Cast chosen for Southeastern Opera/Music Theatre Workshop's “Ruddigore”

Thursday, January 31, 2019 
by: Tonya Lowentritt 

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will present “Ruddigore” (The Witch’s Curse) Feb. 7 and 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond.
     With music by Arthur Sullivan and script and lyrics by W.S. Gilbert, “Ruddigore” is a satirical take on the Victorian melodrama genre, said Charles Effler, director of the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop.
     “Ruddigore’s zany plot has it all -- ghosts, witches, curses, a mad woman, a sailor, a fair maiden, professional bridesmaids, disguises, and even a wicked villain who tries to make off with the fair maiden,” he said.
     Effler explained that all of the Baronets of Ruddigore are under a curse enacted by a witch long ago, and each of the successive Baronets must commit some type of a crime every day or else they will die.
     “Robin Oakapple has been living as a farmer for 10 years, working up the courage to ask the beautiful village maiden Rose Maybud for her hand, but he is hiding a secret -- he is actually Sir Ruthven, the Baronet of Ruddigore, and has been hiding in disguise while his younger brother Despard assumed the title -- and the curse,” Effler said. “Betrayed by his foster-brother Richard, Robin is discovered and must take on the responsibility of committing a crime every day in order to appease the curse and the ghosts of all his ancestors past, who are none too happy with his attempt to shirk his title and his duties. Robin must somehow find a way to lead the honest life he loves, but how?”
     The cast includes Ryan Blanchfield (Baton Rouge) as Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd (disguised as Robin Oakapple in Act I); Andrew Butler (New Orleans) as Richard Dauntless; William Dopp (New Orleans) as Sir Despard Murgatroyd; Wesley Newton (Bourg) as Old Adam Goodheart; Elizabeth Langley (Mandeville) as Rose Maybud; Sara Cage (Baton Rouge) and Anne Lebranche (Abita Springs) as Mad Margaret; Jayce Chance (Amite) and Madelyine Talyor (Watson) as Dame Hannah; Hannah Turner (Central) and Carley Duet (Cut Off) as Zorah; Vivian McCalman (Mandeville) as Ruth.
     Additional cast members include Lexi Bowers (Holden), Jess Dunlap (Clinton), Jaci Guidry (Cut Off), Caitlyn Rodrigue (Thibodaux), Camryn Rodrigue (Thibodaux), Alexa Salpietra (Belle Chasse) and Mary Vince (Pearl River) as the chorus of Professional Bridesmaids; Jody Bennett (Houston), Ryan Pitre (Lacombe), Logan Watts (Walker), and Canaan White (Ponchatoula) as City Gents in Act I and ghostly ancestors of the Murgatroyd clan in Act II; Alfred Harper (New Orleans) as Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, the most recently deceased baronet.
     Opera Workshop welcomes back guest stage director Rachel M. Harris, who has directed opera productions at Southeastern every year since 2008. The Department of Music and Performing Arts is represented by Charles Effler (musical preparation of the singers and orchestra) and Benjamin Norman (lighting design). Costume design is by Performing Arts Supply of Houston. The set design is by New Orleans designer Hannah Lax, and the set construction is from the New Orleans Opera Association Scene Shop.
     Advance tickets are available at the Columbia Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will also be available beginning one hour prior to each performance. Ticket prices are $21 for adults; $16 for seniors, Southeastern faculty/staff and non-Southeastern students and $8 for children twelve and younger. Southeastern students are admitted free of charge with their university ID.
     For more information, contact Effler at

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