Category Archive for: ‘Go See’




Ross Valley Players – RVP – is pleased to present the comic musical H.M.S. Pinafore as the second selection in its 2016-1017 Season.  Written by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, H.M.S. Pinafore tells the story of a ship captain’s daughter in love with an ordinary sailor while her father has a more sophisticated suitor in mind.

When we enter the theatre we are aboard the H.M.S. Pinafore, a wonderfully designed and constructed ship-set by Ron Krempetz and Eugene DeChristopher, with Scenic Artist Dhyanis, and beautifully lit by Lighting Designer Frank Sarubbi.  The set is a raked stage with a ramp leading into the audience.

The play opens with the crew of the H.M.S. Pinafore polishing the ship’s brass work and slicing its blinds as Little Buttercup (a plump and pleasing Heather Werkheiser) arrives with a basket of wares, singing “Poor Little Buttercup.”  With a patch over his eye Dick Deadeye (Jim Fye) appears, and the crew agrees that he is easily as unpopular as he claims.  Able Seaman Ralph Rackstraw (Cordell Wesselink) enters and reveals through the song “A Maiden Fair to See” (with a lovely voice) that he is in love with a girl who is, alas, far above his social station.  In fact, he is in love with none other than Josephine, the Captain’s beautiful daughter (Sibel Demirmen – who also has a wonderful voice).

Enter Captain Corcoran (Bobby Singer) who relates that his daughter Josephine is being sought in marriage by Sir Joseph Porter KCB (the well-known actor Norman A. Hall, who steals the show as the First Lord of the Admiralty).  However, Josephine isn’t taking kindly to that arrangement.  In fact, she enters carrying a small basket of flowers and sadly tells her father that she has great respect for Sir Joseph, but her heart is given to another – a humble sailor on her father’s own ship.  She vows to carry her love forever and has revealed it to the true one she loves.

Sir Joseph enters with an entourage of female relatives. He sings, “I Am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy,” disclosing that he has no naval experience.  In the speech that follows, he expresses a belief that each noble English seaman is lower than the Captain is in social rank, due only to an “accident of birth” and is “any man’s equal.”  Sir Joseph compliments Ralph as “an exemplary seaman.”  Ralph takes courage from Sir Joseph’s equality speech, and all his mates, except Deadeye, agree that he should make his feelings for Josephine known.


Josephine enters, lamenting Sir Joseph’s advances and (aside) reveals to the audience that Ralph is the object of her love. Ralph also declares his love for her.  Josephine spurns Sir Joseph’s advances, calling his attention to the difference in their social stations.  Ralph decides that his life no longer has meaning and decides to shoot himself!  Josephine reappears crying through the song, “Stay Your Hands, I Love You.”


Act II finds the Captain singing, “Fair Moon to Thee I Sing,” as Buttercup gazes longingly at him. He would love her,the Captain declares, were it not for the difference in their social stations.  Buttercup tells the Captain, “There’s a change in store,” as they sing a very cute song “Things are Seldom What They Seem.”

Sir Joseph comes in to tell the Captain that Josephine, his daughter, just “won’t do” as his wife. The Captain urges Sir Joseph to tell Josephine that it is the difference in their social stations. Josephine then laments the quandary in which she finds herself – whom shall she choose?  – Sir Joseph with his wealth and social status or Ralph, the one she dearly loves?  Sir Joseph unwittingly helps her make up her mind with his comment that “social rank is not important if two people love each other.”

Dick Deadeye then arrives and reveals that Ralph and Josephine are planning to elope. The Captain, Sir Joseph, and Deadeye intercept the young couple, vowing to put Ralph “to the lash.”  The crew sings, “He is an Englishman” (and, at that point, the Captain breaks his vow never to swear).  Sir Joseph defends Ralph as “anyone’s equal,” when Josephine appears and rushes to Ralph’s arms – whereupon he demands that Ralph be taken to the ship’s dungeon!

Buttercup then divulges her long-kept secret: long ago, she had two infants, one of lowly birth, the other a Patrician. She mixed up the two, switching one for the other!  The Captain was the common-born child and Ralph the child of privilege.  Ralph then, is the one of superior rank and can choose to marry Josephine.  The Captain, being common born, has no social standing over Buttercup and can marry her.  Sir Joseph then decides that Hebe (Dana Cherry), his own cousin, would make a suitable wife for himself!  It was announced that three weddings would soon take place.



In this wonderful show Jef Labes, Musical Director, was the Accompanist on piano, and Vocal performances were masterfully directed by Gloria Wood.  High praise goes to Michael A. Berg for the delightful costumes; to Sandra Tanner for the fabulous choreography and, of course, to James Dunn for his brilliant direction of this talented cast, which also includes Dan Bort as Boatswain; Javier Alarcon as Carpenter’s Mate; Lucas Amadeus Evans, Bob Galagaran, Peter Sorenson, Ben Vasquez as Sailors; and Adrianna Dinihanian, Katie Ellis, Sophia Grace Ferar, Arden Kilzer, and Holly Soreng, as Sisters, Cousins, and Aunts.

For a delightful evening of fun and frolic, come and join us on the H.M.S. Pinafore!


Photography by Robin Jackson
Graphic Design by Jayme Catalano

H.M.S. PINAFORE began its run November 17 and will continue through December 18, 2016.  Regular performances are scheduled for Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Fridays 8:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 p.m., and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00 p.m.  For tickets to H.M.S. PINAFORE, go online to or call 800/838-9555, and tickets for School Groups, call 415/456-9555 extension 3.  All performances take place at The Barn, home of the Ross Valley Players, Marin Art and Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross.

And coming up next, the Ross Valley Players will present Emilie, written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Patricia Miller January 13 through February 5, 2017.

Flora Lynn Isaacson