Light Opera of Manhattan

Light Opera Of Manhattan

Light Opera of Manhattan

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Light Opera of Manhattan, known as LOOM, was an Off-Broadway repertory theatre company that produced light operas, including the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and European and American operettas, 52 weeks per year, in New York City between 1968 and 1989.

Founded by William Mount-Burke, LOOM's first long-term home was in the Jan Hus theatre from the late 1960s to 1975, where it succeeded another small light opera company, the American Savoyards. At the Jan Hus, LOOM performed predominantly the Savoy operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, such as The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore. Led by conductor-director Mount-Burke, principal comedian Raymond Allen and choreographer Jerry Gotham, the company mentored many young actors and singers who went on to careers on Broadway or elsewhere in theatre or music.

In 1975, the company moved across the street to a legitimate Off-Broadway theatre, the Eastside Playhouse. There it expanded its repertoire beyond Gilbert and Sullivan to American and continental operettas, such as those of Victor Herbert, Rudolph Friml, Franz Lehár, Sigmund Romberg, Jacques Offenbach and Johann Strauss II. LOOM was often featured on WQXR radio.

By 1979, diabetes had blinded William Mount-Burke, but he continued to conduct and even to direct new productions. The company remained strong until 1984, when Mount-Burke died and the company's playhouse was closed and subsequently demolished. After this, led by Allen and Gotham, with music director...
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