Membership Application

The Jay Newman Lectures

Palace Peeper Archives

About the Society

Meeting Information

All regular meetings take
place at 7:30 p.m. at
500 Eighth Avenue, 3rd Floor
(Between 35th & 36th Streets)
New York City

Join the Society

An invitation to join the
Gilbert & Society of New York!
Learn all about us!

Upcoming Events

Click here to learn about
our upcoming meetings.

Society Officers

Dan Kravetz
President & Editor
of The Palace Peeper

Click to email Dan Kravetz

Frances Yasprica
Corresponding Secretary
Click to email Frances Yasprica

Philip Sternenberg
Click to email Philip Sternenberg


Find out more about the
Society on Facebook.


We are affiliated with
The Gilbert & Sullivan Society
London, England

The Jay Newman Lectures

The G&S Society holds an annual lecture in honor of Jay Newman, a lifelong devotee of the works of Gilbert & Sullivan and longtime Society member. The lecture series is funded by a generous gift made by Newman upon his death in 2007.

A Brooklyn native, Jay Newman was a notable philosopher who served as a professor at the University of Guelph; he was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1995. Learn more about Newman in the Wikipedia entry about him.

2021: Marc Shepherd on The Variorum Gilbert & Sullivan
The Ninth Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

June 5, 2021: Gilbert & Sullivan Society Vice President and former Peeper editor Marc Shepherd discussed The Variorum Gilbert & Sullivan, which documents the evolution of the G&S libretti from pre-production drafts and the early productions, through the later amendments and editions. Marc discussed how the Variorum sheds light on the operas' creation, revisions and reception, and how it can be used by performing groups today

A recording of the lecture may be viewed on YouTube.

2019: Dr. J Donald Smith on "Mrs. Ronalds: Myth and Reality"
The Eighth Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

June 15, 2019: For more than 20 years Mrs. Mary Frances "Fanny" Ronalds was the companion/confidant/muse/lover/partner of Sir Arthur Sullivan. Many of the published details about her are simply wrong. She was a singer who was compared to the reigning sopranos of the day; a composer of popular songs; a patron who supported aspiring musicians; a prodigious fund-raiser for charity; and part of the highest societies of New York, Paris and London. The talk presented a more complete picture of this fascinating woman.

Dr. J. Donald Smith, a long-time member of the G&S Society of New York, is active in G&S circles in the Boston, Massachusetts area, where he served as the President of the New England G&S Society for 9 years. He is a member of the Sudbury Savoyards, a regular at the International G&S Festival, and has been with the Savoynet Performing Group for two dozen productions at the Festival. Since his retirement as Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UMass Dartmouth, he has published research on various unexplored aspects of Gilbert and Sullivan. He was the major motivating force behind the 2018 BBC recording of The Mountebanks, for which he also provided the liner notes.

2018: "Uncle Arthur: The California Connection"
The Seventh Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

May 6, 2018: W. Scott Hayes, the great grand-nephew of Sir Arthur Sullivan, spoke about Sullivan's visit to his family in California in 1885 after "The Mikado" came to America. After Sullivan's brother Fred died, Fred's widow moved to America with six of their children, but she died soon afterwards. Sullivan encouraged and supported the family for the rest of his life and in his Will.

Hayes, a retired history and choral music teacher, has written two books about Sullivan's family. He described Sullivan's journey, illustrating his talk with striking photographs that he has found in libraries around the US and in London, together with family photos, maps, newspaper clippings and other materials. Hayes discussed each of Fred's children, Sullivan's interesting journey by rail over the vast width of America, and his trip with the children to Yosemite Valley, where they marveled at the beautiful views, giant sequoia trees, and waterfalls.

2017: Melodramatic Histrionics in the Savoy Operas,
The Sixth Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

June 16, 2017: Professor Carolyn Williams of Rutgers University, author of the wonderful book Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody, gave the 2017 Jay Newman Memorial Lecture.

Professor Williams tackled Gilbert's parody and use of Victorian Melodrama, including jolly jack tars, mad women, villains, mystic ladies, swashbucklers, vengeance, patter and sudden mood changes:

*How Ralph Rackstraw developed an energetic fist!
*The perils of dinner served up in a pudding basin!
*Why Julia Jellicoe strangled your aunt!
*How Mad Margaret loses the love of her life, goes mad and makes an 'affidavit!
*You'll see it at once in my face! Or, Why Sir Despard is husky and hoarse!

Musical examples were performed by Andrea Stryker-Rodda, Richard Holmes, Julie May, Sarah Moulton Faux, Hannah Spierman, David Bell and Samuel Silvers.

2015: "Gilbert's Dialogue Revisited"
The Fifth Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

November 4, 2015: Roberta Morrell, who performed with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in the last ten years of its original incarnation and is now a well-known stage director and coach, spoke about "Gilbert's Dialogue Revisited." She demonstrated for us how she directs G&S performers to get the most out of the material, coaching volunteers in scenes from THE SORCERER, H.M.S. PINAFORE, and PRINCESS IDA. Roberta insists that the Savoy operas can continue to delight audiences young and old for decades, or even centuries, to come. Roberta's book about life in the D'Oyly Carte, D'OYLY CARTE: THE INSIDE STORY, was released by Troubador Publishing in 2016.

2014: The Fourth Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

May 28, 2014: Geoffrey Shovelton was last principal tenor of the original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. He was also our honorary president for several decades and contributed delightful illustrations to The Palace Peeper during that time. He spoke about his recollections of performing with the D'Oyly Carte and his favorite roles.

2013: The Third Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

May 8, 2013: Our Two Ians sailed to New York with several other G&S devotees on the maiden voyage of the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship and were delighted to share part of their short stay here with us in an evening of information, music and merriment.

The Rev. Dr. Ian Bradley teaches theology at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. He is the author of many books on diverse subjects, including THE COMPLETE ANNOTATED GILBERT & SULLIVAN and OH JOY! OH RAPTURE! THE ENDURING PHENOMENON OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN. He spoke about the Gilbert & Sullivan fan community and future of the canon.

Ian Smith spoke about the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival — operating since 1994 in England, first in Buxton and later in Harrogate, with occasional visits to Pennsylvania and California — of which he is founder and chairman.

2012: The Second Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

February 25, 2012: World-renowned G&S performer Simon Butteriss is a specialist in comic baritone roles with New D'Oyly Carte, Opera della Luna, and Carl Rosa Opera Company. A performer and director, he frequently performs at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. Butteriss also has an active career as an author and film performer. He shared his insights about the Gilbert & Sullivan patter roles.

2010: "Gilbert & Sullivan: Shining into a New Century with Reflected Light"
The First Jay Newman Memorial Lecture

May 7, 2010: Ralph MacPhail was the inaugural speaker in our Jay Newman Memorial Lecture on Gilbert & Sullivan. Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Bridgewater College of Virginia, Ralph is a longtime Society member. He spoke about "Gilbert & Sullivan: Shining into a New Century with Reflected Light"; the title is inspired by a letter of appreciation written by Gilbert to Sullivan in 1889, and refers to to the timeless appeal of the G&S operas and the reasons for their continuing popularity in the 21st Century.