Merry wives, merry nights

Mrs. Page, played by Deondra Bell and Mrs. Ford, played by Sara Cage express their woes after both characters recieved an identical love not from the same admirier, prompting the plot of the play
Nate Callaway/ The Lion's Roar 

The Opera/Music Theatre Workshop put on “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” The play was based on the Shakespearean work, but it was set in New Orleans during the 1950s.
The show was presented on Thursday, Feb. 23 and Friday, Feb. 24 at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in Downtown Hammond.
Executive Director of the Columbia Theatre Roy Blackwood was pleased with the result of the program. Some of the cast was changed from one night to the next, but this didn’t affect his opinion of the performance.
“Both nights were fabulous,” said Blackwood. “It’s always fun to see a different cast and compare them but I won’t say one night was better than the other. They were both delightful. I think they handled the comedy of it very well, and there were obviously some very very lovely voices. But I thought they were especially very skilled when it came to the comedy of it.”
The original play was set in the village and forest of Windsor in England. However, it was moved to New Orleans to give the audience landmarks to recognize. The Director of the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop Charles Effler explained some of the new aspects.
“So instead of a tavern in the village of Windsor Theatre, goers will see Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar on Bourbon Street,” said Effler. “Instead of a courtyard between two of the characters’ houses, there will be a sidewalk outside a wall of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 near the French Quarter. A corner of Jackson Square will stand in for Windsor Forest.”
Effler also talked about some of the similarities and aspects that were kept the same as the original.
“The plot of the opera retains much of the action of the play,” said Effler. “Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page, the merry wives, both receive an identical love letter from the old, unattractive and corpulent Sir John Falstaff. They decide to teach him a lesson, and at the same time, teach a different lesson to Mrs. Ford’s jealous husband. This sets off a comic chain of events that occupies much of opera.”
Blackwood went on to talk about what he enjoyed about the show and why he really thought it was a success.
“The finale scene is always fun to see when it all comes to a head and everything,” said Blackwood. “But I really appreciated the subtleties, how they built the plot and how they worked toward all that. And I also really loved the duets, the way they played off of each other really was just very lovely.”

Mr. Slender, played by Jody Bennett, and Mr. Page, played by Brennan Simmons, sing about Mr. Slenders longing to marry Mr. Page's daughter.
​Nate Callaway/ The Lion's Roar 

Mrs. Ford, portrayed by Sara Cage, attempts to trick Falstaff, portrayed by Spancer reichman, into pursuing her in order to teach him a lesson.
​Nate Callaway/ The Lion's Roar 

Falstaff, played by Spancer Reichman, sings along with fellow bar goers just before encountering the husband of his would-be lover, Mr. Ford, played by Alfred Harper.
​Nate Callaway/ The Lion's Roar