We have found the works of Gilbert and Sullivan to be perfect material for young people. They are basically staged cartoons combining wit and humor in an intelligent, stylistic presentation that young actors love to perform.
Miriam Jessie Butler has adapted each one of these operettas into play form so it can be performed without music. Simply by purchasing a copy of The Schirmer Vocal Score from a local music store, songs can be optionally added in the indicated places.
The Gilbert & Sullivan operettas were originally written to contain two-thirds music and one-third dialogue. Ms. Butler’s versions have been adapted to contain one-third music (if used) and the dialogue has been expanded to make up two-thirds more in the style of Broadway musicals. The short & medium time lengths are expanded with music.
Iolanthe is a slightly lesser known work of Gilbert & Sullivan’s, but perhaps their most charming. It poses the question, “What would happen if fairies intervened in our everyday lives?”
As the Fairy Troupe revels in the forest, they reflect on the fate of their sister Iolanthe who was banished 25 years ago for marrying a mortal.
“But Fairy revels are just not the same without our fairy sister, Iolanthe, so we sing her songs and dance her measures.” They beg the Fairy Queen to call Iolanthe back from the bottom of the stream where she now lives among the frogs. The Fairy Queen gives in to her Fairy Troupe and the fun begins.
Iolanthe lightly pokes fun at the British Parliament while mixing fairies with humans. In the end, the Lords of Parliament grow wings and fly away into the forest with the Fairy Troupe to escape the daily drill of Parliamentary procedure.
“A most graceful & effervescent work.”
-The Union Newspaper, Grass Valley, CA