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WHS grad to appear on IPT Friday

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Molly Sue McDonald in cast of 'HMS Pinafore'

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.

And now, anyone who would like to see the play, including Molly Sue McDonald's performance, will be able to view the Guthrie production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore, or The Lass That Loved a Sailor" on Iowa Public Television this Friday, October 14, at 8:30 p.m. PBS is airing the Guthrie production as part of its nine-part "PBS Arts Fall Festival" of performing arts programming.

With its infectious songs, witty libretto and lighthearted satire, the Gilbert and Sullivan blockbuster is among the most crowd-pleasing comic musicals in history.

See if you can spot Cherokee native Molly Sue McDonald in this photo from the Guthrie Theatre's production of 'HMS Pinafore,' which airs on Iowa Public Televison at 8:30 p.m. this Friday. (She's center, left). Photo taken from Guthrie website.
The story of 'HMS Pinafore' takes place aboard a British ship, where Captain Corcoran's daughter, Josephine, has fallen in love with an ordinary sailor, Ralph Rackstraw. As the crew works to get things shipshape for the arrival of Sir Joseph Porter, Corcoran's choice for a more sophisticated suitor for his daughter, Josephine decides initially to abide by her father's wishes and marry him. Conventional social order is quickly overturned, however, when Sir Joseph arrives and advocates for the equality of humankind. With a change of heart, however, Josephine declares her love for the ordinary sailor and the two -- through the help of the crew, sisters, cousins and aunts -- make plans to elope that night. When the captain discovers the plot - a surprise disclosure, as is typical of many Gilbert and Sullivan's works - changes things dramatically.

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.

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