Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

A Song to Sing, O! The Gilbert & Sullivan Story
Lamplighters Musical Theatre
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of Phèdre, Temple and A View from the Bridge

Chris Uzelac, Erin O'Meally, and Patrick Hagen
Photo by Lucas Buxman
Lamplighters Musical Theatre recently presented the award-winning A Song to Sing, O! The Gilbert & Sullivan Story, conceived, written and directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Barbara Heroux. It tells the story about how W.S Gilbert (Charles Martin) and Arthur Sullivan (Jonathan Spencer) got together to create thirteen wonderful operettas, following the trials and tribulations of the famous pair.

Lamplighters was founded in 1952 to produce the comic opera works of librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan and is now recognized as one of the world's pre-eminent Gilbert & Sullivan companies.

The setting at the huge Herbst Theatre featured W.S. Gilbert on one side in a small living room set, and Arthur Sullivan on the other side of the stage in a similar set. In the middle of the stage was a salon orchestra under the direction of Baker Peeples. A well-loved Lamplighters cast preformed wonderful songs from Gilbert & Sullivan shows.

Unfortunately, the actors were not miked and since there are poor acoustics in this massive theatre they were often unintelligible. However, there were subtitles above the stage when the singers were singing.

Jennifer Ashworth, F. Lawrence Ewing, Samuel Faustine, Sonia Gariaeff, Patrick Hagen, William Neely, Eric O'Meally, Cary Ann Rosko, Robby Stafford, and Chris Uzelac performed magnificent works from such favorites H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, The Gondoliers, Ruddygore, and The Mikado and lesser known works Trial by Jury, The Sorcerer, Patience, Princess Ida, A Christmas Carol, The Yeomen of the Guard, Utopia Ltd, and The Grand Duke.

Highlights included what I call the original "rap" songs "My Name is John Wellington Wells," sung powerfully by Chris Uzelac, from the The Sorcerer and "When I Was a Lad" from H.M.S. Pinafore sung vibrantly by F. Lawrence Ewing. "Three Little Maids" was harmoniously energizing as sung by Eric O'Meally, Jennifer Ashworth, and Cary Ann Rosko as was "Here's a How-De-Do!" sung by Erin O'Meally, Patrick Hagen, and Chris Uzelac, both from The Mikado. Samuel Faustine with pitch perfect resonance presented "Stop Ladies, Pray!" and "Oh, Is There Not One Maiden Breast" from The Pirates of Penzance.

All in all, it was a wonderful night for all Gilbert & Sullivan fans, of which I happen to one.

Lamplighters Musical Theatre completed its run at the Herbst Theatre on April 23, 2017. Future concerts of A Song to Sing, O! The Gilbert & Sullivan Story will be presented on May 4 at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1300 Civic Center Dr, Walnut Creek, and on May 14 at the Menlo Atherton Performing Art Center in Menlo Park. Tickets can be obtained online at