Author Archives: Lamplighters

Guest Pirates

One of the very popular items that our donors can bid on at our Gala or Too Much Happiness events is a walk-on role in one of our productions. In the case of our recent production of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, we had four donors do a total of five walk ons! Here is a look at our wonderful guest Pirates in costume, both onstage and backstage. We were delighted to have them with us, sharing our love of G & S, and our thrills on stage! Here are a few of the things they said about the experience:

Jon Keller

“Yes, Jim be prepared for a guaranteed good time, and the cast/crew is very supportive! Enjoy the moment. I did!!” – Jon Keller, our guest pirate in Mountain View

Ron Oremland

“By the way, when viewed from the stage right wing where I caught most of the performance, it was interesting to watch Charles Martin’s bellowing as the Head Bobby. He puts so much force into that powerful voice that the walls shake. […] Really impressive!” – Ron Oremland, our guest pirate in San Francisco

Jim Ensign

“Miriam did a grand job of fitting me for a pirate costume yesterday. Can’t wait to put it on for Saturday’s performance.” – Jim Ensign, our guest pirate in San Francisco

Barbara Edwards

“I’m soooo excited!” – Barbara Edwards, our guest pirate in Livermore

It is great fun for both the guest and the cast to share in these experiences; a wonderful bonding!

Remembering Keith Bucher

Keith Bucher, our Principal French Horn, passed away on August 4, 2018. He first played with the Lamplighters in 1977. He studied at Northwestern University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and started his musical career in the US Marine Band in Washington DC. From 1978 to 1987 he was a fixture in the pit orchestras for major San Francisco musical theater productions and performed with many organizations from the Bay Area to Sacramento including the SF Horn Quartet which arranged and played Sullivan’s music for their performances. He served on the Lamplighters orchestra committee, assisted in the music library marking orchestra parts and always volunteered to play for the sing alongs. Keith especially enjoyed playing Iolanthe and Gondoliers, always loved Pirates and the orphan/often joke and enjoyed wearing his collection of Lamplighters ties for the matinees.

The memorial for Keith was held on September 23, 2018 at the Sacramento Dharma Center. There were Buddhist prayers, music and remembrances by family and many friends. Keith’s grandson Sol, tooted a few notes on the “French Horn” that Keith made for him out of a hose and a large funnel, sang “Row, row, row your boat” and then everyone sang with him. Gregory Sykes, Daryl Schilling, Katie Dennis and Adrienne & Tom Duckworth were also there and Larry Gardiner, President of AFM, Local 12 spoke and read a letter from Forrest Byram about his adventures with Keith when they were freshmen in college. Cara Jones organized a French Horn Quintet and Katie talked to her about including a Sullivan piece and playing in the group. We sent them music for Arthur Sullivan’s “The Long Day Closes” which they arranged for French Horns and Katie played with them. It was a beautiful ending for the ceremony.

Thank you from the Lamplighters Orchestra

The Lamplighters Orchestra wants to say thank you, thank you for the music stand lights. Makes such a difference to be able to see all the tiny notes. We are the slaves of duty… and now we can see too!! We thank the following for making this possible:

Willa & Henry Anderson
William & Kathleen Brodhead
Jim & Judy Bangsund
Sandra Church
Geoff Dottery & Cliff Willwerth
James Ensign & Wanda Jones
F. Lawrence Ewing
Joseph Giammarco & Claire Kelm
Jon Keller & Susan Jorgenson
Martin Lewis & Steve Siegelman
Fred & Judith Lothrop
Charles Manning & Rena Kirkpatrick
Jananne & Mike Mead
Ed Moore & Catherine Burke
Rik Myslewski & Marilyn Bancel
Baker Peeples & Ellen Kerrigan
Samuel Rabinowitz
Jane Regan
Kirstine Schaeffer & John Skalicky
Hayley Scott
John Emery Smyth
Jennifer Vlahos Kessler & Gabriel Kessler
Martha Vlahos
Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Lamplighters Nominated at 2018 TBA Awards

