Harry Bell Benford 1917-2015

We are very sad to report that Prof. Harry Benford died on June 6th. Harry was an active supporter of UMGASS since 1956, a former faculty advisor, and author of The Gilbert and Sullivan Lexicon.

Benford’s Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, July 7, 2015 in the Hanson Room at Glacier Hills. There will be a gathering of family and friends at 9:30 a.m., before the 10:30 a.m. Celebration Service.

In lieu of flowers, Benford asked that donations be made to any of the following:

  • First United Methodist Church, 120 S. State Street, Ann Arbor MI 48104
  • Friends of the U of M Gilbert & Sullivan Society (FUMGASS) c/o David Goldberg, 8461 Thurston Road, Pinckney MI 48169 — Include ‘Harry Benford’ on the memo line.
  • U of M Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department Loyal Crew Fund This is an endowment fund. Gifts to endowment funds will be administered as a permanent endowment under Michigan law and University policies. Contributions may be made either by check or on-line. If by check, make check to University of Michigan with memo line NAME Loyal Crew Fund, in memory of Prof Harry Benford; mail to: U of M College of Engineering, 1221 Beal Ave Suite G264, Ann Arbor MI 48109. Or Online: HTTPS://leadersandbest.umich.edu/tributes

Harry’s full obituary published in Ann Arbor News from June 20 to June 21, 2015 follows:
Professor Benford died Saturday, June 6, 2015, at home at Glacier Hills in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 97, the third son of Frank and Georgia Benford. Born and raised in Schenectady NY, he studied naval architecture at the University of Michigan. There he met, and later married, Elizabeth Smallman, who predeceased him in 2005, and whom he described as the maple syrup on his pancake of life. After graduating from the University in 1940, he worked at the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. In 1948 he returned to the University as an assistant professor, eventually rising to full professorial rank and serving a term as chairman of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. In 1982 the title of Professor Emeritus was conferred, but he continued to be active in his department on a voluntary basis until 2007. Benford’s professional achievements were centered on the application of economics to decision making in ship design. His pioneering studies led to invitations to speak world-wide and he lectured in more than thirty countries. This activity tied in nicely with his interest in travel, which hobby he shared with his wife. He was granted three awards by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers including its highest honor: the Taylor Medal (for notable achievement in naval architecture). He was the author of two technical books and about 150 papers. He was a member of a dozen technical societies and a fellow in two. He was an active consultant to industry and government and served on several committees of the National Research Council. Along with his penchant for world travel, Benford enjoyed photography and compiled carefully structured albums of his handiwork. Benford and Betty, his first wife, were both members of the First United Methodist Church. They were known in Ann Arbor for their association since 1956 as faculty advisors to the U of M Gilbert & Sullivan Society. He was also the author of a widely read book about the Gilbert & Sullivan operas. Benford is survived by sons Howard (Chrystyna) of Midland MI, Frank (Jean Hutchinson) of Salem OR, and Robert “Tigger” (Martha Partridge) of Brooklyn NY, and five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and his second wife, Kathryn.


April 10, 2015

The Mikado is being performed this week! Are you on KoKo’s list? Be there or be a second trombone!

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UMGASS Presents The Mikado; Or the Town of Titipu!

THIS week we are proud to present our spring show, The Mikado! If you haven’t got your tickets yet, we encourage you to buy online or at the door before the show.

Ticket Prices

$10 – Student
$18 – Senior
$20 – General

Mikado Show Times and Dates:

Thursday, April 9th @ 8 p.m.

Friday, April 10th @ 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 11th @ 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 12th @ 2 p.m.

For more information on tickets, see our Tickets page, for directions to the theatre, go to the About page, and for a cast list, visit the Company page.

UMGASS Elections 3/22/15

Hello everyone!

This is a reminder that the UMGASS Board elections are this Sunday at 5 p.m. (after rehearsal). We encourage you all to come/stick around and elect the new board!
If you would like to run for a position, or are just curious about what the board does and how we operate, please review our constitution and bylaws here.
Here is the short tl;dr version:
The President, creates agendas, runs board meetings, and makes sure that things get done on schedule. He/she should be very familiar with the constitution/bylaws to ensure that the board is carrying out its duties correctly. The President steps in to help other board members as needed. Must be a student.
Vice President
The Vice President runs meetings in the absence of the President. He/she is in charge of contracts (like the theater contract). He/she is also the social coordinator for UMGASS and helps set up parties and events. The VP aids other board members in their duties as needed.
Unsurprisingly, the Treasurer is in charge of money stuff. He/she is in charge of our bank account (through UM’s SAOS) and creates and updates our budgets for each show. The Treasurer also works with FUMGASS to manage our funds and pay for orchestra and other expenses. This year the treasurer has also helped us apply for grants. The Treasurer must be a student to access our SAOS funds.
The secretary takes meeting minutes at board meetings and distributes them. He/she maintains our email lists and web site, as well as our usher contact lists. Stuff with paper (like audition forms, surveys, etc.) generally falls under this job. Experience with WordPress and Google Drive is helpful, but not required.
Ticket Manager (Pooh Bah)
The Ticket Manager is in charge of all our ticket sales, including coordinating our online and box office sales. He/she works with our distributor (Brown Paper Tickets) to have tickets printed and ready for show week. The Ticket Manager also helps arrange for cast and FUMGASS sales (which sometimes means walking people through how the internet works).
Company Promoter (Pish Tush)
The Company Promoter is in charge of publicity for our shows, including posters, social media, newspaper and radio ads, and anything else they can think of to get the word out. This position is vital for the success of the show, since no matter how good it is it doesn’t really matter unless people come watch. This position can be split up between two people as it can be a lot of work alone.
Program Editor
The Program editor creates, edits, and prints the programs for our shows. This involves chasing cast members around for photos, bothering people for bios, and being nosy all the time (in a good way!). Some knowledge of editing software is helpful, but not required.
The Board as a whole is dedicated to ensuring the continued success of our society by putting on high quality shows each semester. The board is in charge of selecting production staff and providing them with the tools they need to make their vision a reality. It is a tough but rewarding job, and a great look at how things work behind the scenes in a theater company. We encourage you all to run!
Let me know if you have any questions, and the board will be happy to help.
Cristina Tamer
UMGASS President


This week we are holding auditions for The Mikado! We will be at STAC Monday-Wednesday from 7-10 p.m. If you’d like to reserve a time, email us at umgass@umich.edu, otherwise, walk-ins are welcome! The directors have requested you prepare an English language song, preferably one from the show if you are auditioning for a specific part. They want to see your acting ability, so choose a characterization and express it as you sing. There will not be dance auditions for this show. Bring your conflict calendar and a copy of your music for the accompanist.  We hope to see you soon!

The Mikado

Thanks everyone who attended and participated in Ruddigore! It was a great show and we all had a lot of fun. Our spring show will be The Mikado; or the Town of Titipu. If you are interested in being involved in the show in any capacity, we encourage you to attend our Mass Meeting this Sunday, January 11th at 7:30 (for real!) in the Michigan Room on the 2nd floor of the Michigan League. You can learn about the show, our organization, and sign up for auditions. If you are unable to make the meeting, please email us to reserve an audition time or for more information.

Ruddigore Opening Night!

UMGASS is proud to present Ruddigore; Or the Witch’s Curse starting tonight and running through Sunday! Tickets will be available at the door or online up to 12 hours before each show. Read about us on MLive and spread the word to your family and friends.

Thursday, Dec. 4th: 8 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 5th: 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 6th: 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 7th: 2 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you at the show!