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KDEN presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘Ruddigore’

Ten years ago, Kilauea Drama &Entertainment Network brought the magic of Gilbert &Sullivan’s operettas back to the East Hawaii with “Pirates of Penzance.”

Since then, the theatre troupe presented “The Mikado,” “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “Patience”.

This summer, KDEN presents the G&S operetta “Ruddigore; or The Witch’s Curse.”

The Witch’s Curse refers to a curse placed on Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, the First Baronet of Ruddigore, who tortured witches. As revenge, a curse was placed on the family, requiring the current baronet to commit a crime every day or die.

“As with all Gilbert and Sullivan, the plot revolves around duty and doing what is expected of you,” said director Suzi Bond. “This one has ancestors that come to life from the paintings on the wall to torture the current Baronet of Ruddigore. The plots are hard to follow, but so much fun.”

Part of the plot includes the actual 22nd baronet, Ruthven (Byron Karr), who is thought to be dead, but is hiding out in town so his brother, Despard (Stephen Bond) has the title and the curse.

Into town comes their foster brother, Richard Dauntless (Chris Tomich), who reveals Ruthven is alive.

Ruthven is in love with Rose Maybud (Corey Yester), but is too shy to tell her. He enlists the help of Richard to woo Rose, but struck by her beauty, he proposes to Rose.

The other main characters are: Despard’s love Mad Margaret (Stephanie Becher); Dame Hannah (Kathy Frankovic), who was in love with the 21st Baronet, Roderic (Dick Hershberger), and has sworn eternal maidenhood; and Ruthven’s faithful servant, Adam (Paul Porter).

“If you have never experienced Gilbert and Sullivan, come and enjoy this show,” Bond said.

There is also a chorus of professional bridesmaids led by Zorah (Kait Wilson) and Ruth (Mim Tincher), the gentry in town, and the ancestors.

Chorus members include Simone Alexa, Lauris Aragon-Mata, Arlene Araki, Sawyer Becher, Aislinn Carroll, Julia Cellini, Andy Colberg, Jessie Coney, Allison Cornett, Erin Gallagher, Katie Kluzak, Galen Larson, Elizabeth Mulliken, Kathy Mulliken, Dawn Pelletier, Hayley Pereira, Asia Ring, Helie Rock, Michael Stevens, Briana Tucker-Archie, and Elizabeth Young.

The 18-piece orchestra is conducted by Armando Mendoza. Chris Tomich is the vocal director and Walter Greenwood and Kait Wilson are the accompanists.

This summer’s budget is not as large as for some of KDEN’s past productions, and some ingenuity was required to produce the show, according to Bond.

“The set, designed by local artist Jonathan Sudler, is put together with pieces from past shows. Our biggest expense is paint,” she said. “All the costumes are recycled and altered, save for some wonderful pieces acquired by the cast or custom made for the actors by Douglas Wayman. Fortunately, the costumes owned by KDEN, the University of Hawaii at Hilo Performing Arts Department, and the Hilo Community Players, are varied enough that we could find most of what we needed in stock.

“That, plus the fact that Gilbert &Sullivan plays are public domain, and all the volunteer hours being put in by cast, crew, and orchestra make this an economical show. This show will debut our new sound system which was purchased with a grant from the Atherton Family Foundation.”

“Ruddigore; or, The Witch’s Curse” opens July 11 and runs through July 27 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees at Kilauea Military Camp’s Kilauea Theater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for students and seniors 60 and older, and $10 for children 12 and younger. They are available at Kilauea General Store in Volcano, Keaau Natural Foods and The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo.

Reservations can be made by calling 982-7344.

For more information, call the above number, email or visit KDEN’s Facebook page.


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