Thespis Cast Biographies

Thespis Cast Biographies

Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old

In a new performing version by Anthony Baker and Timothy Henty
Original libretto by W.S. Gilbert
(Adapted and revised by Anthony Baker)
Music from Arthur Sullivan and Jacques Offenbach
Music selected by Baker & Henty
Additional music, arrangements and orchestrations by Timothy Henty


Anthony Baker
Anthony Baker is best known as a Stage Designer and Director for Opera in a career which began in 1989. He trained at the Cenral School of Art and Design, London. Past credits include operas across four centuries, at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, WNO and Opera North.; at FGarsington and Drottningholm; the Liceu, Barcelona, Rome Opera, Teatro Communale di Bologna, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Los ANgeles Opera; The Dallas Opera, Royal Opera, Copenhagen, Gand Theatre de Geneve; and the Australian Opera. He has been a Visiting Professor in Stage Design at eh University of Washington, Seatlle and at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. His passion for GIlbert and Sullivan is longstanding, as a director, designer and performer. He lives in London.
Photo: Marco Borggreve © Nederlandse Reisopera 2015
Timothy Henty
Timothy Henty is a British condutor. He studied a the ROyal College of Music in London under Neil Thomson as a Foundation Scholar, winning the Tagore Gold Medal-- the Colleges highest award presented to him by HRH The Prince of Wales. He now conducts a diverse repertoire with leading ensembles in the UK and abroad, such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Malmo Opera and the RTE COncert orchestras; the Holland Symfonia and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden, where he made his debut  at age 24. Known for his performances od British music, he made his first appearance at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, Buxton in 2009. He lives in Surrey, England with his wife Louise.

Directors

Marian Shulman
Stage Director:
Marian Shulman
Marian directed last fall's production of Patience, and has appeared onstage with Troupers as Ida in Die Fledermaus, Vittoria in The Gondoliers, and both Buttercup and Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore.  She has performed in opera, oratorio, and operatic workshops in San Francisco, Aspen CO and New York City.  A G & S veteran, she has performed with Gilbert and Sullivan companies in California, New Jersey, Texas, and Connecticut and has directed performances in California and Texas.  She also participates as Vice-President of Troupers’ Board of Directors, and served as Stage Manager for The Pirates of Penzance and costume coordinator for Iolanthe.  Marian lives in Stamford with her husband Arthur, and thanks him for his patience and encouragement during the rehearsal period.
Jim Cooper
Music Director:
James Cooper
Jim learned conducting in order to perform two music theater pieces he composed in his late teens. He studied theory and composition while at Oberlin College and performed with the Oberlin G&S Players on Cape Cod the year the John Lithgow was in the company. Later he gained experience conducting his compositions for a women's chorus, and still later became the choir director of the First Parish Church in Tyngsboro, MA. Last year, he was the music director of Patience  and the 2014Troupers' Fall Gala and the chorus master for Iolanthe. He has been on the Troupers Board for the past 15 years serving variously as vice-president, president and treasurer. He thanks his wife Vicki for all her support.

Soloists


Brett Kroeger - Mercury

Brett Kroeger is a dynamic, versatile performer who is comfortable in all musical genres, everything from opera and operetta to cabaret and musical theatre to art song recitals or singing the National Anthem in a sports arena. In the past four years, she has been a featured lead with Troupers Light Opera of Connecticut, performing in their fall and spring shows. She also collaborated with Broadway pianist and musical director Christopher Denny to produce and perform “Over There: Greatest Hits of the Great War” in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of World War I. Critics praised the cabaret as a “totally pleasing and enlightening hour of song, insights, history and memories,” adding that “Kroeger’s singing, expression, and overall joie de vivre made for an entertaining and at times very touching experience.” This show has been performed throughout the tri-state area.

Other highlights of the last few seasons include a featured spot at the release show for the new CD of the Bret Williams quartet singing Villa Lobos’s “Bachianas Brasileiras No.5” and singing the National Anthem for a televised game of the Connecticut Whales of the National Women’s Hockey League. (Around minute 12 of this video.) She was the featured vocalist at La Fenice in Venice for Hebrew University’s European conference on “The Song of Songs.”

