The rollicking welcome from fictional Mayor Blade Braggerman, sung boisterously by Lee University tenor Tyler Plemons, will signal an evening of exciting musical fun and drama at the premier opening of the first operetta R.G. Wolf has written and directed.
Wolf’s original lyrics, sung mostly to traditional Christmas music, are loaded with poetic moral challenges, civic issues, funny miscues and finale surprises. The enticing lifestyle “come-on” for dozens of teenagers attending from local high schools will end in a brawl stirred up by an uninvited intruder.
The operetta’s fictitious setting is in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Only a few living souls can relate to events remembered back in its 1943 setting. The village of Cleverville is a quiet hamlet of 837 proud mountain folks, surviving hardships of those war-torn years of Wold War II.
Mayor Braggerman is responding to a complaint published in Editor Karl Klammerville’s new linotype newspaper shop, the Cleverville Weekly Clamor. The mayor has called a town hall meeting to hopefully ward off the bad gossip in his village stirred up by the aging village clerk, the crabby Stella Spoofenheim.
Stella is hilariously played by Nancy Casson, Cleveland’s well-known, “let’s get it done now!” lady. Stella’s demands for getting Cleverville’s teenagers straightened out sets up the storyline for the entire operetta. The mayor thinks the remedy for the accused mischievous and destructive behavior is to have prominent townspeople propose to the youths they start thinking abut their future careers, because they are the future.
Other soloists include Lee University senior soprano Tricia Logsdon, who plays 19-year-old Tizzy Fitzgerald; FUMC Chancel Choir member Doris Burns, who sings the role of Lily Livengood; Cleveland’s “Singing Nurse” Eva T. Phillips, (Nina Needlewitz); Lee University staff member, Jim Burns, (Cleverville’s “lucky-to-be-still-alive” Butch Barnstormer); Sunshine Hollow owner Dave Rhyne (Heinrich Hayseeder); Lee University music performance graduate Kelsey Frost, (Tina Treblenoter); and Lee University soprano Chelsea Davidson (Daisy Dunnament).
According to Wolf, there are three “juicy” male roles — one played by the Rev. Terril Littrell (the village pastor Ernest Evermoreland), along with Nicholas Branson (Cleverville official) and Plemons (mayor).
The First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir, pianist Tausha Plate (Petunia Prettyfield) and organist Terry Barger (Pete Pedalpiper), along with guest singers, will perform a welcoming and defining medley after the overture. A finale features Cleverville’s Little Village GIrl sung by Emma Grace Ratcliff.
Local high school drama and vocal music students will fill the roles of teenagers at the town hall meeting. Besides entering into the action, they will take notes on the performance so they can critique the production back in the classroom and later present their comments to the operetta cast.
The operetta’s musical style uses traditional Christmas music as an accompaniment to original poetic lyrics. As program director for the Cleveland Music Club December’s meeting, Wolf decided to meld his three lifetime interests — music, poetry and drama — into one production he’s never tried, an operetta.
For more information about the operetta, call 614-0060.