by Sally Cohen
Flourtown residents Peggy and David Conver have joined the Savoy Company of Philadelphia for their productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic operettas, “Trial By Jury” and “The Sorcerer,” to be presented on June 13 and 14 at the open air theatre at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, southern Chester County.
Peggy is a retired business manager for Chestnut Hill Academy, where she served for 14 years after being the comptroller of Drexel University. Following these performances, she will have appeared in all but one of the Gilbert and Sullivan shows. David has been practicing law in the Lansdale area for the past 33 years and sings with the Orpheus Club of Philadelphia. Even their 20-year-old daughter, Caroline, appeared in “Iolanthe” when she was just 7 years old.
The Savoy Company was founded in 1901 and has been continuously performing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in and around Philadelphia since that time. Previous members of this troupe have included Nelson Eddy and Metropolitan Opera soprano Margaret Harshaw.
(Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) and to the works they jointly created. The two men collaborated on 14 comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Mikado” are probably the best known. They are still performed all over the world.)
Pierre DuPont was so taken with the performances of the company that he had an open air theater constructed at Longwood Gardens, where this year’s shows will be performed. The stage features a curtain consisting of a wall of water, which rises and falls on command.
The troupe will also be previewing their performance with a 7 p.m. show on Thursday, June 5, at Gorgas Park, 6300 Ridge Ave. in Roxborough, right next to Roxborough High School. That evening is free of charge, and refreshments will be available. (Bring a lawn chair.) Like Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill, Gorgas Park has a summer series of concerts starting July 11 and ending Sept. 11 (www.gorgaspark.com/summer-concert-series).
The main performances of “Trial by Jury” and “The Sorcerer” will take place at Longwood Gardens on Friday and Saturday, June 13 and 14, 8:30 p.m. Ticket price is $30, and your ticket gives you an all-day pass at Longwood. More information at www.savoy.org or 215-735-7161.