G&S Society of Maine Summer Newsletter

Welcome! to the inaugural newsletter from the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Maine. We have our new show to announce, photos to share and new members to welcome. We shall keep it short and sweet so you can get back to the wonderful summer sun while it lasts.

Letter from The Board President

Not too long ago, I got the chance to sit down and talk with some longtime supporters, current and former members of GSSME. They gave me a treasure trove of materials from the group’s recent and long ago performances, and I got a chance to see firsthand the wonderful history of this group’s many endeavors. From “A La Carte” performances, to notes about the triumphant invasion of Buxton, to the myriad of shows performed each year, the company has a long list of successes to its credit. Yet, for all this treasure, something was missing. Several somethings, actually.

PEOPLE. What first made me join GSSME, as a newcomer floundering about Ellsworth desperately looking for something outside of work that wasn’t the Internet, was the camaraderie that I found accidentally with two of our longtime members. We were working on another show together, and they welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me to attend a GSSME rehearsal. They spoke about the shows with such enthusiasm – and dare I say silliness – that it was infectious to want to come along. These people brought me to G&S even though I was concerned about not having a good enough voice or having anything to bring to the group.

Photos are a stiff reminder of the people who have been in the group. Videos do little justice, especially when they only capture the show, to the friendships formed offstage and during rehearsals. Many people who have been a large part of the group have passed, taking with them a part of the group but leaving a part of themselves in the process. We have created memories that last a lifetime, and brought a great deal of joy into the world together.

This year a new person joined the group with a great deal of film experience. Since several people have suggested keeping memories alive somehow, we formulated a plan to record interviews with members of the society and create a documentary. Tiffany will be reaching out, but if you have special memories, photos, or videos that you would like to include, please contact a board member. Digital copies are easier, but originals may work as well. In this way, we hope to capture a semblance of the people that have made the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Maine what it is.

FUN. Often when we speak of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, it is as the serious scholars speak of Shakespeare, with a high air of the deep symbols and hidden meanings within each show. Just the word “opera” turns many people away, with images of people sitting stiffly at a concert unable to move while a large man belts a high tenor note. However, as my British colleague says, G&S is operetta, not opera. These light works were the major satire shows of the day, more akin to The Simpsons or Spamilton than to serious dramatic works. The elements of satire, even the institutions lampooned, may be a bit unfamiliar to a modern audience, but there are many timeless elements. In my first show, Patience, a very flowery poem given by the much maligned Bunthorne was not actually high class language, but rather about how everyone loves a good poo joke. Though Maine does not have a House of Peers, we all can identify politicians who are worth having a chuckle at being replaced by someone of ‘competence’ as a punishment, as happens in Iolanthe, our upcoming show.

The Society can bring that fun to new generations. Gilbert and Sullivan are not the household names they once were, but this means that they can be completely new to another generation. Rather than going through the motions of another show, ‘hey we’re doing Iolanthe again’, we can bring our enthusiasm to the forefront. We should not have anyone thinking they’ve seen all the Society has to say. I vividly remember one member’s face as he told me about his favorite moment in one show, and it made me want to not just perform the work, but to really dig into what the show can be. There is so much timeless fun in the different works of G&S and as members of GSSME, we are excited to bring the fun we have onstage and off to the broader community.

Whether it be through the community and people, or bringing our enthusiasm to the stage, let's share a memory or a fun time today – bring a little bit more joy into the world. So take a moment to reflect and give a smile; and when GSSME shows challenge, remember the joy and how fresh it can be.


Our next show will be Gilbert & Sullivan's seventh of fourteen operatic collaborations - Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri. We perform at The Grand, Feb. 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16, 17, 2019. Fridays in the evening and matinees on Sat. and Sun.

An informal sing along and potluck will be held September 29th 4pm at Dottie Schaller's house, the same evening as the Annual Meeting. All are invited and encouraged to attend and bring a dish. RSVP will be sent out in the next newsletter.

We encourage those selling advertising space in our program to approach your contacts now, one can never be too early and space goes quickly. You can download our ad spec sheet here. Reach out to Jeannie Kell for more information.


July 7th 2018 - as part of The Grand's birthday celebration, GGSME performed Trial by Jury and "A Grand Relationship with GSSME"- featuring numbers from shows we produced at The Grand. (Read more here on Broadway World Maine) Also, visit our Facebook page for two live video selects from the event.


A warm welcome to new members that sang in H.M.S. Pinafore this February. We welcome new members anytime of the year, please spread the word to friends and family that might want to join us.

Kristin Dillin, Eric Flowers, Casey Gaithier, Tiffany Laufer, Sally MacDonald, Robert & Sally Taylor

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED- tomorrow - Aug 1st

Wednesday, August 1 at 6:30 PM (at the storage facility next to Pat's Pizza) Shawna Farley is leading a clean up crew to help organize the theatre flats, props and other stage items in the set storage trailer. Sign up here on Facebook.

H.M.S. Pinafore & More

Special thank you to Sandi Blanchette (Artistic Director) and Scott Cleveland (Musical Director) for a wonderful production. We also wish to specially thank the Crew behind the red curtain for their hard work and dedication.

Before the main production of H.M.S. Pinafore, there was a "Gala" written by Aidan Pasha (boardmember) and Sandi Blanchette (Artistic Director).

There were 6 performances of H.M.S. Pinafore this February with overall attendance well over 650. Bravo!

Special thanks to our Costume Designer Linda Firlotte Grindle and costumers: Eva DeHaas, Dotti Schaller and Sally Taylor


A special thanks goes out to Scott Cleveland (Musical Director) and the Orchestra for H.M.S. Pinafore. Keep in mind, we are always looking for additional musicians.

  • Flute: Deirdre McArdle, Judy Fraser
  • Oboe: Dee Immonen
  • Clarinet: Cliff Guthrie, Ed Michaud
  • Bassoon: Jean Roberts
  • Trumpet: Ted Duffy
  • French Horn: Brian Booher
  • Trombone: Sarah Danser
  • Percussion: Lynette Woods
  • Violin 1: David Reiley, Susie Fay, Joyce Tung
  • Violin 2: Rob Roper, Ted Wells, Judith Chittenden
  • Viola: Dede Johnson
  • Cello: Kathleen Caldwell
  • Bass: David Quinby

Reach out to Judy Fraser for more information on joining the orchestra.

See you in February 2019 for Iolanthe

Message from the Board

The board meets every month at Pat's Pizza, please feel free to drop in, bring your suggestions or just say hello and pick up a pie. The next meeting is August 22nd, 6:30pm. We are looking forward to our next production and can't wait to bring the entire group back together this fall.

  • PRESIDENT Dorothy R.A. Wheatcraft
  • VICE PRESIDENT Demelza Ramierez
  • TREASURER Roland Dube
  • SECRETARY Jeannie Kell
  • Terri-Ann Anderson
  • Shawnna Farley
  • Judy Fraser
  • Linda Firlotte Grindle
  • Irv Hodgkin
  • Tiffany Laufer
  • Aidan Pasha
  • Dotti Schaller


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