The Hypocrites, one of Chicago’s most respected and most creative theatre companies, won rave reviews for its production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta H.M.S. Pinafore at the prestigious Actors Theater of Louisville in Kentucky. The production featured the talents of Columbia College Chicago teachers, students, and alumni.
The show, which ran November 17-December 13, featured musical direction and lighting design by Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department teachers Andra Velis Simon and Heather Gilbert respectively. Velis Simon also co-adapted this re-imagined version of the classic operetta, in which the cast members accompanied themselves on instruments. As the Louisville Courier-Journal’s rave review noted, “the actors’ talents in comedy are sweetened by their musical abilities, which fortify the production with grand energy and fun.”
The production put a topsy-turvy spin on Gilbert and Sullivan with cross-gender casting, turning traditionally male characters into female ones. The cast included Lauren Vogel, a senior in the Columbia College Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre. Vogel played “Dame Jo-Anne Porter,” a character derived from Gilbert and Sullivan’s original “Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty.” The Louisville Courier-Journal reviewer said that “Vogel gives a wonderfully over-the-top portrayal depicting pomposity in a silly and hilarious extreme.”
The cast also included Erik Schroeder, a teacher in Columbia’s Business & Entrepreneurship Department. The production’s stage manager was Gabriella Welsh (BA ’14), a graduate of the Theatre Department’s technical theatre program.