Building blocks of “Ruddigore”

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Student performers and teachers in the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop have begun preparations for their annual production. “Ruddigore,” a comic opera written by Arthur Sullivan and William Schwenck Gilbert, and originally performed in 1887 will be performed once more by the students at the Columbia Theatre for Performing Arts on Feb. 7-8 at 7:30 p.m.

“’Ruddigore’ is based during the height of Victorian era in London, which is basically the center of the world at the time,” said Charles Effler, director of the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop. “These characters are absolute rockstars during the day. Imagine the year 1887: Victorian costumes, outdoor villages, castles and magical ancestors coming to life through paintings. It’s going to be really visually stunning. The team even changes up the text in the script to make it more relevant, and the past two years, audiences have found it hilarious.”

Elizabeth Langley, a senior music major, participated in five previous productions with the workshop and will play Rose Maybud this year. She works with multiple aspects of the cast. 

“The shows have a great orchestra, which typically also has many student performers, conducted by Chuck Effler,” announced Langley. “We have a great team of costume, prop, set and lighting designers that work on our shows. We also have amazing stage managers and a fantastic stage director, Rachel Harris.”

Though the workshop has several hands helping with the production of “Ruddigore,” big decisions are made by Effler.

“As conductor, I train the cast and the orchestra,” explained Effler. “I’m also a big part of the shows because I choose what particular shows we put on and I’m in charge of all the music we use.”

Langley is certain that the audience will have a good time.

“We, as a cast, would love to just make everyone laugh and enjoy themselves,” said Langley. “’Ruddigore’ is a great comedic operetta that has something for everyone. It has many funny moments and fun music that I think the audience will definitely enjoy. It’s a wonderful feeling when the members of a cast put their hearts and hard work into a show and we get to share it all with our family, friends and local community.”

Langley encouraged students to attend the performance for a night of fun and music. Students can get in for free with the presentation of their university ID.