Fresh Takes

With the Fresh Takes series, GSA pivots from traditional staging and promises to surprise and delight audiences with completely new interpretations.

Premieres Tuesday, June 15th, 2021 at 7:30pm
Available through July 15th on YouTube

About the Show

A diverse collection of performers and directors, along with local artists not usually associated with GSA, has reimagined scenes and songs from the Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire. GSA’s active participation in the #ATXTheatre group, founded in 2020, inspired this series. GSA is reaching out both to new and established audiences to share the clever satire and the enduring delights of the comedies of Gilbert and Sullivan.

GSA President Diane Radin anticipates the fun of experiencing Gilbert & Sullivan’s genius in a rollercoaster tour. “This is an exciting venture for GSA - it’s not your grandma’s Gilbert & Sullivan! We hope it will continue to attract new talent and introduce new audiences to GSA’s productions.”

Episode one features a sequence of scenes created by Austin theatre artists that present a “fresh take” on classic selections from Gilbert & Sullivan operettas “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Mikado,” and “Ruddigore.”

Gilbert & Sullivan Austin is presenting “Fresh Takes on Gilbert & Sullivan” (#FreshTakesGandS) as a follow-on to our #DiscoverGSA live streams. #DiscoverGSA revived previous grand productions for a limited time with live watch parties hosted by former members of casts and crews. Episode two of Fresh Takes is due later this summer, with a third episode planned for early fall.

Scene 1

Original Scene: Opening scenes from Act II of “H.M.S. Pinafore”

Fresh Take: An all-female cast in a ghostly vehicle cemetery performing four songs.

Reimagined by: Rising opera director Margaret Jumonville. Jumonville has directed for the Chicago Summer Opera, Opera Steamboat, the University of Texas Butler Opera Center, and Opera NEO. Her interests include innovation within the art form, queer representation in opera, and demystifying acting methods for singers.

Cast Members: Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Ellie Jarrett Shattles as Captain Corcoran, Natalie Joy as Little Buttercup, Abigail Jackson as daughter Josephine, and Pei-Jun Wang as Sir Joseph.

Scene 2

Original Scene: “Ruddigore”: The delicate encounter of yearning Rose Maybud and bashful Robin Oakapple

Fresh Take: 1920’s black-and-white “talking picture” taking place at the Scottish Rite Theater’s jewel box of a 19th-century stage.

Reimagined by: Rudy Ramirez, associate artistic director of Austin’s Vortex Repertory and winner of six B. Iden Payne awards for directing.

Cast Members: Chris Humphreys (Scottish Rite Theatre, Shrewd Productions, Weird Sisters) providing accordion accompaniment for soprano Malyssa Quiles and tenor Luke Linsteadt.

Scene 3

Original Scene: “Cheerily carols the lark” aka “Mad Margaret’s Lament” from “Ruddigore”

Fresh Take: A wild and whirling modern-day nightmare as Margaret waits for her iPhone to ring.

Reimagined by: Vocal and audio production artist Bonnie Bogovich.

Cast Members: Bonnie Bogovich provides a one-actor/one-director/one-editor tour de force. Video game designer, voiceover pro, and GSA alumna, Bonnie is preparing to direct scenes from “Utopia, Ltd.,” a G&S work never performed by Gilbert & Sullivan Austin.

Scene 4

Original Scene: “The sun whose rays are all ablaze” from “The Mikado”

Fresh Take: Haunting dreamscape meditation on the sun and moon.

Reimagined by: Michael Meigs of

Cast Members: Images by artist Barb Jernigan (GSA, Georgetown Palace Theatre, Way Off Broadway Community Players) with freelance writer and soprano Susan Johnston Taylor.

Scene 5

Original Scene: “Three little maids from school are we” from “The Mikado”

Fresh Take: A sparkling contemporary feminist recreation featuring the director’s own children, their playmates, and a very 21st-century trio.

Reimagined by: Christie Jean-Jacques of Creative Action, choreographer for GSA’s “The Gondoliers” and “The McAdo.”

Cast Members: Stephanie Chavez Noell, Ismael Soto (Georgetown Palace Theatre), and Amy Downing (recipient of the Austin Critics Table John Bustin Award for Conspicuous Versatility).

Scene 6

Original Scene: From “The Mikado,” “I’ve Got A Little List (and They Never Will Be Missed)”

Fresh Take: Lyrics modified by Trey Deason for COVID times.

Reimagined by: Michael Meigs and Trey Deason

Cast Members: Trey Deason (playwright, The Vortex, Shrewd Productions, Sky Candy).