Gilbert and Sullivan Archive
Philadelphia Diary, 1996
Here my diary breaks off. On the final day, there was a repeat performance of Ruddigore, which I did not attend. In the evening, there was a celebratory banquet and awards ceremony. Overnight, there had been a fire in the hotel, and while no lives were ever in jeopardy, the banquet had to be moved to a smaller room that could not fully accommodate it. The hotel also ran short of food, and some of the attendees received second-class meals at the same first-class prices the rest of us had paid.
There was a bit of entertainment, the usual speeches (by Ian Smith and others), and a somewhat truncated awards ceremony: nominations, really-not actual awards. Given that the original banquet room was unavailable (not the Smiths' fault, obviously), perhaps it was a blessing that many of the Festival attendees stayed away. The scheduling was a bit of a blunder. Not many people were willing to stick around a whole extra day just for a Sunday night banquet.
I seem to have lost my notes from this final day, but I would say in closing that the 1996 Festival was a joy to virtually everyone who attended, notwithstanding that Ian Smith seems to have lost a small fortune on it. The Smiths gave Philadelphia one more try, in 1997, before abandoning (perhaps for good) the idea of a U.S. Festival.
Page updated 16 June 1999