In July 1961, the first production of the Pultneyville Civic Light Opera Company, conceived by Jean T. Cooper and her brother-in-law, David E. Cooper, was performed on the Gates Hall Stage in conjunction with the annual Pultneyville Homecoming celebration. Jean, a graduate of the School of Drama at Ithaca College and Dave, a graduate of Geneseo, who taught English and directed plays at Sodus Central School, wanted to take a departure from the dramas and comedies produced by the Pultneyville Players. Since a Broadway musical was prohibitively expensive for a start-up group, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas were chosen, as there were no royalties.
For the same financial reasons, it was decided to mount the production in modern dress, saving money on the traditional period costumes normally associated with G&S. H.M.S. Pinafore was selected, because the two Coopers were most familiar with that piece.
At first, the Pultneyville Players balked at sponsoring the musical production, citing “no one wants to rehearse in the summertime” and “no one will come to a show in Gates Hall in the heat of summer” as the reasons. Jean, who was then the president of the Pultneyville Civic Improvement Association (the name “Improvement” was reported to have been dropped from the name of the group because it was felt “Pultneyville doesn’t need any Improvement”), said that group would sponsor the show.
The Pultneyville Civic Light Opera Company (PCLOC, pronounced “puck-luck”) was formed, and has performed a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta each Homecoming ever since. The operettas are given in a rotation: H.M.S. Pinafore; Ruddigore; The Pirates of Penzance; Patience; Iolanthe; The Mikado; The Gondoliers; Princess Ida; The Yeoman of the Guard; and sometimes The Sorcerer and Trial By Jury are performed together.
In 1967, Dave Cooper borrowed $300 from the Civic Association in order to make the light opera company self-sustaining. The money was repaid following the summer production and the group has been self-sustained since that time.
Because of the modern-dress costuming concept, the shows are much funnier and more light-hearted than the usual Gilbert & Sullivan presentation. Many of the cast members have returned year after year to perform the shows, including accompanist Mary Alice Henry, who had been with the group for many decades before her passing in 2009. Much of the Company’s success rests on the continuity of the cast and a loyal audience. As the years have passed, minor technical improvements to the theatre have brought the Company into each decade better than the one before. Today’s July performances benefit from air-conditioning. Further improvements to the building are pending as the Gatesinger Company works closely with its closest friend and landlord (Williamson-Pultneyville Historical Society).
Director David E. Cooper died in April 1990. Nan Hanna-Paquin (daughter of Jean T. Cooper) and several others have taken the director’s seat since his death. In 1997, Jean Cooper returned to the Gates Hall Stage as Inez in The Gondoliers, her final stage performance before her death in August, 1998.
Today, The Gatesinger Company, Ltd. is comprised of all of the following subsidiaries:
The Haunting of Hill House
The “Haunting of Hill House” is a “chilling and mystifying study in mounting terror in which a small group of ‘psychically receptive’ people are brought together in Hill House, a brooding, mid-Victorian mansion known as a place of evil and ‘contained ill will.’ Led by the learned Dr. Montague, who is conducting research in supernatural phenomena, the visitors have come to probe the secrets of the old house and to draw forth the mysterious powers that it is alleged to possess—powers which have brought madness and death to those who have lived therein in the past.” – Dramatists Play Service
LOCATION: Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd., Penfield, NY
ROLES: 4 women; 3 men
REQUIRMENTS: Cold reading from the script; monologues optional; bring resume and headshot
REHEARSALS: Rehearsals will be scheduled based on the availability of the cast and crew
Performances will be Fri. and Sat., Oct 29 and 30 at 8 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., Nov. 5 and 6 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m; Fri. and Sat., Nov. 12 and 13 at 8 p.m.
Actors are also expected to be available for load-in and set build dates: Sat. and Sun., Oct 23 and 24; Tech Week, Oct 25-28 (which includes a dress rehearsal on Oct 28); and load-out on Nov. 14.
FURTHER INFO: email@example.com
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Bristol Valley Theater
Bristol Valley Theater