Homepage   People   Places    Plays      Site Map   

Gilbert & Sullivan

Patience   Pinafore   Pirates   Mikado

NY, Feby 6th/ [18]90  Last night I and Mrs. Dolman went to see the Gondoliers [Gilbert & Sullivan, 1889].  We liked it very much.  But it is not Pinafore or Patience.  This is the last week of the Gondoliers at the Park [Theatre, Brooklyn ].  But a new company will play it at "Palmer's Theater" commencing on 10th or 17th.  In the present "cast "the voices are not strong enough for the music.

I met Mr. Wm Palmer at the Madison Square Theater yesterday, and he asked me if I had seen the Gondoliers.  I told him I had not -- He said "Well, why don't you go"?  I said, "Nobody has asked me".  "I ask you now", said he.  "And will give you the order now."  He did, and I went.  It was my second visit to a theater this winter, 

Arthur Fanshon and EP Nickinson [aged about 6] in The Mikado [Middletown NY] circa 1896

The Gondoliers or The King of Barataria opened December 7, 1889 at the Savoy Theatre  [London] One of two just-married gondoliers is the King of Barataria, but no one knows which one. As Barataria needs a king to put down unrest in the country, they travel there to reign jointly, leaving their wives behind. A fine romp, with lots of bright music and dancing.   http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/gondoliers/html/gondoliers_home.html

On January 13, 1890, [Patrick William] Halton conducted the First American production of The Gondoliers, at the Park Theatre in New York.  A weak cast spelled disaster, and Carte himself witnessed the performance (and empty seats) on January 28.  He immediately cabled London for replacements.  A new production was launched on February 18, 1890, at Palmer’s Theatre, and was much better received.  "PW Halton" (1841-1909) D'Oyly Carte Opera Company  http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/whowaswho/H/HaltonPW.htm

The Gondoliers review, London, 1889  http://www.sharkli.com/savoy/gondoliers/gon1.html
Gondoliers Original costumes http://www.sharkli.com/savoy/gondoliers/gon1.html
Writing the Gondoliers, excerpts from Sullivan's diary http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~melbear/potted6.htm#diary

Patience [1881]
Home Page http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/patience/html/patience_home.html Opened April 23, 1881, Opera Comique, London.  
Satirized Oscar Wilde   

Did EJ Phillips meet and/or hear Oscar Wilde speak in New York in 1882?  
Did she come across him as he prepared for Vera the Nihilist at the Union Square Theatre?

Patience notes, G&S archive http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/patience/html/notes.htmlPatience discussion, Gilbert & Sullivan archive http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/patience/discussion/wilde.html

HMS Pinafore [1878] 
Homepage http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/html/pinafore_home.html  
Opened May 28, 1878, Opera Comique, London
New York premiere, 1879 http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/albm67.html
Pinafore Mania, John Kendrick, G&S101  http://www.musicals101.com/gilbert2.htm 

Historian's note http://hcs.harvard.edu/~hrgsp/productions/pir96/pir96hist.htm 
Details of copyright infringements and the multiplicity of Pinafore companies which led to the New York premiere

Pirates of Penzance [1879]
Premiered at the  Fifth Ave. Theater, New York Opened Dec. 31, 1879  http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/albm66.html

The Mikado [1885 US]
There was so much interest in this Gilbert and Sullivan play that Sydney Rosenfeld wanted his production to be the first in the United States. Rosenfeld rushed the presentation to beat out rival theaters and the show first ran on July 20, 1885 at the Union Square Theater. His celebration was cut short as an injunction was obtained to stop further performances and Rosenfeld was jailed for "unauthorized production.” After its “official debut” at the Fifth Avenue Theater  on August 19, it went on to dominate the 1885-86 season and achieved critical success amid an atmosphere rife with competing performances and legal battles.   

The play focuses on the disguised son of a Mikado who agrees to be beheaded in exchange for permission to spend a month married to the woman he loves. Its famous score includes the song Willow, tit-Willow and the play flourished at a time when there was a penchant for things oriental. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA02/volpe/theater/theater/plays.html 

See the Madison Square Portland Oregon 1890 playbill  

To that point, Mikado had one of the longest runs in New York Theater at 250 performances. It was followed by the production of new version, widely considered to be inferior to the original, which moved on to play in Chicago. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA02/volpe/theater/theater/Mikado.doc.

Bibliography  Gilbert & Sullivan archive http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/
William S. Gilbert biography, Andrew Crowther, 1997 http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ajcrowth/wsglife.htm
Kendrick, John, G&S 101 The Gilbert and Sullivan Story, 2002-2003  http://www.musicals101.com/gilbert.htm 

Last updated Feb. 19, 2005

Homepage   People   Places    Plays      Site Map