Show Photographs

31st Festival Season - 2009

Ruddigore or The Witch’s Curse

Music by: Arthur Sullivan
Books & Lyrics by: W. S. Gilbert

An early Baronet of Ruddigore had a witch burned at the stake – she cursed him and all his line, dooming them to commit at least one crime a day, under penalty of an agonizing death. Dame Hannah narrates this legend to professional bridesmaids, gathered around the cottage of Rose Maybud, an attractive young damsel who has not yet found a husband. Robin Oakapple, a young farmer, is in love with Rose, but too bashful to declare his passion. We learn through Adam, an old retainer, that Robin is really Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, the true Baronet of Ruddigore, who had fled the curse, leaving it, with the title and estates, to his younger brother, Despard. His foster–brother, Richard Dauntless, just returned from sea, also knows Robin’s true identity. Learning of the deadlock in Robin's love–affair, Richard volunteers to see Rose and clear up the situation. Instead, he too falls in love with her – a love that she readily accepts. But when Rose learns of Robin's love for her, she promptly transfers her affections to him, remarking that while Richard is a penniless sailor, Robin is a prosperous farmer. Mad Margaret enters and reveals that she had once been in love with Despard, who laments his infamy, but notes that he atones for every bad action with a good one. Richard reveals to him that Ruthven is alive and masquerading as Robin Oakapple. Robin enters with his promised bride, but the wedding is rudely interrupted by the revelation that Robin is really the baronet. Rose promptly offers herself to Despard, who declares that he, being no longer the bad baronet but a virtuous person, will be true to Mad Margaret. Rose, not at all abashed, once more falls back on Richard.

In the picture gallery of Ruddigore Castle, portraits of his ancestors look grimly down upon a sadly changed Robin/Ruthven. Richard and Rose obtain consent to their marriage from Ruthven, who makes an impassioned appeal that his ancestors relieve him of the necessity of a daily crime. Stepping down from their frames, and led by his uncle Roderic, they accuse him of evading the terms of the curse, and order him to do something really wicked – carry off a maiden that very day. When he refuses, they give him a sample of the “agonies” that they can inflict – Ruthven is compelled to yield, and orders Adam to go at once and bring him a maiden – any maiden! A reformed Despard and Margaret now appear, soberly attired, and describe themselves as district visitors engaged in charitable activities. They have come to implore Ruthven to forswear his wicked ways – he agrees to do so. Adam enters with the “maiden” he was sent to abduct, who turns out to be none other than the mature Dame Hannah, who proves so well able to protect herself that Ruthven has to call upon his Uncle Roderic for help. Roderic steps down from his frame, and we learn that he and Hannah were once lovers. Their reunion is interrupted by the excited entrance of Ruthven – he has the solution to his dilemma. Pointing out that his refusal to fulfill the terms of the curse amounts to suicide…and as suicide is itself a crime…it follows that the curse in inoperative! Roderic declares himself still alive, Rose at once becomes the bride of the reformed Ruthven, Richard appropriates the chief bridesmaid, and all ends in general rejoicing.

Production Team
ConductorMichael Borowitz
Stage DirectorJulie Wright
ChoreographyCarol Hageman
Costume DesignEric Hall
Scenic DesignRichard Traubner
Lighting DesignPaul R. Bourne
Assistant DirectorJacob Allen
Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, Disguised as Robin Oakapple, A Young FarmerTed Christopher
Richard Dauntless, His Foster Brother, A Man–o’–wars ManAnthony Buck
Sir Despard Murgatroyd Of Ruddigore, A Wicked BaronetFrederick Reeder
Old Adam Goodheart, Robin’s Faithful ServantCory Clines
Rose Maybud, A Village MaidenCecily Ellis
Mad MargaretSahara Glasener–Boles
Dame Hannah, Rose’s AuntJessie Wright Martin
Zorah, A Professional BridesmaidKarla Hughes
Ruth, A Professional BridesmaidCourtney Miller
Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, The Twenty–first BaronetDennis Jesse
Ensemble: Jacob Allen, Chelsea Basler, Ashly Evans, Karla Hughes, Dennis Jesse, David Kelleher–Flight, Kyle Knapp, Jacqueline Komos, Tania Mandzy, Philip McLeod, Courtney Miller, Sara Ann Mitchell, Gary Moss, Zack Rabin, Galeano Salas, Todd Strange, Nina Takács, Raina Thorne, Allison Toth