Community actors star in two rarely performed Gilbert & Sullivan works

Jun 08, 2015

North Central College’s Summer Light Opera presents the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas “Utopia, Limited” and “The Grand Duke” in June.

Six performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. June 19-20 and 26-27 and at 2 p.m. June 21 and 28 in North Central’s Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Tickets are $18/adults and $12/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

“Utopia, Limited” and “The Grand Duke” represent the final two, rarely performed collaborations by Gilbert and Sullivan. Both have very funny scenes and delightful songs. Too long to be presented in their entirety, they’ve been streamlined by director Matt Boresi and musical director Jeordano Martinez, who have framed both presentations with explanations of their history.

“Utopia Limited” is set on the fictional South Sea island Utopia and satirizes British imperialism. “The Grand Duke” concerns a monarch, or a Duchy that’s ruled by a despot, and the members of a theatre company who conspire against the despot.

“The cast of ‘Utopia, Limited’ and ‘The Grand Duke’ feature a dedicated troupe of rising professionals, music teachers and gifted amateurs who are dedicated to bringing this very funny material to life,” says Boresi.

This is the seventh year Boresi and Martinez have directed North Central’s Summer Light Opera. Previously, they presented “Iolanthe,” “Princess Ida,” “The Mikado,” “HMS Pinafore,” “The Gondoliers” and more by Gilbert and Sullivan.
The cast of principal roles for “Utopia, Limited” includes (part: name)
King Paramount the First, King of Utopia: Joseph Myers of Downers Grove, a 2013 North Central graduate
Phantis, Judge of the Utopian Supreme Court: Gary Drawant Jr. of Naperville, a junior at North Central College
Scaphio, Judge of the Utopian Supreme Court: Brad Morrison of St. Charles, a sophomore at North Central College
Tarara, the Public Exploder: John Lindberg St. Charles, a freshman at North Central College
Calynx, the Utopian Vice-Chamberlain: Malinee Ganahl of Darien
The Princess Zara, eldest daughter of King Paramount: Julie Jarosz of Norridge, a 2012 North Central graduate
The Princess Nekaya: Colleen Johnston of Johnsburg, a senior at North Central College
The Princess Kalyba, (Zara’s younger sisters): Amanda Digrindakis of Naperville
The Lady Sophy, their English Gouvernante: Jean Austin of Wheaton
Phylla, Salata, Melene, Utopian Maidens: Katie Brandonisio, Jessica Coffey of Plainfield and 2014 North Central graduate, Nadia Tancredi

Imported Flowers of Progress:
Lord Dramaleigh, a British Lord Chamberlain: Bill Nelson of North Aurora
Captain Fitzbattleaxe, First Life Guards: Nathan Henry of Plainfield
Captain Sir Edward Corcoran, KCB, of the Royal Navy Special Guests; Mr. Goldbury, a Company Promoter; afterward Comptroller of the Utopian Household: Richard Laidman of Naperville
Sir Bailey Barre, Q.C., MP: Tom Lash of Naperville
Mr. Blushington, of the County Council: Tom Reusz of Downers Grove

The cast of principal roles for “The Grand Duke” includes (part: name)

Rudolph, Grand Duke of Pfennig-Halbpfennig: John Lindburg of St. Charles, a freshman at North Central College
Ernest Dummkopf, a Theatrical Manager: Steven Beemsterboer of New Lenox, a freshman at North Central College
Ludwig, his Leading Comedian: Brad Morrison of St. Charles, a senior at North Central College
Dr. Tannhäuser, a Notary: Tom Lash of Naperville
The Prince of Monte Carlo: Richard Laidman of Naperville
The Princess of Monte Carlo, betrothed to Rudolph: Laura Jarosz of Westmont, a 2005 North Central graduate
The Baroness von Krakenfeldt, betrothed to Rudolph: Nadia Tancredi of Naperville
Julia Jellicoe, an English Comedienne: Amanda Digrindakis of Naperville
Lisa, a Soubrette: Jessica Coffey of Plainfield, a 2014 North Central graduate

The Summer Light Opera is one of three musicals this summer at North Central College. The final musicals of the summer are “The Addams Family,” directed by Susan Craig-Olsen and presented at 7:30 p.m. July 10-11, 17-18 and at 2 p.m. July 12 and 19; and “The Music Man,” directed by Brian Lynch and presented at 7:30 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 1, 7-8 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 2 and 9. For mroe information visit visit