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Rose Valley Chorus & Orchestra


Production History
    Director - Kate Nealley
    Music Director - Michael Smith
    Iolanthe (a fairy, Strephon's mother) - Mary Punshon


    Celia (a fairy) - Abby Capitolo
    Lelia (a fairy) - Paula Gonzalez
    Fleta (a fairy)- Tess Cherlin
    Strephon (an Arcadian Shepherd) - David Price
    The Lord Chancellor - Ed Nealley
    Earl of Mountararat - Chris Capitolo
    Earl Tolloller - Chris Rubino
    Queen of the Fairies - Martha Smylie
    Private Willis (of the Grenadier Guards) - Colin Dahms
    Phyllis - Alexis Droke
      Lisa Cleek, Molly Gray, Sally Sapega, Cathy Wakefield
      Bruce Conley, Willy Dahms, Sylvan Kesilman, Doug Kurtze, Jack McEwen, Robert Moore

Katherine P. Nealley (Stage Director) is very pleased to direct Iolanthe for RVCO. She has Stage Directed many productions for RVCO, most recently Thespis (2015), Kiss Me, Kate (2015), and Brigadoon (2013), and she also co-directed The Music Man (2016) with Bob Moore. Kate has directed several G&S operettas and Broadway musicals with other local theater groups, and frequently choreographs shows as well. Kate danced professionally with the Miami Ballet, and is also a Teacher of Scottish Country and Step Dance and English Country Dance. She is particularly happy to bring Iolanthe back to the stage at RVCO after 20 years.

Michael Smith (Music Director) is making his debut as a music director with RVCO.  Michael has a music education degree from Temple University and has been an orchestra musician or conductor for dozens of shows with several local theater companies, including King of Prussia Players, Methacton Community Theater, Facetime Theater and Steel River Playhouse.  Michael also played in the Rose Valley orchestra for Kiss Me. Kate in 2015.  He is the conductor of the Audubon (Pa) Symphony Orchestra and the Montgomery County Reading Orchestra. Michael plays with the Pottsgrove Community Band and the Merion Concert Band, and he is also principal clarinetist with Orchestra Concordia in Wayne, Pa.

Bill DeFeo (Producer) is really excited about extending his knowledge as a first time producer for RVCO in G&S’s Iolanthe.  Guided by past producers Bruce Conley and Bill Michael, he has enjoyed this end of the spectrum and is really thankful for the opportunity.  Bill is also our Vice President, and has performed in seven shows with RVCO including The Pirates of Penzance, Evita, The Gondoliers, Kiss Me Kate, Thespis, Nunsense II and The Music Man.  He is the Controller for The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. 

Bruce Bogdanoff (Peer) - made his stage debut with RVCO in Me & My Girl as the Pearly King and other ensemble roles. A neurologist, he joined RVCO in 1989 as pianist for The Mikado and most recently played Beauregard in Mame. With Ohev Shalom Players, he played keyboard for Pippin and was Bobby in Company, Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, General Bullmoose in Li'l Abner, and Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie. He performs with various chamber music groups and the RVCO Chamber Trio.

Abby Capitolo (Celia) - This is Abby's third G&S show with Rose Valley. She met her husband, Chris Capitolo, in 2013's production of The Pirates of Penzance and is excited to be sharing the stage with him again for the first time since they met (at least he won't be playing her father this time). She also appeared in The Gondoliers in 2014.  Abby and Chris reside in Abington, PA with their wonderful cat, Sybil.

Chris Capitolo (Lord Mountararat) is happy to be back on the Rose Valley main stage for the first time since his role as the Major General in The Pirates of Penzance three years ago.  His other RVCO credits include Jack Cass in Nailed in Vegas, Bobby the office boy in Radio Dazed, and chorus parts in Patience and Oklahoma.  Other musical credits include Daniel in Once on This Island at Town and Country Players in Doylestown and chorus parts in Of Thee I Sing and The Pirates of Penzance at Grove City College.

Tess Cherlin (Fleta) is very happy to be joining RVCO for Iolanthe! Tess is currently a resident of Philadelphia, PA where she is a Genetics, Genomics, and Cancer Biology graduate student at Thomas Jefferson University. Tess graduated from Syracuse University in 2011 where she performed in the University Choir, Concert Band, and a student-run theater organization called WHAT. Thank you for coming and enjoy the show!

