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'Gilligan's Island: The Musical' sets sail next week

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Seacoast actors Jamie Bradley as the Skipper and Joshua Paul Moore as Gilligan. (Rochester Opera House photo)

Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin' lad,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour...

And anyone's who wanted to take that three-hour tour back in time to a fanciful tropical island paradise called "Gilligan's Island," well, you're going to get your chance next week when the Rochester Opera House opens a three-week run of "Gilligan's Island: The Musical."

And what's in store for the theatergoers?

Director Kelli Leigh-Ann Connors of Lebanon, Maine, sums it up in one sentence.

"Get ready to being brought back to sitting in front of your TV with the rabbit ears and watching one long "Gilligan's episode."

For those who have only watched "Gilligan's Island" episode on a high-def flat screen, "rabbit ears" were a name for the built-in antennas TVs used to come with for programming reception.

In fact, with syndication and reruns, the Gilligan's Island TV series has been watched by millions of viewers spanning almost three generations, a daunting two-edged sword to the actors portraying our seven delightful castaways.

"It can be a little intimidating that we had to create these iconic characters," Connors said on Wednesday. "Yes, our actors all have a connection (from watching the TV show), but they also know that if they fall short, it's going to be a hard buy-in for the audience."

Connors added that the musical's actors are relishing the challenge to re-create such iconic characters and are now engaged in "tech week," when performances are matched up with special effects designed for the show.

"This is a cast full of very strong performers," she said. "It's a very strong vocal show; people will be excited by what they see."

She said the musical will have the feel of a typical Gilligan's episode with sight gags and even a laugh track to re-create the sound of the venerable sitcom.

Besides the seven castaways, the cast includes two actors who will perform a couple of 1960s-era commercials and one who plays (spoiler alert) a space alien.

One other reveal from Connors: Pay special attention to the opening song.

And to feed your passion for a tropical paradise in the midst of winter, the theater's concession stand will feature key lime pie, frozen drinks and daiquiris.

Thurston Howell III and Lovey would be all over it.

Particulars: The show runs from January 18th to February 4th. Tickets start at $16. Handicapped access in balcony only. Reserve tickets online or call the box office (603) 335-1992, M/W/F from 10-5pm and 2-hours before the show. The Rochester Opera House is sponsored by TD Bank North, Eastern Propane, Shaheen & Gordon P.A., and Norm Vetter Foundations. This show is sponsored by The Ridge, Laars Heating Systems Company, Studley's Flower Gardens, The Rochester Voice, and DF Richard. The Rochester Opera House is located in City Hall, 31 Wakefield Street, Rochester NH. Visit www.RochesterOperaHouse.com for more information.

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