The University Record, April 8, 1997

U-M Gilbert and Sullivan Society celebrates 50 years

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

photo--Gilbert and Sullivan poster for IolantheCombine a sharp tongue and topsy-turvy imagination with an amiable but ambitious composer and you get an unlikely but highly successful partnership---William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Combine U-M students, faculty and staff and community residents and you get another highly successful partnership---the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society (UMGASS). The first partnership this year celebrates more than 100 years of light operas; the second celebrates 50 years of outstanding performances.

The UMGASS, a non-profit organization supported through ticket sales and private donations, will present Pirates of Penzance at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater April 10-13 and April 17-20. The matinee performance on April 20 will be a fully staged, audience sing-along performance.

Formed by U-M students in 1947, UMGASS is considered the oldest student-run Gilbert and Sullivan Society in the country. Its activities over the past half-century have involved more than 5,000 people exercising and mastering their artistic craft in set design, costume construction, orchestral playing, acting, singing and dancing for audiences that over the years have numbered close to 500,000. Student membership in the Society currently is close to 300 and another 1,000 alumni and friends swell the ranks.

To celebrate the Society's 50th anniversary, an Afterglow will be held April 18 in the Henderson Room, Michigan League, featuring harpist Laurel Federbush ($6 admission fee). On April 19 at 11 a.m., law Prof. Beverly Pooley will give a presentation on the history and works of Gilbert and Sullivan in the Founders Room, Alumni Center (free admission). A banquet will be held in the Ballroom, Michigan League ($35 admission fee), that day. A Dessert and Dance ($5 admission fee) in the same location will follow the Saturday performance.

April 18-20 Richard Giszczak, safety officer for the Chemistry Department, will play Gilbert and Sullivan favorites on the Baird Carillon at Burton Memorial Tower.

For more information about the celebration, contact Margie Warrick, 996-1653. For ticket information for the performances, contact the University Productions Office, 764-0450.