Lisa Cleek (Fairy) - Usually "employed" behind the scenes, Lisa has come out of hiding to join the fairy ring for this season's production of Iolanthe.  Previous RVCO shows include The Music Man, The Pirates of Penzance, Evita,  and My Fair Lady,  to name a few.  Lisa has also been involved with other community theater groups.  She would like to thank her feet for holding up well so far this season.

Bruce Conley (Peer) is happy to be in the ensemble for this production of Iolanthe.  He has been a part of RVCO since 1988 and has performed in more than three dozen shows.  He has also enjoyed assisting the group in many administrative ways.  This show provokes fond memories of the 1995 production when his son, Steve. played the crested part of page to the peers.  He also especially thanks his wife Rae for her help and support.

Colin Dahms (Private Willis) - is thrilled to be able to sing once more for all you lovely people, this time while carrying a rifle and marching. This is Colin's first Iolanthe and his fifth appearance with Rose Valley Chorus and Orchestra. When not performing in the theater or with his cover band Just for Kicks, Colin can be seen stealing cars, robbing banks, blowing things up with helicopters, and exacting revenge on unfaithful business partners. Then he turns the Xbox off, takes out the trash, and goes to bed.

Willy Dahms (Peer) is delighted to be performing again with RVCO. He has been a Gilbert and Sullivan fan for many years and has been performing their works since 2002.   He is proud once again to perform with his son, Colin.  He  thanks his understanding wife for letting him out at night to dance with other women.

Alexis Nicole Droke (Phyllis) is very excited to make her debut with the Rose Valley Opera Chorus. This will be her second Gilbert and Sullivan role, having just completed H.M.S. Pinafore with the Ardensingers as Josephine in spring 2016. In addition to pursuing a career as a professional opera singer, Alexis teaches private voice lessons at her home studio, and sings regularly at Saint Anthony's Catholic Church in Wilmington. Alexis especially thanks her husband, David, for his unconditional love and support of her pursuits.

Paula Gonzalez (Leila and RVCO President) was most recently seen on stage with RVCO as Venus in Thespis, Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense II, the Haberdasher in Kiss Me, Kate, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, and a Bridesmaid in Trial By Jury. When not on the stage, Paula can be found working as director of member relations for Produce Marketing Association or at home cuddling with her 6 cats. She next looks forward to performing as the Princess of Monte Carlo in The Ardensingers’ production of The Grand Duke in April 2017.

Molly Gray (Fairy) -  is a Sophomore at Strath Haven High School.  She is excited to be in Iolanthe.  This is her second RVCO production as she was in The Music Man last spring.  She was in a Christmas Carol at SHHS and enjoys playing dungeons and dragons when not on stage. 

Sylvan Kesilman (Peer) is a lifelong enthusiast of Gilbert and Sullivan and has appeared in over fifty productions of these works and other musical shows. 2016 has been a special year for his theatrical likings, since he got to appear last spring in RVCO's magnificent production of The Music Man, his favorite Broadway musical, and now Iolanthe, his favorite G&S opera. This is his seventh production of Iolanthe, including RVCO's last performance of it in 1995. He has also directed shows with Thespis, Etc. and several high school productions.

Doug Kurtze (Peer) - appeared most recently as the Carpenter's Mate in the Ardensingers production of H.M.S Pinafore.  He has also played Timidon in Thespis, Giorgio in The Gondoliers, and the Foreman in Trial By Jury, all with Rose Valley, and Old Adam in Ruddigore with Thespis, Etc.  Off stage, look for him dancing with the Kingsessing Morris Men.

Jack McEwen (Peer) - was General in Evita, Lord Boxington in My Fair Lady, Ike Pilersham in Plain and Fancy, Piet in The Red Mill, Liver-Lips Louie in Guys and Dolls, and Bob Barking in Me and My Girl.  He joined RVCO in 2000.

Barb Matheson (Stage Manager) has appeared backstage in many RVCO shows.  After playing "roles" in business management, she discovered that she is happiest dressed in black and (mostly) out of sight!  Barb currently serves as secretary on the Executive Committee. Between shows, she likes to travel with her husband, Don, a life member of RVCO who now plays in the orchestra.

Robert Moore (Peer, Make-Up Design, RVCO Board Member) who is a proud Life Member of RVCO, co-directed The Music Man with Kate Nealley last Spring. Bob, who holds an MA in Theatre from Villanova University, has created many principal roles in RVCO shows over the years and also has directed lots of shows for the group as well! Currently, he is the Chair of the Show Selection Committee so if you have any ideas for future shows, please let him know! A retired teacher and former Peace Corps Volunteer, he now works as a designer for Celebrations Design Group and is on the teaching and directing staff for the Young People's Theatre Workshop in Swarthmore, where he is also the Resident Make-Up Designer. He has professional credits in theatre and film and has worked at Players Club of Swarthmore, Candlelight Dinner Theatre, Villanova University Theatre, The Brandywiners LTD, Delaware Children's Theatre and many other theatres and touring companies! 

