The leads of Opera Kansas’ “Trial By Jury” are Angelina, played by Carter Tholl, and Edwin, played by Joshua Holcomb. Opera Kansas Courtesy
The leads of Opera Kansas’ “Trial By Jury” are Angelina, played by Carter Tholl, and Edwin, played by Joshua Holcomb. Opera Kansas Courtesy

Keeper of the Plans

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Keeper of the Plans

Real-life opera will soon play out in Wichita courtroom

November 01, 2017 11:24 AM

UPDATED November 01, 2017 11:29 AM

It’s safe to say November 4 will be the first time an opera has played out in a Wichita courtroom.

We’re talking the singing and acting kind, not the “Judge Judy” kind.

Opera Kansas is staging a production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Trial By Jury” in the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse, 510 N. Main, on Nov. 4.

“We needed something we could do that hopefully, for lack of a better word, had an interesting hook,” said Ashley Winters, managing artistic director of Opera Kansas. “We want people to see what we’re doing not just because it’s a good work, but because it’s a little different.”

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The entire 35-minute production will be staged in one of the building’s historic courtrooms. Until now, those rooms were “usually only used for DUI hearings,” Winters said.

“You don’t want to actually end up in this courtroom,” she said.

The comic British one-act is about a jilted bride who takes her would-be husband to court.

As is customary with Gilbert & Sullivan operas, British references in the score have been changed – the opera references College Hill, Crown Heights and Kansas, Winters said.

It features a cast of 18, all local talents.

“My entire tenor section are all local attorneys who are fantastic singers ... so it’s kind of right up their alley,” Winters said. “Not only is it funny, but it has funny references to the law and the tenors all crack up at certain jokes that the rest of us (don’t understand).”

Opera Kansas worked with courthouse law enforcement to coordinate the performances, which will repeat three times on Nov. 4: at 5:30, 7, and 8:30 p.m.

“One of our main tenets is to bring opera to people rather than making people necessarily come to us – we like to use unique and different places where you might not expect something of this nature to happen,” Winters said. “We design some of our productions to be very much an opera-on-the-go.”

So far in 2017 Opera Kansas has performed at 18 schools and senior-living facilities, according to Winters.

“Trial By Jury” is the first main-stage production the group has put on this year.

Tickets to “Trial By Jury” are $25 for adults, $18 for seniors and students with ID. They may be purchased at www.operakansas.org or at the door on Nov. 4.

For more information, visit www.operakansas.org.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

“Trial By Jury”

When: 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Nov. 4

Where: Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse, 510 N. Main

What: Approximately 35-minute comic one-act opera about a jilted bride who tries to find justice in court. Produced by the nonprofit Opera Kansas, it features a local cast of 18.

Admission: $25 for adults, $18 for seniors and students with ID