Aurelia residents Chuck and Opal Wharton recently received a gift from Chuck's son Paul, a long-time resident of the Twin Cities. He gave the couple tickets to a performance at the Guthrie Theatre, and accompanied them to the performance in August.
In addition to thoroughly enjoying the show, Opal was in for a couple of surprises at the theatre that evening. Her first surprise came when she looked in her theater program and discovered that one of the cast members was a long-time acquaintance of hers - Molly Sue McDonald, a former Cherokee resident who was a frequent playmate of her daughters when they were all growing up in Cherokee. Her second surprise came when she discovered that the very performance they were watching was being videotaped for replay on Public Television.
With its infectious songs, witty libretto and lighthearted satire, the Gilbert and Sullivan blockbuster is among the most crowd-pleasing comic musicals in history.
Irish choreographer David Bolger was recently honored with an Ivey Award, which honors and showcases the work of professional theater companies and artists in the Twin Cities, for his choreography of the Guthrie Theater's production of 'H.M.S. Pinafore,' which was heralded as "arresting," "breathtaking," and "awesome."
The cast features Robert O. Berdahl and Christina Baldwin as Captain Corcoran and Little Buttercup, respectively, with Constantine Germanacos as Ralph Rackstraw, Seri Johnson as Cousin Hebe, Heather Lindell as Josephine, Jason Simon as Dick Deadeye, J. Tyler Whitmer as Bob Becket, Robb McKindles as Bill Bobstay and Peter Thomson as Sir Joseph Porter.
The cast also features sailors Joseph Bigelow, Nathan Bird, Nathaniel Braga, Alfie Parker, Jr., Adrian Pena, Adam Sarette, Brian Skellenger and Brian Sostek, and sisters/cousins/aunts Lauren Asheim, Timotha Lanae, Molly Sue McDonald, Tinia Moulder, Simone Perrin and Kersten Rodau.
Despite her low billing, Opal Wharton said that McDonald is on stage frequently throughout the show.
McDonald, the daughter of former Cherokee residents Jim and the late Margaret McDonald, is a 1974 graduate of Cherokee Washington High School. Her performing resume includes six other plays at the Guthrie Theatre as well as additional plays at several other theaters.
She has also performed as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra and Kansas City, Columbus, South Dakota, Des Moines, South Bend and Duluth Symphonies; recorded and released a solo CD, "Child of Mine;" guest hosted on the Minnesota Public Radio's "Morning Show;" and made a guest appearance on NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion" show with Garrison Keillor.