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APSU Opera and Theatre presents “The Sorcerer” on April 22-23


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — The Austin Peay State University Opera Theater and Orchestra welcomes you to a wild west world filled with love and magic when they perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Sorcerer.”

The opera opens at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, in the Music/Mass Communication Building’s Mabry Concert Hall. The show is free and open to the public.

Set in a small town in the wild west, marriage festivities are underway between Aline and Alexis, the children of high-born parents. So in love with his bride to-be, Alexis wants everyone to feel how he feels, so he hires a genuine sorcerer to spike the wedding refreshments with a real-deal love potion. Alexis’s grand plan backfires when all of the town unknowingly partakes and his wedding turns to chaos when everyone — regardless of age, rank or beauty — falls in love with the first person they see.

Originally produced in 1877, “The Sorcerer” was Gilbert and Sullivan’s third operatic collaboration, and became a success, running for 178 performances in London. Its success encouraged the trio to create such masterpieces as “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” and “The Mikado.” APSU’s performance takes “The Sorcerer” down a slightly different path, changing the play’s original setting of Victorian England to the American wild west — a creative decision Lisa Conklin-Bishop, director of opera theatre at APSU said updates, but still remains faithful to the opera’s themes.

“We have chosen to set our production in the wild west, with the set, costumes and dialects reminiscent of a simpler time of naiveté and harmless trickery,” Conklin-Bishop said. “In this setting, the sorcerer becomes a snake oil salesman, traveling town to town, hawking various potions and services.”

“The Sorcerer” will feature one of the largest collaborative efforts in the department’s history, featuring students, faculty and friends of the University — as well as rare stage appearance by APSU president, Dr. Alisa White.

“It’s been a thrill to produce (The Sorcerer) because the talents and energies of this cast has provided such a rich directorial experience,” Conklin-Bishop said. “From freshman to graduate students, to alumni, faculty, staff, community members, the Gateway Chorus and even our very own university president, Alisa White, it’s been exciting to see all of these elements come together to create a production that embodies the spirit of Gilbert and Sullivan — good natured fun with a lot of heart.”

For more information on the show, contact the APSU music department at 931-221-7818.