The Gondoliers
Reviewed by David Kashimba

If you’re looking for a night of musical entertainment that has all the stage grandeur of opera but a story line with a lighter note, then Lamplighters Music Theatre’s production of The Gondoliers might be right for you. This production, composed by Gilbert and Sullivan in 1889, is a lighthearted love story set in Venice, Italy. Though it maintains many operatic elements in its stage presence and orchestration, you won’t find any arias sung by characters dying of a broken heart.

In this comic musical, about two gondoliers who discover that they were switched at birth and that one of them might be king; there are hints that hearts may be broken. Since both gondoliers recently married, the one that is confirmed to be the king must annul his marriage in favor of a royal match. Though many comic and poignant musical numbers emerge from this topsy-turvy world, all is made right in the end and everyone lives happily ever after.

In the meantime you’ve been entertained by a cast directed by Jane Hammett and a live orchestra conducted by Monroe Kanouse. Hammett adds her own comic twist by updating the production to the 1950s when the only true king was Elvis and a city built on water was made for surfing.

All and all it’s a night of nostalgia that, at least for a few hours, will make you feel that all is right in the world – good triumphs and happiness reigns. Performing at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, the cast is full of young talent including Darla Wiggington as Tessa, and Linh Kauffman as Gianetta.

For tickets and information call (415) 978-2787.

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