Two residents to star in classic operetta

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Brett Kroeger

Two Greenwich residents are preparing to stand in the spotlight this month as the Troupers Light Opera performs Victor Herbert’s classic 1906 Broadway musical comedy The Red Mill on April 6 and 13 in Norwalk Concert Hall.

Brett Kroeger and Donald Haviland will sing leading roles in the show. Ms. Kroeger is making her debut with the Troupers, singing the ingénue role of Gretchen, while Mr. Haviland is in his second year with the group, having sung in last year’s production of The Mikado. He will sing the tenor role of Captain Davis Van Damm.

Directed by Taconic Opera director Dan Montez and conducted by Jun Nakabayashi, The Red Mill was one of Victor Herbert’s first big successes, premiering on Broadway on Sept. 24, 1906 and running for 274 performances. Set in Holland during the early 20th century, the operetta has a topsy-turvy plot that resembles the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Ms. Kroeger’s character Gretchen and Mr. Haviland’s character Van Damm are the star-crossed lovers who plan to elope in defiance of her father’s wishes. In the process her father is outwitted by a couple of clever American vaudevillians, and true love eventually triumphs all around, amidst a series of unexpected revelations.

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Donald Haviland

Mr. Haviland is a recent graduate of Ithaca College with a bachelor’s degree in music education. He currently works as the Cherub Choir director at First Congregational Church of Greenwich, where he also acts as a youth group leader and stage manager for the afternoon worship service. He has performed in a number of musical productions, including the Off-Beat Players, a theater company that mixes actors with and without special needs in each production.

Ms. Kroeger holds a Master’s in Music from Mannes College of Music and a Bachelor’s in Music from Lawrence University.

The Red Mill will be Troupers’ 68th production. Starting out in 1946 as an informal group that put on Gilbert and Sullivan operas in private homes, today Troupers is a large enterprise, performing with a live orchestra, costumes and complete stage sets.

The Red Mill will be performed at the Norwalk Concert Hall on April 6 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and on April 13 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at TroupersLightOpera.org or by calling 800-838-3006.

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