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The Gondoliers (or, the King of Rock & Roll)
Papermill Theatre at Todmorden Mills
Toronto, ON
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Friday Mar 15, 2019 8:00 PM - Sunday Mar 24, 2019 2:00 PM | Free - CA$26.10


The Gondoliers (or, the King of Rock & Roll)
Michael Harms and John Ricciardelli

We are returning to the first show John and I directed together in 1995. The time goes so fast! We are building on our second production of The Gondoliers from 2005 when we asked the question, Whats the modern equivalent of royalty? and hit on the idea of setting the show in the 70s and searching for the son of Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll (conceived on a weekend furlough in Venice during Elviss military service in Germany). The year is 1977 and we start in Venice and move to Las Vegas (certainly more magical than the fictional Barataria). Wild 70's fashion, witty pop culture references and wonderful music will add up to great fun. We hope you enjoy it.  

The scene opens in Venice with a group of young women declaring their passionate love for a pair of gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri. A large group of merry gondoliers enter, saying that they adore them all, but the ladies explain that the two brothers must choose first. When the brothers enter, they amiably offer to pick their brides in a game of blind man's buff. Giuseppe picks Tessa, and Marco picks Gianetta  "Just the very girl I wanted!" All leave to go to church for the wedding.

The Duke of Plaza Toro, the Duchess, their daughter Casilda, and their drummer, Luiz, now arrive in Venice from Spain. The Duke and Duchess tell their daughter a secret they have kept for twenty years  when she was only six months old, she was married to the infant son of the King of Rock and Roll. As the King has recently died in Memphis, Tennessee, the hidden child is now heir to his fortune and a recording contract. Casilda is now the reigning queen of Rock and Roll, and her parents have brought her  to be introduced to her husband by Don O'Lahmbra, a record executive known as the Grand Inquisitor. We soon discover, however that Casilda is secretly in love with Luiz. Left alone together, she tells him of her infant marriage, and they resign themselves to a life forever apart, with only their happy memories to comfort them.

When O'Lahmbra arrives, he explains that the prince was raised incognito by Baptisto Palmieri, a humble gondolier, who had a young son of his own about the same age. The gondolier was a drunkard and eventually forgot which boy was which. The two boys grew up and now are both gondoliers themselves. Fortunately, the nurse who took care of the infant prince has been located her and that she will be able to reveal the identity of the lost prince.

In the next scene, Marco and Giuseppe have married Tessa and Gianetta, and Don O'Lahmbra arrives to inform them that one of them is the King of Rock and Roll, but no one knows which. The gondoliers and their new wives are delighted. Everyone agrees to go to Las Vegas at once. Don O'Lahmbra tells them, however, that ladies are not admitted until the actual king is identified, and then each couple can be reunited.

A Hotel Suite - Las Vegas Nevada
Marco and Giuseppe have been doing all the work around the palace for the past three months - it is the privilege of celebrity! Soon all the ladies arrive, having risked the long plane trip from Venice  they could no longer stand the separation.

Don O'Lahmbra arrives at the hotel to find that the socialist gondoliers have promoted everyone to the nobility. He then breaks the news that one of the gondoliers had married Casilda when a baby and therefore is an unintentional bigamist. The gondoliers attempt to console their wives, who are distraught to discover that neither one will be queen, and that one married someone who is already married.

The Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro soon arrive with the beautiful Casilda. The two Palmieri brothers are left alone with Casilda. She agrees to be an obedient wife but warns them that she is "over head and ears in love with someone else." Seizing this opportunity, the two men introduce their wives. The three ladies and two men sing a quintet about their unprecedented predicament.

Don O'Lahmbra brings in the nurse who had tended the infant prince of Rock and Roll twenty years ago. She reveals that when Russian spies came to steal the prince, she had loyally hidden him away, and given up her own young son instead. Thus, the king is neither Marco nor Giuseppe, but her own son, Luiz. This resolves the romantic entanglements to everyone's satisfaction. Casilda finds that she is already married to the man she loves, Luiz. The two gondoliers surrender their crown to Luiz and, though a bit disappointed that neither will be a king, are happy to return with their wives to Venice.


Papermill Theatre at Todmorden Mills (View)
67 Pottery Road
Toronto, ON M4K 2B9


Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre
Music > All Ages
Music > Choral
Other > Family-Friendly

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: North Toronto Players
On BPT Since: Nov 27, 2018
Susan Phillips
647 219 3866

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