Edwin Nealley (The Lord Chancellor, RVCO Board Member) is pleased to return to RVCO as the Lord Chancellor, a role he has performed twice before with other companies. A veteran of over 30 RVCO productions and road shows, Ed has performed in all 14 G&S operettas, and this is one of his particular favorites. Other recent roles include Mayor Shinn and Thespis with RVCO, and Lord Chancellor with The Ardensingers. He also has the privilege to serve on the Executive Committee for RVCO, and to have served as its President last season.

David Price (Strephon) - We are pleased to welcome back Mr. Price who made his debut with RVCO in 2008 as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. A Michigan native and resident of the Philadelphia area, Mr. Price has performed extensively as a soloist with such organizations as the Philadelphia Singers, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Music Group of Philadelphia, Ama Deus Ensemble, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Opera Theater, Chautauqua Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Philadelphia Renaissance Wind Band, Vox the Renaissance Consort, Kennett Symphony and 1807 & Friends.  Mr. Price has sung many oratorio roles, and he regularly sings leading roles with the Delaware Valley Opera Company, most recently Belmonte in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Dancairo in Carmen, Dr. Spalanzani in Tales of Hoffmann, and Ford in Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor.   Also an active recitalist, his recent recital activity has focused on involving very talented student musicians at Upper Dublin High School, where Mr. Price teaches chemistry.
Mary Punshon (Iolanthe) - is pleased to be back at RVCO in one of her favorite roles. Previous roles with RVCO were Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore,  Lalume in Kismet, Bertha in The Red Mill, Mad Margaret in Ruddigore, and Pitti Sing in The Mikado. She also represented RVCO at the Gettysburg International G&S Festival as Amanda in The Carp.  Mary is a member of most of the local Gilbert & Sullivan groups and has portrayed 14 different G&S roles.  In addition to G&S, Mary has performed with The Concert Operetta Theater as Masha in The Chocolate Soldier at The Music Pier in Ocean City, NJ with The Ocean City Pops and Princess Margaret in The Student Prince at the Academy of Vocal Arts.  Favorite opera roles include Musetta in La Boheme, the title role in Carmen, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte and Saffi in The Gypsy Baron.  Mary would like to thank her kids who grew up helping her learn her lines in the car and her husband Wayne.

Chris Rubino Lord Tolloller, RVCO Board Member) is thrilled to be back on stage with RVCO in this very fun role. Chris made his group debut in the chorus of Patience in 2011, most recently appearing as Apollo in Bruce Montgomery’s Thespis, Charlie in Brigadoon, and Freddy in My Fair Lady. His past affiliations include the Philadelphia Gilbert & Sullivan Union, the Penn Singers, and the Penn Glee Club. “Much love to my wife Meagan and to our two sons, Marc and Brian, for continuing to inspire me always, on stage and off.”  

Sally Sapega (Fairy) - loves being part of RVCO.  The fun of being onstage, the amazing costumes, and the wonderful friendships keep her coming back year after year.  When not in performance mode, Sally is director of Internal Publications for Penn Medicine and an avid supporter of animal rescue.

Martha Smylie (Queen of the Fairies, Playbill) is a proud Life Member of RVCO having joined 35 years ago. An avid fan of G&S, she has completed the full canon, and has sung all the contralto roles in all 14 operas, including The Learned Judge in a delightful reverse-gender Miss-Trial By Jury. All in all, Martha has performed leading roles in some 80 different productions throughout the region including G&S, other musical comedy, straight plays and comedies. As a member of all the G&S societies in the Delaware Valley, Martha has been president of four of them including RVCO, and in two weeks she will preside over the fifth society when installed as the new president of the Savoy Company, where she first cut her teeth on G&S some 44 years ago! Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

Cathy Wakefield (Fairy, Sponsors, RVCO Board Member) - I am so proud to be a Lifetime Member of RVCO, having been involved with the group for 35 years! Favorite shows include Pirates, Guys and Dolls (1984, 2004), Plain and Fancy (1986 onstage with my daughter, Kerri), Mame (2007, Cousin Fan), My Fair Lady (2012, Lady Boxington) and The Music Man (2016, Mrs. Squires). Thanks to my supportive family and friends!

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