Opera and Operetta performances in Connecticut and New York include the roles of Mercury in Thespis (November 5-6, 2017), Constance in The Sorcerer, Angela in Patience, Edith in Pirates of Penzance, Gretchen in The Red Mill, Flora and Annina in La Traviata (LDTS Temple, New York, Bill Schuman Presents); Thisbe in Cenerentola and Micaela in Carmen (Consulate General of Argentina). For the Manhattan Opera Repertory Company, she was Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Sandman/Dewfairy in Hansel and Gretel, and Marguerite in Faust. As a resident artist with DiCapo Opera, she appeared as Julie in Dangerous Liaisons, Sylviane in The Merry Widow and the premier novice in Suor Angelica.

Other credits include solo performances in the Absolute Ensemble’s U.S. premier of Daniel Schnyder’s Casanova and in Robert Cuckson’s “Cantata on Acadian Texts” with the Columbia University Bach Society. She has given solo recitals during summer festivals of Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta and Camogli, Italy, at the Istituto di Cultura in New York City and has appeared in concerts with the Richard Tucker Foundation, at Christ’s and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and at Concordia College in New York.

She has a master’s degree in vocal performance from the Mannes College of Music, and received her bachelor’s in vocal performance from Lawrence University.

Gregory SussGregory Suss - Thespis

Greg played Colonel Calverly in Patience.  A devoted Savoyard, his first G&S role was in the 6th grade as Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore.  Under the direction of Bruce Montgomery at the University of Pennsylvania, Greg performed in a variety of principal roles in Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, and The Gondoliers.  As a member of the famed Blue Hill Troupe in NYC since 1986, favorite roles he performed include Jack Point (Yeomen of the Guard), Sir Despard (Ruddigore), Ludwig (The Grand Duke), Private Willis (Iolanthe), and Colonel Calverley (Patience).  An actor/director for over 200 productions, Greg has performed locally with the St. Catherine Players as Max in The Sound of Music, Julius Goldschmidt in Barnum, The Mayor of Whoville in Seussical, and Mr. Darling in Peter Pan, along with wife, Kathleen and daughter, Katie.

Anne
Anne Collin - Nicemis

Anne Collin (Nicemis) is happy to be making her debut with Troupers. Anne is a member of Concora (CT Choral Artists), and has also performed in many musical theater productions. Favorite past roles include Maria in The Sound of Music and Lily in The Secret Garden. By day, Anne is a music teacher in the Greenwich Public School system. She thanks her family for their love and support.

WendyWendy Falconer -
Diana

Wendy is happy to perform again with Troupers.  Past performances with TLO include: Lady Jane in Patience, Iolanthe in Iolanthe, Kate in The Pirates of Penzance, Bertha in The Red Mill, Katisha in The Mikado, The Duchess in The Gondoliers, Dame Carruthers in Yeomen of the Guard, Lady Blanche (cover) in Princess Ida, Mrs. Partlet in The Sorcerer, Pitti Sing in The Mikado, plus chorus in Ruddigore, and Trial By Jury.  Wendy served as President of Troupers from 2013-2015 and 2002-2004.  A true G&S enthusiast, Wendy has played Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore with The Connecticut G&S Society, is a member of the Blue Hill Troupe in New York City and has performed in the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton, UK with Savoynet and with G&S Opera Victoria, Australia.  Other credits include Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore with Musicals-at-Richter, Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady with Theatre Genesius plus chorus in The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and The Music Man with various companies throughout Fairfield County. 

 

Deb
Deborah Connelly- Daphne
Deborah is excited to be performing with Troupers again.  She has been featured in past TLO performances as Mrs. Partlett in The Sorcerer, Celia in Iolanthe, Isabel in Pirates of Penzance, Giselle in The Red Mill and Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, and has recently sung with the Taconic Opera in their production of Faust.  She is a past winner of the Golden Voices of America singing competition, has performed improvisational comedy with Comedy City and Full Frontal comedy of Kansas City and has studied acting with E Katherine Kerr.

