The Canton Comic Opera Company will present the 1902 operetta THE SULTAN OF SULU with music by Alfred Wathall and Book and Lyrics by George Ade on Thursday, July 16 at 8:00 pm, Saturday, July 18 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 19 at 2:00 p.m. All performances will be at the Canton Jewish Community Center Auditorium, 2631 Harvard Ave. N.W., Canton, Ohio 44709.
THE SULTAN OF SULU will feature a cast of 30 and a 28 piece orchestra directed by Joseph N. Rubin. Tickets are $15.00 for general admission. To purchase tickets and for more information call (330) 327-2985, or view the Canton Comic Opera Company's website at www.cantoncomicoperaco.com.
THE SULTAN OF SULU opened on Broadway in 1902 and ran for 192 performances. One of the most successful operettas of its time, THE SULTAN OF SULU toured the country for 5 seasons following its Broadway run, stopping at Canton's Grand Opera House in 1904 and 1907. THE SULTAN OF SULU was last performed in Canton by the local Canton Operatic Club in 1922 at the Grand Opera House and has not been revived anywhere in over 70 years. Librettist, George Ade (1866-1944), was a renowned humorist, newspaper columnist and playwright. Born in Indiana, his "Fables in Slang," a series of moralistic short stories using contemporary vernacular, brought him his first fame. Ade went on to write novels and plays including THE COLLEGE WIDOW (1904), which later served as the basis for Jerome Kern's musical comedy LEAVE IT TO JANE (1917). THE SULTAN OF SULU was Ade's first and most successful work for the stage. Alfred Wathall's lilting score contains such songs as "Since I First Met You," "R-E-M-O-R-S-E," "Hike" and "Delia."
George Ade's inspiration to write THE SULTAN OF SULU came from Michael J. Dowling. Dowling, a native of Minnesota, was sent on a secret mission to the Philippines in 1900 by President William McKinley to survey the educational system and make recommendations for an American system of schools. While there, he became the first American journalist to be granted an interview with the Sultan of Sulu. A chance meeting with George Ade in a San Francisco hotel upon his return to the U.S., prompted Ade to write the operetta. Barry Pritchard, the grandson of M. J. Dowling, will be presenting a lecture on his illustrious grandfather in conjunction with the Canton Comic Opera Company's production on Saturday, July 18 at 2:00 pm. The free lecture will be held at the Wm. McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive, Canton, Ohio 44708. In addition, a special exhibit of historic Sulu swords and artifacts will be on display at the museum.
THE SULTAN OF SULU is a hilarious musical satire on American imperialism. American forces, under the command of Col. Jefferson Budd, land on the Island of Sulu in the Philippines and force the Sultan, Ki-Ram, to "Americanize" the island. Ki-Ram renounces his title as Sultan and is appointed Governor. All goes well until the new Judge Advocate, Pamela Frances Jackson, decrees that Ki-Ram must divorce his eight wives and pay each of them an alimony of half his income. Uproarious antics ensue as Ki-Ram struggles to pay his impossible alimony, and consequently escape from prison.
The Canton Comic Opera Company is a non-profit theatre company, based in Canton, Ohio, dedicated to the preservation and performance of American operettas. Founded and incorporated in 2003 by executive director, Joseph N. Rubin, the Canton Comic Opera Company is an all volunteer organization providing talented singers and musicians in the Northeastern Ohio community with the opportunity to perform in operetta productions. The Canton Comic Opera Company is the only theatre company in the world dedicated solely to the performance of historic American operettas.