Jennifer Brennan-Hondorp

Kishna Davis

Pamela Hinchman

Pamela Hinchman

Teresa Seidl

Shawnette Sulker

Stella Zambalis

Buffy Baggott

Julia Elise Hardin

Jennifer Lane

Carol Sparrow

Michelle Wrighte

Robert Bracey

Benjamin Brecher

James Doing

Randolph Locke

Jeffrey Springer

Mark Thomsen

Bradley Williams

Graham Fandrei

Kenneth Overton

Frederick Reeder

Charles Robert Stephens

Gerard Sundberg

James Patterson

Additional Artists

THE BEST OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN

A GERSHWIN GALA

Concert Quartets

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Frederick Reeder, baritone

Buffy Baggott

 

Frederick Reeder

CRITICAL COMMENT

 


“Many. . . smiles are aimed at Frederick Reeder, a Gilbert and Sullivan performer of almost blinding brilliance. Reeder takes hold of the role of Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, and squeezes every ounce of daffy juice possible. He is nimble and sweet, rubber-faced and resilient. Few Ko-Kos come close to Reeder in blending the grace of a silent-film comic with the antics of a music-hall clown. Not only that, he claims a voice of sonorous appeal and a crystalline sense of words. He is a kingly Ko-Ko. [The Mikado]

Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

Frederick Reeder was a spectacular Ko-Ko. He has an excellent voice which he used to much advantage - such a pleasure to hear the role actually sung instead of being rasped through. The characterization was somewhat different than what one is used to. I have seen too many patter parts ruined by a director trying to have a tall man do all the mannerisms typical of the fussy little man; they don't work. Here Ko-Ko was much put upon, as always, but reacted with a dignity which he usually does not maintain. It was a characterization which worked and one which I for one would gladly see more of. [The Mikado]

The Trumpet Bray

 

The director was John Reed, who was the leading comedi­an of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company for almost three decades. In one respect, he has had success. A former Jack Point himself, Reed has passed the role here to Frederick Reeder­­, who lights up the stage whenever he is around. Reeder knows how to extract the meaning from a line, whether it be witty or tender, and his baritone is a luxurious instrument in this music. He was very funny when describ­ing the jester’s philosophy, and at the opera’s end he used a disembodied voice brilliantly to convey the man’s pain at losing the girl he loves. [Yeomen of the Guard]

Cleveland Plain Dealer

In Frederick Reeder­­, the company possesses a singing actor of genius. His baritone invariably sounds sonorous, and he can play virtually anything. . . . [La Belle Héléne]

The Beacon Journal, Akron

“Frederick Reeder­­. . .was a definitive Don Alhambra — I don’t imagine that the role can be done better.”

[The Gondoliers]

Gasbag, Friends of the University of Michigan G&S Society

 

It was baritone Frederick Reeder, who also acted as stage director, who stole the show. When he pranced onstage as Sir Joseph Porter, the “Monarch of the Sea” who never set foot aboard a ship, he showed his special flair for comic opera. His skipping, cavorting, too precious Porter was hysterical, especially in the narrative “When I was a Lad.”

His real tour-de-force, however, is the patter-song, “I Am the Very

Model of a Modern Major General” from “Pirates” was wonderful. Words poured so rapidly out of his mouth, it was hard to believe he could do it even faster, as he did at the end. Underlying the veneer of humor, however, was solid musicianship and a nicely flexible baritone voice. [The Best of Gilbert & Sullivan]

Rockford Register Star

 

Reeder stole the show. . . impeccable enunciation and bravado were matched with the proper stuffiness and silliness that these roles demand. He lit up the stage with every entrance. [The Best of Gilbert & Sullivan]

Cedar Rapids Gazette

Things improved sonically and stylistically with the arrival of the grandee Duke, played by Frederick Reeder. . . Reeder combined the humor and singing most idiomatically, with a wonderful nimble agility in his patter songs. [GONDOLIERS]
Chicago Tribune

 

“ . . . and a bit of history was probably made in the Chicago debut of Frederick Reeder­­­ as Ko-Ko, the ever-in­competent Lord High Executioner of Titi­pu. The Anglo-American Reeder clearly is at the forefront of today’s interpreters of G & S’ near-impossible ‘patter’ roles.” [The Mikado]

—Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-times

 

“At the top of the list must go Frederick Reeder, whose Ko-Ko is as cuckoo as it is endearing. Reeder is a power­house of a performer, with a physical agility that is matched by a baritone of golden qualities. His Lord High Execu­tioner has no spine (in every sense), and he seems to be working on high-wattage at every moment. Reeder would steal the show whenever he’s on stage if it weren’t for his obvious concern for dramatic truth. A real triumph.” [The Mika­do]

The Beacon Journal, Akron

 

“Frederick Reeder­­. . . has emerged as one of the best Gilbert and Sullivan patter-sing­er/actors anywhere. . . .”

