, The Mikado, and a workshop of La Belle Helene.  During the day, Lydia works as a private piano / voice instructor, and as the middle school theatre teacher and director at Minnehaha Academy.  After a long day of teaching children how to be good humans, she enjoys the adult interaction she finds at rehearsal with her lovely cast mates. Lydia also dabbles in music directing and producing, and she is looking forward to music directing Newsies this summer with Bunce Backyard Productions.

 

Holly Windle

Although not cast as one of the bridesmaids in this production, Holly played one in the first GSVLOC Ruddigore in 1983.  This was after earlier GSVLOC bridesmaid experience in Trial by Jury.  Since then, she has gone on to portray the various roles available to female chorus members in the G&S canon, with a few minor leads along the way.  Her theatrical diet of Victorian operettas has been supplemented by occasional roles with Theatre in the Round, Daytrippers Dinner Theatre, Gadfly, Uprising Theatre, and others.  Her hobbies include solving British cryptic crossword puzzles, worrying about the world, and wearing rhinestone earrings.