North Central stages the witty, fanciful opera “Iolanthe”

Jul 01, 2013

North Central College’s Summer Light Opera presents the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera “Iolanthe” in July and features actors from the community.

Six performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. July 12, 13 and 18-20 and at 2 p.m. July 14 in North Central’s theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. Tickets are $15/adults and $10/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

“Iolanthe,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s seventh collaboration, is a witty and fanciful tale of renegade fairy princesses and lovestruck judges. When fairy mistress Iolanthe—banished by the Fairy Queen for marrying a human—returns from her exile, she finds herself tangled in a web of love, magic and complicated fairy laws as she attempts to unite two human lovers, Strephon and Phyllis, who are under the control of the powerful Lord Chancellor.

“Iolanthe” is directed by Matt Boresi with musical direction by Jeordano Martinez and features dozens of community residents in the cast. Boresi, a 1997 alumnus of North Central College, is an award-winning librettist who serves as an acting and writing instructor for North Central’s Musical Theatre Workshop. Martinez is professor of music emeritus at North Central College and conducts the 125-voice Naperville Chorus.

“I’ve looked forward to directing ‘Iolanthe’ for quite some time,” says Boresi. “It has a lot of juicy roles for women and fun activity for the female choristers, which can’t always be said of Gilbert and Sullivan works. This opera is a beautiful piece, and very funny, with satire of Wagnerian music and all the rollicking numbers you’d expect from Sullivan. I doubt most people in the area have seen it and we look forward to sharing it with the community.”

The North Central College Summer Light Opera program is now in its fifth year. Boresi and Martinez previously presented “Princess Ida,” “The Mikado,” “HMS Pinafore” and “The Gondoliers.” The cast of “Iolanthe” includes students from a number of colleges and conservatories, voice teachers, early career professional performers and opera enthusiasts from all walks of life.

The cast of principal roles (some are double cast) for “Iolanthe” includes (part: name and hometown):

Iolanthe: Jessica Coffey of Plainfield and North Central senior, Aundrea Wells of Bolingbrook
Phyllis: Kelsey Vandenberg of Davenport, Iowa, and North Central senior; Melissa Carrico of Plainfield and North Central senior
Strephon: Nathan Henry of Plainfield, Nick Loos of Lombard and 2012 North Central alumnus
Queen of the Fairies: Jen Berosek of Streator and 2008 North Central alumna, Jenelle Hicks of Plainfield
Celia: Jenny Reuz of Downers Grove
Leila: Abby Stark of Bolingbrook and 2010 North Central alumna
Lord Chancellor: Joseph Meyers of Downers Grove
Lord Mountararat: Stan Austin of Wheaton, Jon Warfel of Naperville and lecturer of music at North Central
Lord Tolloller: Adam Westell of Naperville, John Blasdel of Naperville
Private Willis: Richard Laidman of Naperville, Keith Aarseth of West Chicago
Fleta: Kristyn Szwajka of Westmont

“Iolanthe” is the one of three musicals this summer at North Central College. The final musical of the summer is “Peter Pan,” directed by Brian Lynch and presented July 26-28 and Aug. 2-4.

North Central College’s 2013-2014 Fine and Performing Arts Season is partially sponsored by USG Corporation and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Season supporters include BMO Harris, Bulley & Andrews, Casa by Charleston, Grant Thornton, J.P. Morgan, Main Street Promenade, Marquette Properties, Nicor Gas, Ryan Hill Realty, Turner Construction Company, U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve and Water Street Development.