Jennifer Wallace - Pretteia
Jennifer Wallace is happy to be singing in her first production with Troupers Light Opera. She is a member of Camerata d’Amici and has sung with Wilton Singers and the Music on the Hill Summer Chorus, recently appearing as a soprano soloist in their performance of Mozart’s Requiem. Jennifer has previously performed in ensemble roles in productions of The Secret GardenFiddler on the RoofGrease, and Anything Goes.
DavidDavid Richy - Sparkeion

David Richy, tenor, is making his fifth appearance with Troupers Light Opera as Sparkeion. Born and raised in Westchester County, NY, David performs regularly with organizations throughout the Tri-State area. His most recent roles include Alexis in The Sorcerer, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with Troupers Light Opera, and Gaston in La Traviata with Taconic Opera.  David has also appeared in several other operas and operettas, including Rigoletto, Aida, Macbeth, Turandot, Tosca, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Die Fledermaus, Nabucco, Don Pasquale, Madame Butterfly, Mefistofele, La Fille du Regiment, Pagliacci, Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor, L’Italiana in Algeri and Falstaff.  David also sings both as a soloist and as a chorister with Sound Shore Chorale in New Rochelle, NY, and has performed several oratorios, including Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor.

Bob scrofani
Bob Scrofani - Jupiter
Robert Scrofani, Bass-Baritone,  recently played Private Willis in Iolanthe, The Governor in Victor Herbert's The Red Mill, and most recently the the Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. Robert sang for many years with the Connecticut Grand Opera chorus, and also soloed in the roles of Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro and the High Commissioner in Madama Butterfly. Last spring he sang the role of Zuniga in Carmen with the Norwalk Symphony. He recently made his debut with the Taconic Opera as Pistola in Verdi’s Falstaff. He currently sings with the Mendelssohn Choir in Fairfield, CT. He studies voice with the renowned Metropolitan Opera bass John Macurdy.
jOHN
John Matilaine - Apollo
John Matilaine is making his umpteenth appearance with Trouper’s, having played Sir Roderic in Ruddigore, Poo Bah in TheMikado, Arac in Princess Ida, Wilfred in The Yeomen of the Guard, Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore, Don Alhambra in The Gondoliers, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Pish Tush in TheMikado, the Burgomeister in The Red Mill, The Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance, Lord Tolloller in Iolanthe, The Duke in Patience and most recently Doctor Daley in The Sorcerer.   He has also appeared as the Lieutenant in Yeomen and the Duke in Patience many years ago. He also was Colonel Pickering in Curtain Call’s production of My Fair Lady. John sings regularly with the Taconic Opera in Yorktown Heights NY where he has soloed in several Oratorios, the Gounod Requiem and Puccini Messa di Gloria. He also sings with other singing groups in Westchester County including Charis Chamber Voices and Collegium of Westchester. John has been on several foreign tours (China, Russia, England, South America, South Africa, Holland, Cuba,Guatemala, Mexico, Istanbul, Yerevan, Tbilisi, the Baltics, Viet Nam and Singapore) with the Yale Alumni Chorus as a soloist and second tenor.
rOB
Rob Strom - Mars
This is Rob’s tenth appearance with Troupers.  Rob has acted and sung in community theatre, musicals and opera since 1973.  He currently sings with the Ridgefield Chorale, and has been a volunteer music director for musical plays in Ridgefield elementary schools since 1994.  Rob also performed with Troupers as the Lawyer in Sorcerer, Featherstonhaugh in The Red Mill, Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, and in the chorus of Iolanthe, Mikado and Yeomen of the Guard, and Major Murgatroyd in Patience. Rob’s other roles include King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Fezziwig and Old Joe in A Christmas Carol, the Munchkin Mayor in The Wizard of Oz, Teddy in Arsenic and Old Lace, and chorus parts in CarmenTosca, and Aida.  In real life, Rob is a retired computer scientist, and a math, science, and writing tutor.
TY Goff
Ty Goff - Sillimon

This is Ty's fifth performance with Troupers, having previously sung in the SorcererPatienceIolanthe and Pirates of Penzance. Other on-stage performances include Cosi fan Tutte and Hansel and Gretel with Hat City Opera. He has spent most of his musical theatre career playing viola in the pit orchestra for countless operas, musicals and oratorios, including Amahl and the Night Visitorsthe ImpresarioFiddler on the Roofthe Music ManA Little Night MusicWest Side Story, and Handel's Messiah. Ty is the bass section leader in the Ridgefield Chorale and is currently studying music education at Western Connecticut State University.

