Awards & Accolades at England’s International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival

NEW YORK, NY – September 7 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — The Blue Hill Troupe’s innovative production of that Gilbert & Sullivan rarity, The Grand Duke, was honored at the 12th Annual International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England, last month.

Among the awards bestowed in Buxton on the Blue Hill Troupe, New York’s oldest Gilbert & Sullivan performing society:

* BEST MALE PERFORMER: Jonathan Jacobson for his ingratiating performance as Ludwig

* BEST FEMALE PERFORMER (runner-up): Joanne Lessner for her over-the-top portrayal of diva Julia Jellicoe

* OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION (runner-up): Conductor Zachary Schwartzman, Associate Conductor for the New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera

Renowned for its vibrant performances and Broadway-scale production values, the Blue Hill Troupe was invited to bring The Grand Duke to the adjudicated three-week festival, which takes place every summer in Buxton’s celebrated opera house.

The Grand Duke, long considered the problem child of the G&S canon, was given a thorough and loving dramaturgical reworking by director Dan Knechtges (choreographer of the Tony Award-winning 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), former BHT president Cornelia Iredell, and performer/playwright Joanne Lessner. This slimmed-down, streamlined version of The Grand Duke played for eight performances in April, 2005 at Teatro Heckscher of El Museo del Barrio, the same theater that housed the operetta’s New York premiere in 1937, also staged by the Blue Hill Troupe.

Presenting a re-working of Gilbert & Sullivan in the U.S. is not the same as introducing innovations in their mother country, but the reception in England was overwhelmingly positive. Festival adjudicator David Turner, director of London’s long-running The Mousetrap, stated, “When you go home tonight, you can say, ‘I’ve been to see The Grand Duke. I’ve enjoyed The Grand Duke. I’ve understood The Grand Duke.'”

The Blue Hill Troupe, now entering its 82nd season, produces a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta every spring, with the proceeds benefiting a different New York City charity. The impressive total donated now tops $3 million. This year’s production will be The Pirates of Penzance, March 31-April 8, 2006 at Teatro Heckscher of El Museo del Barrio (1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street) and will benefit The Doe Fund.

The Blue Hill Troupe has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and appeared twice at Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson and The New York Pops. For the last ten years, they have presented a G&S concert as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Concerts and Lectures series, where they will return in February, 2006.

The Buxton Gilbert & Sullivan Festival ( invites companies from all over the world to compete in an adjudicated festival every summer. During that time, it is possible to see productions of every work in the canon, presented by groups from as far away as Cape Town, South Africa, as well as by local British companies. A Fringe Festival offers lectures and performances by former D’Oyly Carte performers and G&S scholars.

For more information about the Blue Hill Troupe, Ltd., contact Gregory Miller at (203) 221-2790 or visit

BLUE HILL TROUPE, LTD., PO Box 286800, Yorkville Station, New York, NY 10128

Gregory Miller
Miller DeMartine Group
for The Blue Hill Troupe
(203) 221-2790

News issued by: Blue Hill Troupe, Ltd.

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Original Story ID: (764) :: 2005-09-0907-005

Original Keywords: Blue Hill Troupe, Miller DeMartine Group, theater, arts, New York news, Gilbert & Sullivan in the U.S Blue Hill Troupe, Ltd.

News Source: Blue Hill Troupe