Black Swamp Players mix lively brew of music, comedy

Constance Partley, left, played by Kelly Barkhimer, and the
character s mother, Mrs. Partley, played by Kristen Heller, rehearse
a scene from The Sorcerer in Bowling Green.
Constance Partley, left, played by Kelly Barkhimer, and the character s mother, Mrs. Partley, played by Kristen Heller, rehearse a scene from The Sorcerer in Bowling Green.

Bowling Green theater troupes have a distinctively British flavor this weekend as they present a lesser-known work of Gilbert and Sullivan and an adaptation of Peter Pan.

For its April production, the Black Swamp Players have chosen The Sorcerer, one of many collaborations of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert and Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan.

It is one of their early works, according to director Barbara Lockard-Zimmerman, professor of voice at Bowling Green State University. And although it is not as well known as, say, The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance, it is equally important.

"They wrote all the rest of their shows for those voice types in The Sorcerer," she said. This show established the "patter songs" and many of the comedic elements that are common to Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

The show is about a young couple, Alexis Pointdextre and Aline Sangazure, who are being honored at a party to announce their engagement. They are so happy, they want everyone to fall in love, so Alexis obtains a potion from a sorcerer and serves it to his unmarried guests, sending them into a brief slumber. When the guests awake, they fall in love with the first person they see, which creates a great deal of chaos.

The cast, which is composed of members of the community as well as faculty and students at BGSU, comprises Jacob Lee Wilder as Alexis, Rebecca Gordon as Aline, Guy Zimmerman as Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, Deb Shaffer as Lady Sangazure, Ed O'Donnell as Mr. Daly, Eryk Grycza as the notary, Tod Butler as John Wellington Wells, Kristen Heller as Mrs. Partley, and Kelly Barkhimer as Constance Partley. The villagers (chorus) are played by Lizabeth Malaga, Brandy Tell, Dan Colon, Andrea Fatica, Young Kim, Damian Stout, and Brittney Bishop.

With colorful costumes, delightful music, a healthy dose of comedy, and a reasonable running time (90 minutes), Lockard-Zimmerman says The Sorcerer is certainly family-friendly.

The Black Swamp Players present Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Sorcerer" through April 10 in the auditorium of First United Methodist Church, 1506 East Wooster St., Bowling Green. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. April 10. Tickets, $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, are available at Grounds for Thought coffee house, 174 South Main St. At the door, all tickets are $12. Information:

The Treehouse Troupe at Bowling Green State University is heading for the third star on the right in its spring production of Peter Pan and Wendy.

F. Scott Regan, professor of theater at BGSU, has adapted J.M. Barrie's tale of Wendy, Michael, and John Darling who are swept off to Neverland by the boy who refuses to grow up, Peter Pan. The show keeps has all the elements of wonderful fantasy: lost boys, an Indian princess, the evil Captain Hook, and a hungry crocodile.

According to Ronald Shields, chairman of the university's department of theater and film, the Treehouse Troupe is a traveling theatrical company composed of university students who have signed up for it as a class. It has been around for more than 25 years, and its members annually perform for more than 12,000 elementary school students throughout northwest Ohio.In addition to its travels to area schools, the Treehouse Troupe presents performances at the university for those who are unable to attend a school show.

"Peter Pan and Wendy" is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Joe E. Brown Theatre in University Hall at Bowling Green State University. Tickets are $7. Information: 419-372-2719.

- Nanciann Cherry