by Tony Schillaci and Don Church
For the 20th time since 1986, Waterford dentist Dr. John E. Dreslin, who resides with his wife Monika in Stonington, took up his baton to conduct the orchestra in this year’s production of the CT Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) Society’s production of “Patience.”
A full house of G&S fans filled the theater at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Middletown on October 24-26 to enjoy this delightfully silly and satirical musical revival.
John’s renowned skills as a conductor were evident from the first note of the overture, and the 24 piece ensemble of professional musicians blended their individual sounds into one cohesive and flawless instrumental unit.
Sharing credit with Musical Director Dr. Dreslin in making “Patience” a success is Director Robert Cumming, Moodus who artistically guided the cast of more than 50 gifted actor/singers in a satire about the affectations of the aesthetic movement. Bob deftly kept the acting broad and funny, and the cast was continually moving naturally onstage. Their wonderful voices blended beautifully in the many choral pieces that Sir Gilbert and Sir Sullivan wrote over 100 years ago.
Principals in the cast included Kathleen Thompson in the title role of Patience, the milk-maid; David Henderson as her suitor Archibald, and veteran actor Allan Church (no known relation to the writer of this piece) as the flouncy over-the-top poet, Reginald. Newcomer Jeff Soun Long tackled the part of The Duke of Dunstable with exceptional stage presence and a commanding voice. His debut with G&S coincides with his junior year at Middletown High!
Co-producer Annlee Sortland of Moodus told The Resident that members of the G & S Society come from all over CT. Like SECT’s own Conductor John who traveled to intense rehearsals from Stonington, Lisa Williamson, an understudy in the cast, is from Colchester. She is also a soloist with the Coast Guard Band.
This year’s CT G&S Society’s charitable gift of 50-percent of the profits will be given to St. Vincent DePaul Place, a non-profit agency whose mission is to provide food, clothing and shelter to poor and homeless individuals.
Their Soup Kitchen provided over 80,000 meals to men, women and children last year, and their Amazing Grace Food Pantry served 650 households each month with much needed extra food. The gift will be matched by the Mayor of Middletown.
For information about joining CT’s G&S Society, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, if you’d like to drop by Dr. John’s office in Waterford, he’ll conduct you to the best seat in the house!