Winter treat: Take a fun trip with Gondoliers

First a vocabulary lesson: A gondola is a lightweight narrow barge with ends that curve up into a point, propelled with a single oar from the stern, and used on the canals of Venice. A gondolier is someone who rows such a watercraft. You'll need to know these things in order to fully appreciate the title of New Lyric Theater's new Gilbert and Sullivan offering. Yes, I’m sure you have guessed it already: it’s The Gondoliers.
First performed on December 7, 1889, The Gondoliers, subtitled The King of Barataria, tells the story of Marco and Giuseppe, two just-married gondoliers, one of whom is the King of Barataria. The catch: No one knows which of the men is actually the king. As Barataria quickly needs a king to put down unrest in the country, both travel to the city without their wives to jointly reign until someone can figure out who the rightful king should be. 
To complicate matters, the King was secretly married– as an infant– to Casilda, daughter of the nearly penniless Duke of Plaza-Toro, who arrives with his family to establish his daughter as Queen, and himself as once-again wealthy.
Casilda is not interested in either of the two gondoliers, as she is in love with Luiz, the Duke’s personal attendant. Meanwhile, Marco’s and Giuseppe’s wives arrive, as does the Grand Inquisitor, along with the one person who can straighten this all out.
The Gondoliers is the fourth production of the New Lyric Theatre, which has previously presented The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and H.M.S. Pinafore. Returning as artistic director is Gweneth West, Associate Professor and Head of Costume Design in UVA’s Department of Drama. Costume design is by Kimberly G. Morris, with set design by Shawn Paul Evans, lighting design by Tracie A. Steger, and sound design by Chris Gelling.
The cast of nearly 30 features a host of regulars: John Carden as Marco, Dan Stern as Giuseppe, Wendy Novicoff and Kate Patrick as their respective wives, Doug Schneider as the Duke, Mary Sproles Martin as his Duchess, Deanna Dellaganna Sheedy as Casilda, Steve Mendenhall as Luiz, and David Zuby as the Grand Inquisitor.
"W.S. Gilbert’s clever lyrics and Arthur Sullivan’s fanciful music make this popular show the perfect winter treat for the whole family," says Greg Harris, founder of the company and the musical director for the operetta. You can enter the topsy-turvy world of G&S once the holidays are behind you; the show opens in January, but tickets are available now.

The Gondoliers plays January 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 at the Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center, PVCC, 501 College Road. 8pm with an additional matinee performance at 2pm on January 18. General admission tickets, $13-15, are available exclusively at all three Lloyd’s Hallmark Card & Gift Shop locations: Barracks Road, Pantops Shopping Center, and Fashion Square Mall. Tickets may also be purchased online at, at the door, or by mail from New Lyric Theatre, P.O. Box 1463, Charlottesville 22902. 977-7478.

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