This year’s offering is The Sorcerer, the duo’s problematic third collaboration. Like all the other wildly successful and oft-produced operettas that came after it, The Sorcerer is tuneful and funny, but the humor is solidly British and Victorian, so it is almost inscrutable to a modern American audience. If a director approaches it as a purist, s/he is doomed flame out and perish like the title character in the final scene.
Now there is no such thing as a bad production of The Sorcerer simply because it is done so seldom that any glimpse is a welcome treat for true Savoyards – I haven’t encountered it since I directed it myself in 1984 – but if I were going to quibble with Chris Rohmann’s fine production I would fault it for being a little too by the book, but then I am NOT a purist. Purists – and there are those who consider any deviation from Gilbert’s original promptbooks to be sacrilege – should be warned that Rohmann has cast a woman, the charming and talented Heather Davies, in the title role, who is now Jane (rather than John) Wellington Wells. (Quick! Get the smelling salts!)