John Hoover
John Hoover -Timidon

John, a native of Colorado, rejoined Troupers last year after a hiatus of thirteen years. He performed in thirteen previous productions, primarily as a chorister, as well as working on sets and serving on the Board of Directors.  A teacher at Fairfield Country Day School, he also directs and produces an annual one-act play there and shares the technical design of, designs and builds sets for, and manages the student technical and stage crews of the school's annual musical production.  He was also involved in the technical production of Fairfield Follies for several years.

Guy
Guy Stretton - Tipseion

Guy Stretton, chorus, is pleased to be in his 26th production with Troupers. A CPA and financial consultant, he was formerly Treasurer for 15 years and Board Member 6 years. He and his wife Barbara, both Lifers, live in Old Greenwich with their family of six shelter cats. 

Tammy
Tammy Strom - Cymon
Tammy is thrilled to be returning for her sixth Troupers production, having previously performed in The Red Mill, Pirates of Penzance, Patience, The Sorcerer, and as "Fleta" in Iolanthe.  A lifelong performer, Tammy has graced the stage in numerous performances with Spotlight Theater Workshop, Brandeis University, and The Ridgefield Theater Barn.  She also sings with The Ridgefield Chorale, Congregation Shir Shalom choir, and The First Congregational Church concert choir.  Favorite roles past roles include Lily in “Carnival,” Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” Miss Hannigan in “Annie,” and Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof.”  Tammy is a board certified music therapist, and works at the Jewish Home for the Eldery in Bridgeport, CT.  She lives in Ridgefield with her beloved and exceedingly spoiled cats, Ava and Cleo.

 

Chorus

Rosa
Rosa Elena Parrotta

Rosa Elena is delighted to be singing for her fourth consecutive year with Troupers Light Opera. She was in the chorus of The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and in The Red Mill she also played the role of Brigitte. She lived in Italy for 25 years and earned a Master’s Degree in Languages in Rome.  She now lives and works in Stamford and sings in the choir of Sacred Heart Church where she is also the Italian soprano soloist.

Ruth-Anne Ruth-Anne is delighted to be back with Troupers in this interesting and fun production of Thespis. She has performed with the company since 2004 in various G&S productions, and also Die Fledermaus, presented at the Westport Country Playhouse . Other productions and past favorites include: Annie WarbucksI Remember Mama and The Full Monty, The Secret Garden, Funny Girl, Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and two original musicals: Wall $treet, The Musical (co-production between Troupers and the Wilton Playshopand Esther, The New Musical. Stephen Sondheim said “If I can’t fly, let me sing!” Exactly.
Bill
Bill Abbott
Bill has sung bass in the men’s chorus of Troupers Light Opera since 1997.  From 1982 to 1984 he performed with the Stanford Savoyards at Stanford University, and he has sung in choirs and choruses in California, Connecticut, and England.    Bill was president of Troupers in 2001-2002, and served on its Board of Directors for seven years.   Currently he is Troupers’ publicity director.   A 1974 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, with a doctorate in British history from Oxford University, he is a full-time member of the History faculty at Fairfield University.   He currently serves as President of Troupers.
Neil
Neil Flores
Neil served as stage manager for this spring's production of The Sorcerer. This is his first onstage appearance with Troupers.
Rebecca
Rebecca Kovacs
This is Rebecca's second performance with Trouper's. She studied theater at Norwalk Community College and has performed as Kate in Taming of the Shrew and acted in the short plays Carnality and Laundry & Bourbon. She enjoys comedy improv, piano and singing in her spare time.