Thespis – Spring 2023

presented by special arrangement with Excelcia Music Publishing

Sponsored by:

The Pittsburgh Savoyards close their 85th season this Spring with a Pittsburgh Premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan’s very first operetta, Thespis. Performances will be held April 28-30 and May 5-7 2023 at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center in Ross Township, PA (Directions and parking). Online livestreams of the May 6th and May 7th performances are also available!

Click here for In-Person tickets

Click here for LIVESTREAM tickets

Performance dates and times are as follows:

  • Friday, April 28 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, April 30 at 2:30 pm
  • Friday, May 5 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, May 7 at 2:30 pm

On Mount Olympus, the elderly pantheon of deities complain of feeling old and lament their waning influence on Earth. An acting troupe headed by Thespis, the legendary Greek father of the drama, make their appearance, and convince the gods to temporarily trade places with them. The actors turn out to be comically inept rulers, committing such errors on Earth as ruining the weather, starting wars, and even getting rid of all the wine! Having seen the ensuing mayhem down below, the angry gods return, sending the actors back to Earth as “eminent tragedians, whom no one ever goes to see.”

Thespis; or, The Gods Grown Old is Gilbert & Sullivan’s very first opera as a pair, originally performed in December 1871. Though the musical score is mostly lost to history, Gilbert’s libretto still exists, and the missing music has been expertly recreated by composer and former University of Pennsylvania musical director Bruce Montgomery. Thespis is unique in the G&S canon in that it is technically an operatic extravaganza, rather than a true operetta. It was written to be a short-running Christmastime entertainment, and originally featured a five-movement ballet section during Act II. Following the closing of the show, Gilbert and Sullivan went their separate ways for four years before reuniting in 1875 to stage their only one-act operetta, Trial by Jury.

More Information

PreviewLive Music: Thespis, Pittsburgh Savoyards – Saturday Light Brigade
Preview: Pittsburgh Savoyards – Thespis – WQED-FM Voice of the Arts
Review: First Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta Finally Makes Savoyards’ Stage – David Zuchowski, Pittsburgh Owlscribe
Review: Thespis Beautifully Personifies the Pittsburgh Savoyards’ Tradition of Gilbert & Sullivan – Yvonne Hudson, onStage Pittsburgh

Music Director – Guy Russo
Stage Director – Robert Hockenberry
Production Manager – Lynette Garlan
Production Stage Manager – Andrea Lisiak
Technical Director – Matt Lisiak
Lighting Designer – Garth Schafer
Costumer – Megan Kelly
Properties Designer – Leslie Clark

Jupiter, Aged DeityCorey Nile Wingard
Apollo, Aged DeityJoshua Berkey
Mars, Aged DeityAlexander Policicchio
Diana, Aged DeitySally Denmead
Venus, Aged DeityDeborah Geary (Apr. 29, May 5, 7)
Michele Gray-Schaffer (Apr. 28, 30, May 6)
MercuryAndrew Mours
Thespis, Manager of a Travelling Theatrical Co.Logan Newman
Sillimon, his Stage ManagerDon Gudenburr
TimidonTodd Foose
TipseionKat Bowman (Apr. 29, May 5, 7)
Brienne Sharo (Apr. 28, 30, May 6)
PreposterosGarth Schafer
StupidasChelsie Clydesdale (Apr. 29, May 5, 7)
Inara Manzetti (Apr. 28, 30, May 6)
SparkeionZhen Yu Ding
NicemisAlex Aks (Apr. 29, May 5, 7)
Sarah Nadler (Apr. 28, 30, May 6)
PretteiaLynea Csefalvay (Apr. 28, 30, May 6)
Tiffany Meyers (Apr. 29, May 5, 7)
DaphneKatie Kirby (Apr. 29, May 5, 7)
Wallis Lucas (Apr. 28, 30, May 6)
CymonJordan Hightower
Chorus of aged deitiesAdam Birch (Pluto)
Chris Carter (Bacchus)
William Carter (Cupid)
Lisa Dunlap (Nemesis)
Tamara Marlise Manzetti (Juno)
Gerry Neuhaus (Saturn)
Elizabeth Partee (Proserpina)
Joshua Schreiber (Vulcan)
Sarah Schultz (Ceres)
Marichristine Storch (Minerva)
Chorus of thespiansMartin Altschul
Leslie Clark
Karissa Eckman
Sandy Eckman
Kathryn Morosky
Katherine Ohliger
Heidi Pilewski
Erin Ritson
Kira Varela