"New" Gilbert & Sullivan Musical, Precious Nonsense, Returns to Ithaca's Kitchen May 26 | Playbill

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News "New" Gilbert & Sullivan Musical, Precious Nonsense, Returns to Ithaca's Kitchen May 26 Kitchen Theatre Company's world premiere musical, Precious Nonsense, borrowing songs by Gilbert and Sullivan, was so popular in its winter run that artistic director and writer Rachel Lampert has heeded the calls of "Encore! Encore!"
Erica Steinhagen in Precious Nonsense
Erica Steinhagen in Precious Nonsense Photo by Shai Eynav

The intimate Ithaca, NY, theatre revives the world premiere May 26-June 12 with the same cast that created the show in January. Sara Lampert Hoover directs the musical comedy about a family theatre company and the 21-year-old son (named Frederic) who wants to break away from the troupe.

The company includes Eric Brooks, Jessica Flood, Shawn Puller, Erica Steinhagen, Joey Steinhagen, Krista Scott and Casey Sweeney.

Musical director is Richard Montgomery. Designers are Hannah Davis (scenic), Steve TenEyck (lighting) and Lisa Boquist (costume).

Precious Nonsense (the title of which is drawn from a line from G&S's Patience) enjoyed a sold-out run for its world premiere in January-February. The Kitchen seats 73.

"Using the much-loved melodies and lyrics of Gilbert & Sullivan as a start, Rachel Lampert has fashioned a new play so full of plot twists-and-turns, laughs, and romance that you may think that Gilbert and Sullivan themselves rose from the dead to create it," according to KTC. "Mistaken identities, unexpressed love, and madcap mayhem combine in this screwball backstage comedy about finding and falling in love." Set in 1938, Precious Nonsense "introduces us to a ramshackle touring company, the Carter Family Savoyards. The founders and guiding forces of the company are RDC Carter (Brooks) and his wife Angelina (Scott). After years of touring, they long to retire and pass on the leadership of the company to their son, Frederic (Puller). The company also includes enduring ingénue Josephine (Erica Steinhagen) and stage manager and philosopher, Pete (Joey Steinhagen). Desperate to join the company and take the stage are Samuel (Sweeney) and Josephine's sister Mabel (Flood), who dresses as a man in order to join the company.

The primary story of Precious Nonsense mirrors the plot of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic The Pirates of Penzance, according to KTC: In Penzance, Frederic wants to leave the pirates on his 21st birthday; in Nonsense, Frederic "expects to be set free from his obligation to remain with his parents' theatre company. His parents, of course, have other plans for him. For years, RDC and Angelina have been urging Frederic to marry Josephine and take over their family business. Frederic wants none of it-he longs to leave the thespian life and begin other adventures."

Rachel Lampert said in production notes, "The members of the Carter Family Savoyards are loosely based on the archetypes found in the screwball film comedies of the 1930s. I set the play in 1938 when America was struggling out of the Depression and war in Europe had begun. Like the Hollywood movies of the time, Precious Nonsense is also an escape."

Seven songs in the show have "altered or additional lyrics" by Rachel Lampert.

Musical director Richard Montgomery (KTC's Master Class, Bed & Sofa) plays double duty as Herbie the Musical Director of the Savoyards and piano accompanist for the play.

For more information, call (607) 273-4497 or visit www.kitchentheatre.org.

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