Johann Strauss’s most famous and successful operetta was performed in English in 1993, was SWOC’s second production of a complete show, and the first with musical director Marguerite Monagle, who also played a major role (Adèle)! Ron Harwood directed, and we toured the show to eight venues around the south west of WA (Bridgetown, Manjimup, Kojonup, Albany, Katanning, Busselton, Pinjarra and Bunbury), and performed it in Bunbury at the new Entertainment Centre.
It was cast within the company. The venues had stages of varying shapes, sizes and facilities. The Busselton Civic Centre was the largest, and the sets (built by Brian Groom) were designed to fill this stage, yet had to be reducible to a stage less than half the size by leaving bits out. Act II scenes with chorus and dancers also had to be modified for different stages. Frosch, the jail keeper, varied his lines to suit the venue, and got into trouble once for his references to sensitive matters in the local community. The ball dresses for Act II were spectacular creations of Mary Groom, and have been trotted out on numerous occasions since.
SWOC has been performing excerpts from this operetta, despite its ridiculous story line, from the company’s beginnings in 1986 to concerts in 2013 – a testament to the enduring allure of the music.