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'The Gondoliers' and 'Pinocchio' on stage in February

• Jan 6, 2017 at 3:00 PM

MANSFIELD — The Renaissance Youth Opera Theatre (RYOT) will present Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers” and “Pinocchio” at the Renaissance Theatre on Feb. 4 and 5.

Willard’s Naomi Schag will play the lead role of “Pinocchio” in the production bearing that name. Also part of the event is Willard’s Ella Schag, who will play “Giorgina.”

Under the direction of Lori Turner, the cast of 70 represents the following school systems: Ashland, Central Christian, Clearfork, Discovery, Eastern, ECOT, Homeschool, Lexington, Lucas, Madison, Mansfield Christian, Mansfield, Ontario, Pioneer Performing Arts, Reagan, Shelby, St. Mary's Mansfield, St. Peter's and Willard, as well as area home-school students.

“This light- hearted show will be sure to keep you laughing. Gilbert and Sullivan’s music is catchy, the plot is outrageous and witty, and gives every cast member a chance to be featured in some way,” says Director Lori Turner.

“Pinocchio” is an endearing folk tale first appearing in 1916. Since then, it has been adapted many times for stage and film, most notably in the animated classic by Disney. Geppetto, a lonely wood-carver longs for a son. Benevolent fairies grant his wish, in part. Pinocchio, the wooden puppet they bring to life, must prove himself worthy before he will become truly human. He encounters many adventures and many villains, his companion and self-appointed conscience, Jiminy Cricket, tries to keep him out of trouble!

Possibly the silliest of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, “Gondoliers” is a zany, slap-stick comedy. Using a well-known Gilbert and Sullivan device, “Gondoliers” is a tale of babes switched at birth. Marco and Giuseppi, the handsomest gondoliers in Venice, discover that one of them is actually the King of Barataria, wedded in infancy to a Spanish princess. To complicate things further, they don’t know which of them it is, and both of them have just been married to Tessa and Gianetta, Venetian maidens. The plot becomes more convoluted and silly as the two gondoliers decide to rule jointly on democratic principles and the women try to figure out just who is married to whom. Fortunately, the royal nurse turns up to reveal the identity of the true King in a surprise twist.

The RYOT productions of “The Gondoliers” and “Pinocchio” take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5 at the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield. Tickets are $15 general admission and available now online at MansfieldTickets.com, at the Renaissance Box Office and via phone at (419) 522-2726. RYOT is presented as a part of the Mechanics Bank Education Series with additional funding from the Ohio Arts Council and the Sterkel Fund.

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