Meet the Cast of Merrie England
Benjamin Burney (Big Ben), a nativeof Youngstown, Ohio, is a first yeargraduate student of Chicago College ofPerforming Arts. He is pursuing a MM inclassical voice performance. Benjamingraduated from Anderson Universitywith a BM in voice performance. Hehas appeared in Indianapolis Opera’sproductions of La Traviata, and OperaWestern Reserve’s La Bohème. Benjaminwould like to thank his friends, family, andClare Lillig for their unconditional love and support in all that he does
Alex Carey (Silas Simkins) is delighted to return to the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company stage, seen last in their production of Patience. Recent performances have included the double bill of A Masque at Kenilworth/Trial by Jury with Transgressive Theater-Opera, Arithmétique in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, and Gepetto in a tour of Davies’s Pinocchio. Originally from Idaho, the Chicago-based tenor received his MM in voice performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and is becoming increasingly established in the Chicago-area singing scene.
Katherine Dalin (Kate) is delighted to be performing again this year with her friends in Hyde Park, where she previously was seen as Ruth pouring the pirate sherry in The Pirates of Penzance. As a longtime fan of British humor, British farce, and English language operetta, she is excited to be bringing this rarely seen work to life. To find out more about upcoming performances, visit katherinedalin.com.
Noah Friedlander (Butcher), a second year undergrad at UChicago, is thrilled to be back performing with the Gilbert& Sullivan Opera Company. He’s loved being a butcher after being a gondolier, a pirate, an ancestor, and many other roles throughout his 12 years with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company of Rockville, Maryland. He thanks his friends for always supporting him, his family for showing him the wonders of G&S, and his cast mates, who continue to make this a wonderful experience.
Jonathan Larson (Baker) is based in Chicago and sings throughout the Midwest. He earned his Masters of Music in vocal performance from North Park University in 2015. His roles have included Tamino from Die Zauberfötte, Tito from La Clemenza di Tito, Danilo from Die Lustige Witwe, Richard Dauntless in Ruddigore, and Don Ottavio from Don Giovanni.
Blake Lambert-Haak (Tinker) is thrilled to be joining the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company for the first time. He recently graduated from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. His favorite credits include Schoolhouse Rock Live!, R.S.V.P. (Mr. Cauliflower) and Sunday Excursion (Marvin).
Jeffrey Luksik (Walter Wilkins) is excited to work again with Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, having pattered through Patience last year as Reginald Bunthorne. Other favorite roles include Leporello (Don Giovanni), Anthony Hope (Sweeney Todd), Count Robinson (Il matrimoniosegreto), Buddy Fidler (City of Angels), and Prince Gabriel III of Belgium’s Trainer’s Son (Vinkensport). Later this year, Jeffrey will play Edward Rutledge in 1776 with MadKap Productions. Jeffrey studied music at Shenandoah University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He currently resides somewhere in Chicago.
Dorian McCall (Earl of Essex) has been described as a very compelling singing actor with a warm, even baritone and a rich and flexible voice, recognized as having great style, musically and physically, on stage. He is currently supplementing the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera of Chicago choruses. This season, the bass-baritone is premiering with the New Moon Opera byreprising his role as Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and covering Don Annibale in Donizetti’s Il Campanello.
Steven Michael Patrick (Sir Walter Raleigh) hails from wild and wonderful West Virginia. He holds degrees in voice performance from both West Virginia University and the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. A versatile singer, Steven Michael specializes in bel canto, new music, and contemporary musical theatre. You can also find him this season as Nemorino in CVAC’s Elisir d’Amore, Rinuccio in New Moon Opera’s Gianni Schicchi, and with the local chapter of Opera on Tap.
Katherine Petersen (Bessie Throckmorton) specializes in the performance of Russian art song and is a frequent recitalist. Recently, she sang the role of Brigitta in Chicago Opera Theater’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and the roles of the Counsel and the Lady of the Lake in Transgressive Theater-Opera’s double bill of Sullivan’s Trial by Jury and Masque at Kenilworth. The role of Bessie is Katherine’s second appearance with the Company as she sang Lady Ella in their 2018 production of Patience.
Aaron Petrovich (Long Tom) made his Chicago-area debut playing the role of Robin Oakapple in the Savoyaires production of Ruddigore. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education from Michigan State University, and made his international debut, a staged revue of Bernstein theater pieces, at the Peking National Opera House and China Conservatory of Music. During the day, Aaron is a high school general music and chorus teacher at Bogan High School.
Emma Sorensen (Jill-All-Alone) counts among her recent Chicago credits understudy Laura in Chicago Opera Theater’s Iolanta and Countess Stasi in Chicago Folk’s Operetta’s production of The Csardas Princess. Ms. Sorenson will be performing in the Boston Lyric Orchestra’s world premiere of A Handmaid’s Tale. Emma graduated with a Master of Music from The Boston Conservatory. In her spare time, Ms. Sorenson enjoys playing video games with her partner in their Humboldt Park home, and taking long walks in the park with her adopted Shiba-Inu, Wallace.
Sara Stern (Queen Elizabeth) is playing the role that she deserves — a Queen. As singer and actress, she has taken a wide range of dramatic and comedic roles in operetta, musical theater, and theater, which include goddesses, fairies, vamp, pants, aunt, mother, naughty friend, and, lately, grande dames of a certain age, but never a Royal. This is her tenth role with the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, and she is delighted to be with her you, her subjects.