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P.O Box 1922
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Phone (734) 973-3264
Fax (734) 973-6281
Email: constu@comcast.net
www.comicoperaguild.org

Comic Opera Guild's Spring 2018 Show

Chapter & Worse

by Tom Petiet (and seventeen composers)

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 8 PM

Special Opening Night Tickets: Adults $10 Students $5

FRIDAY, MAY 18 & SATURDAY, MAY 19, 8 PM

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2 PM

Adults $20, Seniors $17, Students $10

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre,

911 N. University, Ann Arbor

TICKETS: Click on the link below to order online

Chapter & Worse Tickets

For information, contact us at constu@comcast.net or call 734-973-3264

FOR A SHOW PREVIEW, CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW

Show Preview

ABOUT THE SHOW

This erudite sketch comedy in music is returning to Ann Arbor after an absence of 27 years... and it’s being done for television.

Created by Tom Petiet, the show debuted in 1986, performing in Ann Arbor and on tour, and was quickly recognized as an exceptionally clever musical parody, recalling shows like Beyond the Fringe and names like Peter Schickele, Tom Lehrer, Monty Python and Mel Brooks. Modified and produced again in 1990, Chapter and Worse consists of seven scenes in wildly different settings, from Shakespeare to prehistoric Africa. The music is by well-known collaborators such as Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Verdi, as well as Comic Opera Guild regulars Offenbach and Sullivan. People will undoubtedly recognize most of the melodies, but the lyrics have been altered to fit the story line.

A good-natured spoof of music and literature, Chapter and Worse is funniest for those among us who are well-read, but like Petiet’s earlier version of Orpheus in the Underworld, which most delighted people with a knowledge of mythology, there is also plenty of broad physical humor here.

The opening scene in a boarding house sets up the hopeless yearning of the feckless Fenster Blande for the delectable bank teller, Chava Niceday. From there, the show moves through five tortured dreams of that unfortunate soul; in each, Fenster is frustrated in his desires for Chava, but in ways peculiar to each dream.

The first dream is set in Shakespearean England, and will tickle people who do the annual Stratford Festival pilgrimage. A good deal of fun is had with the flowery language “spoken primarily by the rich, because they knew more words.” Next, the world of Italian Grand Opera is explored, without the poor hero ever knowing what is going on. Fenster is forced to sing in recitative in order to be understood by the other characters. His befuddlement throughout the show is the glue that holds everything hilariously together.

In the second act, Fenster must go through dreams of the 1930s Depression and a National Geographic-like story on Early Man to get to the denouement, set in a much modified Swan Lake. It is merciful that this scene comes near the end of the show, for, like the Ballet of the Hippos in Disney’s Fantasia, it expends the audience’s remaining store of laughter without relief.

As in most musical comedies, the story ends happily and the hero wins his love, promising to “leave this place and buy a condo in Grosse Pointe.”

Funding is being raised for a completely professional multi-camera recording in high definition. Once it has been completed in post-production, it wll be submitted to Detroit Public Television. Subsequent plans are for distribution through PBS.

CAST

Fenster Blande, an assigner of Dewey Decimal numbers— Matthew Grace     

Chava Niceday, a bank teller— Shannon Watts     

Jerry Mander, a bagger at the A & P —  Tom Petiet      

Sally Mander, his wife — Beth Mitchell            

Mrs. Damark, a lady of facilities if not faculties  —Pat Petiet      

Rex Holmes, a lady’s man — Robert Skylis          

Anna Conda, a career woman  — Angela Hench        

Bert Dirt, a disagreeable fellow  — Geoff Kelm

Gert Dirt, his mother  — Pat Petiet 

The Narrator —  Jean Rowan

The Pianist  — Ezra Donner

Conducted by David Schultz, conductor of the Livingston Symphony