Burns Wharf Theatre Players returns to its roots with Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore

Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty, played by Peter Baumgarten, on stage of the Burns Wharf Theatre Players production of HMS Pinafore, from Thursday, June 16, 2016 in Manitowaning. photo by Robin Burridge

MANITOWANING—The Burns Wharf Theatre Players (BWTP) will lift the curtain on their summer production, Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, this Thursday, June 16 at the Debaj Creation Centre in Manitowaning.

The BWTP’s first Gilbert and Sullivan production as a company was HMS Pinafore back in 2008, but Music Director Marilyn Wohlberg explained it was a scaled down version, and a musical that the company has wanted to revisit.

“Back in 2008 we did HMS Pinafore, but not in its entirety,” said Ms. Wohlberg. “It was more of a concert version and a lot of the dialogue was left out and we had it narrated. We didn’t have enough members in our company to tackle the intricate vocal work harmony.”

Ms. Wohlberg said that this time, nothing has been left out.

Sailor Ralph, played by Patrick Therrien, and Josephine, played by Carly Gordon, plot their elopement with help from their friends. photos by Robin Burridge
Sailor Ralph, played by Patrick Therrien, and Josephine, played by Carly Gordon, plot their elopement with help from their friends.
photos by Robin Burridge

“Ray Scott not only plays Captain Corcoran, but is also my fellow music director,” said Ms. Wohlberg. “He did a marvelous job and didn’t leave anything out—his focus to detail and ensuring everyone was bang on creating some really impressive harmony work. There is so much intricate harmony in the production and it is wonderful that we had the talented company to take this on.”

Ms. Wohlberg shared that the role of Dick Deadeye was a challenging one with difficult harmonies, but Cole Bowerman “mastered it,” his first lead role since joining the company at age 13.

“We had so much fun with this production,” said Ms. Wohlberg. “We have an amazing cast and a great director team with myself, Mr. Scott, stage directors Carole Labelle and Allison MacNeil, choreographer Casey Boisvert and Peter Baumgarten, who has wonderful insight.”

Ms. Wohlberg said she is sharing the job of accompanist with the talented Alex Baran this year, which has allowed her to really take in the production.

Learning that Josephine will not marry him, Ralph, Patrick Therrien, decides to throw himself  overboard despite Dick Deadeye, Cole Bowerman, urging him not to.
Learning that Josephine will not marry him, Ralph, Patrick Therrien, decides to throw himself overboard despite Dick Deadeye, Cole Bowerman, urging him not to.

“I am so impressed with the flow of everyone on stage,” she said. “There are a lot of bodies in this production, but everyone moves so elegantly.”

The production is also a fundraiser for the Burns Wharf Theatre, which the BWTP have been kept out of for the past three seasons due to the building not being up to safety codes.

“The first year we had the wind knocked out of us and we didn’t do a show,” said Ms. Wohlberg of being kept out of the old building. “Last year, and this year, Debaj has allowed us to use their theatre and have been very accommodating, but it’s not the same as our theatre. There is nothing like the Burns Warf Theatre anywhere and we would really like to get back in.”

The Township of Assiginack, which owns the building, has had architects in to determine what needs to be done to  bring the building up to code, and the BWTP will be meeting with the town tomorrow to hear the news so they can begin applying for funding grants.

Sir Joseph Porter’s sisters, cousins and aunts sing in harmony.
Sir Joseph Porter’s sisters, cousins and aunts sing in harmony.
Josephine, Carly Gordon, and her father Captain Corcoran, Ray Scott, discuss Josephine’s  engagement to Sir Joseph Porter.
Josephine, Carly Gordon, and her father Captain Corcoran, Ray Scott, discuss Josephine’s
engagement to Sir Joseph Porter.

“HMS Pinafore, or The Lass that Loved a Sailor, tells the story of a lowly seaman named Ralph, played by Patrick Therrien, who has fallen in love with Josephine, his captain’s daughter, played by Carly Gordon. Josephine has been pledged by her father, Captain Corcoran (Ray Scott), to Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty, performed by Peter Baumgarten. Satirizing the snobbery and hypocrisy of the English social system, what unfolds is a hilarious and fun-loving musical that combines great acting with impeccable vocals.

HMS Pinafore runs the evenings of June 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 29 and 30 and 2 matinee performances, June 19 and 26.

Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by calling 705-859-3808 or online at www.burnswharf.net.