Play Bill for Shepherd University Production of Iolanthe

Iolanthe, A Spectacle Well Worth Beholding

(THE PICKET)- Having observed early rehearsal of Shepherd University Music Department’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe or The Peer and the Peri I was enthusiastic about being able to see the final product.

The cast and production crew did not disappoint. The story of fairy and mortal misunderstandings was beautiful, humorous, and a delight to witness.

Robert Tudor’s choice of updating the production to 1960s London added an unexpected flavor to the production’s costumes and set, with a blue police box that could not help but make one wonder if Dr. Who was about to burst in with the other worldly fairies.

Kari L. Edge led a melodious group of talent individuals in the orchestra pit, showcasing how wonderful it is to have live accompaniment, and grabbing attention from the moment the overture begins.

Cullen Byers displayed great perseverance as Strephon, speaking his dialogue thru an illness, with Dr. Tudor providing his sung vocals off stage. Byers’s fellow cast members did not miss a beat even with the out-of-the ordinary vocals.

Jamie Friedel gave a spirited and beautiful Fairy Queen life in a vivid way with gorgeous vocals and acting.

Alexandra Rosle held a breathtaking performance as the lovely young Phyllis. Making an impact as she confronts her, as she perceives it unfaithful love, with a display of vocal acrobatics that one cannot help but wonder how long it took to perfect.

Gerry Philp, performs a giggle-worthy humorous aria with a teddy bear as the Lord Chancellor, making the character endearing. The production showcases the stage as a whole with well-crafted lighting and effects, a constant display of fun choreography, and the fanciful element of Fairies on roller skates.

This show is a wondrous journey through a classic operetta that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of level of musical knowledge.  The cast, crew and directors deserved the full round of applause ending this amazing show.

Jessica Sharpless is a Staff reporter for The Picket and can be contacted via email at

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