The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin

Iolanthe / 2009
Austin Gilbert & Sullivan devotees were entranced by the Summer 2009 Grand Production of Iolanthe; or, the Peer and the Peri - with nine performances by a sparkling cast and orchestra, June 11-21. This fanciful comedy, considered by many to combine Sullivan's finest opera compositions with another of Gilbert's comic plots and his witty and waggish dialogue, delighted patrons of all ages.
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("eye-oh-LAN-thee") presented a topsy-turvy love story involving fairies and members of the House of Lords - a political fairy tale that only Gilbert & Sullivan could conceive.

Artistic Director Ralph MacPhail, Jr. and Musical Director Jeffrey Jones-Ragona once again presented an unforgettable Gilbert & Sullivan classic musical comedy, with one of Sir Arthur Sullivan's most beautiful scores along with rousing choruses.

Beautiful costuming and set design transported audiences to a colorful fairyland - where British noblemen encountered lovelorn fairies from a golden glen - followed by these immortal beings invading the Houses of Parliament in London - with Big Ben chiming in the havoc. Tantantara! Tzing, boom!

Performances were held at the Travis High School Performing Arts Center. The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin thanks all the performers, the Gillman Light Opera Orchestra, sponsors, volunteers, and Society members for making this year's show a treasure to behold.

First performed in 1882, Iolanthe is one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s fourteen musicals, and is universally regarded as one of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s most beautiful scores - a high water mark in terms of music, wit, cleverness, and color.

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2009 B. Iden Payne Awards
B. Iden Payne AwardsCongratulations to Artistic Director Ralph and Arthur DiBianca for their B. Iden Payne Award nominations. Ralph was nominated in the Outstanding Dance Choreographer category, while Arthur - The Lord Chancellor - was nominated as Outstanding Featured Actor in Music Theater.
After Iolanthe, a fairy, commits the capital offense of marrying a mortal, she is banished from Fairyland for life. She gives birth to their son, Strephon, who, as a result, is half mortal, half fairy. After the Queen of the Fairies, who is fond of Iolanthe, agrees to pardon her, Iolanthe announces that her son Strephon will soon be married to Phyllis, an Arcadian shepherdess.

Problems occur when it turns out that every member of the House of Lords is also in love with Phyllis. The Lords and Phyllis happen upon a meeting between Strephon and his mother (who still looks seventeen) and the Lords convince Phyllis that Strephon is being unfaithful.

The fairies punish the Lords by sending Strephon to Parliament and casting a spell that makes all the peers pass any bill that Strephon wants. Phyllis soon forgives him and the two are once again in love. After the Lords complain to the fairies about Strephon's success, the fairies end up falling in love with them.

In the end, the Queen of Fairies changes the law banning fairies from marrying mortals. Thus, each fairy ends up marrying a peer, while the Queen marries a Grenadier Guard, Private Willis.
The Lord Chancellor Arthur DiBianca
Earl of Mountararat David Fontenot
Earl Tolloller Andy Fleming
Private Willis Russell Gregory
Strephon Derek Smootz
Queen of the Fairies Lisa Alexander
Iolanthe June Julian
Celia Natalie Wilemon
Fleta Katherine Wiggins
Leila Patricia Combs
 Phyllis Meredith Ruduski
 Chorus of Fairies Kate Clark
  Angela Irving
  Karlyn McCutchan
  Rebecca Stokinger
  Diana VandeWater
  Nancy Arnold
  Rachel Boissevain
  Ashley Edwards
Chorus of Peers Mark Long
  John Lopez
  Louis Ontko
  Ariel Rios
  Jay Chacon
  Daniel Gaskell
  Randall McIntyre
  Paul Nixon
  Tom Westrup
  Bob Wolff
  Jay Young
Train Bearer Dirk Yaple
Click to listen
to KMFA 89.5FM's Classical Austin. Dianne Donovan talks with Ralph MacPhail, Jr. and Jeffrey Jones-Ragona.
Iolanthe Playbill
Click to view Playbill
Austin American-Statesman Review
Austin Chronicle Review
Media Information
Press Release (pdf)
Press Photo 1 (jpeg)
Press Photo 2 (jpeg)
Recent Summer Productions
The Pirates of Penzance - 2008
Ruddigore - 2007

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin

PO Box 684542 / Austin, Texas / 78768-4542 / 512.472.4772 /

This project is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at