Blue Hill Troupe celebrates 100 years with H.M.S. Pinafore
by Sharron Barr for Vocal Area Network
Posted April 15, 2024

Blue Hill TroupeBlue Hill Troupe, Ltd. (BHT), New York City’s only theatre group dedicated to raising money for local charities, will mark its 100th anniversary with a production of H.M.S. Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved a Sailor—Gilbert & Sullivan’s fourth operatic collaboration and their first international hit. BHT’s eight NYC performances of the operetta will take place at El Teatro of El Museo del Barrio on New York’s Upper East Side (1230 Fifth Avenue, between 104th and 105th Streets), April 19-27, 2024. All net proceeds benefit the Young People’s Chorus of NYC, an award-winning multicultural youth chorus founded and directed by Francisco J. Nuñez, a MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year.

In honor of the 100th anniversary, the Troupe will also return to its place of origin—Blue Hill, Maine—to present two special encore performances on August 2 and 3 at The Bay School. Proceeds from these performances will benefit Blue Hill’s Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School.

One of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most beloved comic operas, H.M.S. Pinafore lampoons the British class system with an assortment of romantic entanglements up and down the social ladder, from the lowliest sailor to the First Lord of the Admiralty. The Blue Hill Troupe’s production is directed and choreographed by Gary Slavin and music directed by Zachary Schwartzman. The assistant director/assistant choreographer is Janet Bushor. The principal cast features Erik Hanson, Jonathan Jacobson, Neal Young*, Kevin Murray, Robert Farruggia*, Rich Miller, Geoff Gaebe, Andrew Neuman, Chazmond Peacock*, Michael Macaione*, Natan Zamansky, Lauren Cupples*, Joanne Lessner*, Dena Cubbin, Jennifer Dorre, Kim Lindsay Grutman* and Suzanne R. Taylor. (*Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.)

The Troupe got its start in 1924, when a group of New Yorkers summering in Blue Hill, Maine, mounted a production of H.M.S. Pinafore. The show was such a success that it was followed by The Mikado the following summer. The group moved its base of operations to New York City in 1926, and—except for the noteworthy years of 1929, 2020, and 2021—has performed a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta every year since. In 1984, the group began also producing a Broadway-style musical every year. All BHT shows are professionally directed and performed with a full orchestra of professional musicians.

From the beginning, the Blue Hill Troupe has donated the proceeds from its productions to local charities, beginning with the East Blue Hill Library in 1924. Over the decades, the Troupe has raised over $12 million (adjusted for inflation) for a wide variety of New York City charities—often including hospitals and others that focus on healthcare, education, disadvantaged youth and families, and the elderly—including Children’s Aid Society, Covenant House, Rocking the Boat and many more.

The NYC performance schedule for H.M.S. Pinafore is as follows: April 19, 24, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 PM; April 20, 21 at 3:00 PM; and April 27 at 2:00 PM. Ticket prices range from $45-125 (with payment in excess of $20 per ticket tax deductible to the extent provided by law). Discounts are available for groups of ten or more (contact tickets@bht.org). All other tickets can be purchased at bht.org/events/h-m-s-pinafore-2024/.

For more information about the Blue Hill Troupe, please visit www.bht.org, Facebook.com/BHT.org and @BlueHillTroupe.

Sharron Barr is a front-stager who handles public relations for Blue Hill Troupe.