—Northern Ohio Live

 

“Frederick Reeder­­[’s] Ko-Ko was full of comic bits, all perfectly timed and appropriately executed, the words bright and clear and with a trace of a British accent, which adds the necessary flavor to the patter songs and dialogue. . . . There are many good tunes in the show, but none was done with greater sensitivity than Ko-Ko’s ‘Tit-Willow’.” [The Mikado]

The Blade, Toledo

 

“The singing and acting honors go to Frederick Reeder, who plays and sings the pompous admiralty lord, Sir Joseph Porter. Reeder looks like Joe E. Brown, moves and talks with Cyril Ritchard’s clipped British accent, and has a booming baritone voice which he uses well. . . .he is a superb Porter.” [H.M.S. Pinafore]

The Blade, Toledo

 

“Frederick Reeder dominates whenever he scrambles on the stage as the scrawny, ornery Gama. While other actors given the assignment to bring to life grotesque characters usually have to rely on their makeup and costume to carry it off, Reeder simply appears to have disappeared into his character, right down to the bandy legs.” [Princess Ida]

The Daily Record, Wooster

 

“There are some fine performances in . . . this Offenbach rarity. Take baritone Frederick Reeder as the oafish Baron von Gondremarck from Stockholm. Reeder is wonderfully ponderous and foolish, and he sings and dances well too. They have made him up to look like William Howard Taft — can this possibly be the same chap who sang the querulous King Gama in ‘Princess Ida’ on the previous night and looked so thin and spindly? Even the voice sounded totally different. Gondre­marck is a fool, but Reeder makes him somehow lovable.”

[La Vie Parisienne]

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland



Stage Direction Reviews
Frederick Reeder

 


The stage direction was fabulous. Its creator was the amazing Frederick Reeder who also played Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner in a most agile and endearing rendering. The "prop­erty" of choice for everyone was a large Japanese fan. The performers all learned to flip and flare them with military precision. Reeder's choreography was masterful, always mov­ing, always clean, every gesture plotted for continual entertainment. He began and ended acts with strong and striking tableaus.

As performer, Reeder danced, pranced and jumped about the stage bowing, kneeling and fall­ing down, adeptly using all levels and areas. Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo, the young couple in love, were played by Julia Hunt and Joel Weiss. They both portrayed their characters con­vincingly, spoke and sang well with excellent diction. Exaggerated characterization was the norm in this performance... [The Mikado]

Eugene Weekly

*****Medical attention has been ordered for the smiling victims of Eugene Opera’s “Pirates of Penzance” who suffered cracked ribs and broken funnybones at Hult Center for the Performing Arts over the weekend. Here was Gilbert and Sullivan done to the nines and assaulting the audience with everything shy of rubber mallets and seltzer bottles. It was darling, delicious, delectable and delirious. Perfection. Well, almost. One thing wrong is, it didn’t have a long enough run. A production this wonderful deserved to be seen by as many people as possible. As it was, it was witnessed by two capacity audiences, who languished in the glow of the glorious music and laughed nonstop at inspired hijinks. This giddy production was Gilbert and Sullivan at its bestlight, bright, whimsical, exemplary. Other productions may be truer to Gilbert and Sullivan’s original spirit but it is hard to imagine one that could be better sung or acted for a contemporary audience. Frederick Reeder’s opulent and teasing production proved why “The Pirates of Penzance” is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most adored operettas.

Never shy, Reeder let it all hang out as he took the audience to a magical land where people act and talk funny but appear perfectly natural doing it. Never shy, Reeder’s shtick-per-second count broke the barometer. The uproarious bits provided an intoxicating air. Reeder himself was at the busy center of firestorm lobbing, funny faces at the audience like hand grenades, while at the same time nimbly racing his way through Major-General Stanley’s precarious “patter” songs with uncommon clarity, tone and inflection. And Reeder surrounded himself with a marvelous company that was strong down to the very last chorus member. . . . one of those rare productions where all the pieces come together so wonderfully you wish it would never end. [Pirates of Penzance]

Fred Crafts – Critic-at-Large, Eugene

 

Reeder must be a major general in real life as well as on stage, drilling his cast to perfection in all aspects of diction and movement. Yet, in no way did the cast perform as automatons. . . . The entire production is more choreographed than blocked, and every singer dances with style. [Pirates of Penzance]

The Register-Guard, Eugene

 

 

When Frederick Reeder and Don Carson collaborate on a Gilbert and Sullivan show, Eugene audiences can sit back and enjoy a polished theatrical production. On Friday, Gilbert-and-Sullivan specialist Reeder directed and acted in Eugene Opera's performance of "H.M.S. Pinafore," and Disney artist Don Carson provided the sets.

Two years ago, they joined forces for an excellent production of the "The Mikado," and once again they have succeeded in putting on a visual and theatrical delight. . . .

The chorus was excellent. They were challenged not only by the amount of singing required but also by the dancing and antics that went along with every song. The men's chorus handled its many tasks with aplomb, and the women's chorus sounded lovely. Opera fans can only hope that this group will be the basis of future choruses.

This production is the most polished show Eugene Opera has put on in a while. [H.M.S. PINAFORE]

The Register-Guard, Eugene

Virtually everything about Lyric Opera’s “Penzance” is happy, and for good reasons. The show is in the hands of veteran Gilbert and Sullivan artist Frederick Reeder. . . . [The] production is thoroughly traditional in ways that heighten the work’s wit and poignancy.

Reeder. . . applies a gentle touch to Gilbert’s daffy exploration of klutzy pirates, leap years, social situations, nationalism and even enunciation. . . . Reeder’s sense of whimsy. . . generates perpetual smiles. [PIRATES OF PENZANCE]

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland [2006]

Entrusted with staging the work and also playing the patter-singing model of a modern major general is Frederick Reeder, an OLO [Ohio Light Opera] veteran and Gilbert and Sullivan expert who appears to age like fine wine. . . . He has directed the piece as the frolic of loyalty and love the British team intended. The pacing is quick, the characters strikingly etched (and nutty as tip-top fruit cake) and the humor milked but never curdled.

Reeder must hold a share of a monopoly on Major-General Stanley. He is supremely daffy and articulate, sending Gilbert's pell-mell words into space as if they were the easiest utterances. Too many Stanleys are over-the-hill singers with little voice left, but Reeder's baritone remains booming and handsome.

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland [2007]

 

 

 

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