Thespis – Spring 2023

The Pittsburgh Savoyards close their 85th season this Spring with a Pittsburgh Premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan’s very first operetta, Thespis. Performances will be held April 28-30 and May 5-7 2023 at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center in Ross Township, PA (Directions and parking). Online livestreams of select performances will also available!

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of several productions of other local community theatre groups due to outbreaks, we may require patrons to wear masks at our discretion during the performance.

Performance dates and times are as follows:

  • Friday, April 28 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, April 30 at 2:30 pm
  • Friday, May 5 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, May 7 at 2:30 pm

On Mount Olympus, the elderly pantheon of deities complain of feeling old and lament their waning influence on Earth. An acting troupe headed by Thespis, the legendary Greek father of the drama, make their appearance, and convince the gods to temporarily trade places with them. The actors turn out to be comically inept rulers, committing such errors on Earth as ruining the weather, starting wars, and even getting rid of all the wine! Having seen the ensuing mayhem down below, the angry gods return, sending the actors back to Earth as “eminent tragedians, whom no one ever goes to see.”

Thespis; or, The Gods Grown Old is Gilbert & Sullivan’s very first opera as a pair, originally performed in December 1871. Though the musical score is mostly lost to history, Gilbert’s libretto still exists, and the missing music has been expertly recreated by composer and former University of Pennsylvania musical director Bruce Montgomery. Thespis is unique in the G&S canon in that it is technically an operatic extravaganza, rather than a true operetta. It was written to be a short-running Christmastime entertainment, and originally featured a five-movement ballet section during Act II. Following the closing of the show, Gilbert and Sullivan went their separate ways for four years before reuniting in 1875 to stage their only one-act operetta, Trial by Jury.

More Information

Jupiter, Aged Deity
Apollo, Aged Deity
Mars, Aged Deity
Diana, Aged Deity
Venus, Aged Deity
Thespis, Manager of a Travelling Theatrical Co.
Sillimon, his Stage Manager
Chorus of aged deities
Chorus of thespians