The history of the musical company

Operetta titles have been on the repertory of the Pilsen theatre since its beginning in the 1860's; for example in 1913 it presented the Czech premiere of Nedbal's Polish Blood! The operetta company as an artistic body did not become independent until 1954, under the leadership of composer and conductor JO Karel. Under the subsequent leadership of Miroslav Doutlík in the 1960's, the company grew into a body able to perform a whole range of entertaining musical shows including American musicals. The first musical title was the Czech premiere of Porter's Kiss Me Kate in 1963 followed by My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof and When it is Sunday in Rome. JO Karel returned to Pilsen after the involuntary departure of M Doutlík. Ivo Pavelka and Petr Klotz lead the company in the following years. Miroslav Doutlík returned to the management after the 1989 regime change and then gave the reins to Jan Ježek.

With the arrival of Roman Meluzín in 2000, the direction of the operetta and musical company became closer to the modern musical theatre. Apart from showing golden musical classics and operettas by both world and Czech authors, he extended the repertory in both genres by presenting titles in Czech premieres and supported new creativity in the field of musical and operetta. In 2003, there were 2 new productions. Musical Kristián 2 by the dramatist and director Antonín Procházka with original score by Kryštof Marek and the crucial production of that season, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess dramatized by director and the company's Head Roman Meluzín with the music by JP Muchow and lyrics by Marek 'Mardoša' Huňát. In 2004 we saw a premiere of a new operetta, Ferdinand, in collaboration with scriptwriter Karel Šíp and composer Zdeněk Merta. The following year produced the musical Jungle Book created directly for the Pilsen musical company by composer Ondřej Brousek and librettist Radek Balaš.

Two of the most significant Czech translators of musical lyrics, Michael Prostějovský and Adam Novák, were invited to participate in presenting yet unknown titles. We managed to present in a Czech premiere the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Pirates from Penzance (2006) and Roger's musical Caroussel (2008). The dramaturgy of the company continues in this direction. In 2009 we presented a Czech premiere of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie and in 2010 three Czech premieres: Monty Python's Spamalot (five years after its Broadway premiere, more than five years on the repertory!), Czech musical Around the World in Eighty Days and American musical Gypsy.

Other Czech premieres included: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Nine (2012) and in 2013 Footloose: Dancing is not a Crime and Kiss of the Spider Woman (the show was transferred to The New Theatre). The New Theatre presented, along with the first show in Pilsen of the phenomenal musical Cats, a Czech premiere of the Cole Porter's musical Anything Goes, followed by Bonnie & Clyde.

Apart from the permanent director and the Head of the company, Roman Meluzín, there are several guest directors and choreographers, leaders in the industry, working with the team. To name a few, they are Petr Novotný, Radek Balaš and choreographer Pavel Strouhal.

The artistic quality of the company's production is documented by a number of prestigious Thalia Awards for musical artists: Jan Ježek won the award for his role of Fred Graham in the musical Kiss Me Kate (1999), Stanislava Topinková Fořtová won the award after several nominations for her role of Mrs Johnston in the musical Blood Brothers (2003), Daniela Šinkorová for her Sally Bowles in Cabaret (2004) and Zuzana Krištofová for Velma Kelly in Chicago (2008). In March 2016, the Thalia Award was won by the actor and singer Karolina Gudasová for the role of Wendla in the very successful musical Spring Awakening.

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