Lamplighters Music Theatre is both humbled and proud to have received a tremendous number of Theatre Bay Area Award Nominations for Calendar 2018. The word of mouth appeared to build over the year, and we had more and more theatre peers come to our two main productions as adjudicators. Both THE GONDOLIERS and THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE received great recognition, and as individuals and a company we received 15 Finalist nominations; one of the largest number of nominations received by any theatre company this year! Mark November 5th on your calendar, and attend the awards ceremony at Herbst Theatre if you can, in support of these nominations:

All nominations in Tier 2 (based on budget and union status)

Outstanding Properties Design
Elisabeth Reeves and Frances Silcox for The Pirates of Penzance

Outstanding Costume Design
Judy Jackson and Miriam Lewis for The Gondoliers
Miriam Lewis for The Pirates of Penzance

Creative Specialties: Wig Design
Kerry Rider-Kuhn for The Gondoliers

Outstanding Music Direction
David Drummond for The Pirates of Penzance
Baker Peeples for The Gondoliers

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Nicolas Aliaga Garcia for The Pirates of Penzance

Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical
The Pirates of Penzance

Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role in a Musical
F. Lawrence Ewing for The Pirates of Penzance

Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role in a Musical
Erin O’Meally for The Pirates of Penzance
Deborah Rosengaus for The Pirates of Penzance

Outstanding Production of a Musical
The Gondoliers
The Pirates of Penzance

Lamplighters Celebrate Final Performance of “Pirates”

For the past few years one couple in Livermore has been inviting Lamplighter cast members to stay over during the weekend because of the long drive, and they even host the closing party, since Livermore is our last stop in the Summer. Some candids of grateful performers from a pre-show breakfast at the home of Gus Manning and Rena Kirkpatrick, along with a description from Gus of what it is like to be surrounded by Lamplighters!

August 26, after striking the set of Lamplighters’ final 2018 performance of The Pirates of Penzance, the Company (cast members, direction and production staff, friends, and hangers-on) headed to the Kirkpatrick-Manning residence (also known as Manning Motel) in Livermore to celebrate the success of Pirates and life in general. A few Company members who had stayed at the residence throughout a weekend of performances helped to prepare for the event.

A clear majority of the Company was in attendance at the event with guests numbering near to 75. Many Lamplighters brought gifts of food and beverages, plain and exotic, to sustain celebrants including the exhausted performers. The ample cuisine was supplemented by lively, at time raucous, conversations touching on a weekend of splendid performance, great and small issues, including the history, philosophy, and significance of Lamplighterism, speeches covering anything and everything, and just plain whoppers.

Many public and private appreciations were expressed by Company members to their compatriots including farewells emotionally expressed to members departing to seek their fortunes elsewhere. A number of participants took the opportunity to don appropriate or inappropriate costumes to bathe in the hot tub, or to be splashed upon therefrom. As is customary at Lamplighter celebrations, a variety of spontaneous and artful demonstrations were observed and appreciated. Details of such demonstrations are best kept in our hearts and not documented, as “what happens in Livermore stays in Livermore”.

The New Woman

Director Nicolas Aliaga is bringing a fresh new concept to our summer production of Pirates of Penzance. As costumer designer Miriam Lewis explains, “We’re setting this production in 1897, which is when you get the idea of the New Woman. What this means for us is that women were doing a lot of things that had previously been only done by men, both professionally and for personal pleasure. The women in our ensemble have to be active in order to pursue their interests. They can’t wear the beautiful, giant hoop skirts used in past productions. So they are wearing things like bicycle bloomers, split skirts, and knickers. They will really be able to climb over rocky mountains!”

“We want these modern daughters of the Modern Major General to be able to be very active in their costumes. They can be archeologists, or geologists, or naturalists. And the idea that women could be more active in their leisure pursuits went hand in hand with the idea that they could be more active in a social sense. The suffragette movement had been going on for some time, but was still very important in 1897. All of this is reflected in the change of costume for our women.”

“But it certainly isn’t dour or grim. These are girls that just want to have fun. But fun with a purpose!”​​