Frankliln Light Opera

The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan singers (from left) Shawn Davie, Stephanie Hobbs, Julie Gilbreath, Ryan Bede, Lara Butler, Tyler Saunders, Karen Wonder Dumont, Will Lasley (Not pictured: Julie Damore, Shelley Auer Schneider)

The Franklin Light Opera Company will present its opening production for the 2022-23 season Friday through Sunday, Sept. 9-11, at the Williamson County Performing Arts Center.

There will be three performances of The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan by the nonprofit organization that was founded in 2020, according to a press release. Shows for Friday and Saturday will be at 7 p.m., while Sunday will have a 2 p.m. performance.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Williamson County Performing Arts Center website.

Following FLO's successful production of Cinderella last season, the company now invites audiences to enter the topsy-turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan with a showcase of beloved favorites hosted by William S. Gilbert, Esquire, and Sir Arthur Sullivan themselves. Gilbert and Sullivan's celebrated partnership produced 14 comic operas which have been performed all over the world since their premiers in the late 1800s.

With brilliance ahead of their time, Gilbert and Sullivan pioneered both the American musical and British sketch comedy. Their works have inspired generations of theater audiences with their memorable melodies, clever lyrics and enduring social commentary.

The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan will feature silliness and song from six of their famous light operas: Ruddigore, Patience, HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and Gondoliers. The cast will showcase local talent. 

Singers Ryan Bede, Lara Butler, Julia Damore, Shawn Davie, Karen Wonder Dumont, Julie Gilbreath, Stephanie Hobbs, Will Lasley, Tyler Saunders and Shelley Auer Schneider will be joined by actors Jon Kieffner as William S. Gilbert, Esquire, and Oscar Guevara as Sir Arthur Sullivan. 

A chamber orchestra will be conducted by music director Mark Ring, and Susan Weisbarth brings the event to life through her newly penned script and imaginative stage direction. Audiences will find the music of Gilbert and Sullivan to be relatable, satirical and hilarious, says the release. The show is appropriate for all ages.

Franklin Light Opera says its mission is to bring light opera and classic musical theater to Franklin and surrounding communities through transformative theatrical experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. 

“Our community-centered productions, concerts and educational programs are designed to foster positive relationships and experiences through the performing arts,” a spokesperson for the company said in the release. “We are driven by a commitment to quality entertainment and showcasing local artists, serving as a source of ‘light’ within the Franklin community.

Local performers and theater enthusiasts are encouraged to get involved.

For more information, or to become a sponsor or donor, contact [email protected] or visit the website: www.franklinlightopera.org.

Follow on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates. Franklin Light Opera is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.