A new version of Gilbert & Sullivan's Classic Operetta as Presented on Broadway by The New York Shakespeare Festival!
Posted on November 30, 2016 by Scot Allen
Kawaiaha'o Recital Hall
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
Libretto by Sir W.S. Gilbert • Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
DIRECTED and CHOREOGRAPHED by COCO WIEL
MUSICAL DIRECTION by MICHAEL LIM
The creative team of Gilbert and Sullivan, exhausted by America's disregard of British copyright laws, first produced The Pirates of Penzance in New York in 1879. Consequently, The Pirates of Penzance was lauded as America's first Broadway Block-Buster and one of the longest running American musicals. Later, The Pirates of Penzance was reproduced on London stages. Eventually, America acknowledged creative rights to the story and music. Once it fell out of its copyright laws, the show was successfully remounted in 1981 on Broadway by The New York Shakespeare Festival, with a lot of celebrity pull including Linda Ronstadt, Kevin Kline, and Rex Smith as the lead characters. Whatever the case, The Pirates of Penzance has been a theatrical main-staple in community theatres, opera houses, universities, and schools for over a century; it is performed as both an opera and a musical, which is known as an operetta.
Gilbert and Sullivan's confusing and convoluted style of storytelling is affectionately called, Topsy-Turvy. The plot twists and turns, then through some miraculous unpredictable and unforeseeable event, a happily-ever-after ending is realized. In our case, a few random, yet essential elements propel the storyline: being an orphan, mistaken intentions, love, a sense of duty, being born on leap day in a leap year, noble lineage, AND, well, we can't give away the whole story! (Psst: Musical phrases are often repeated three times--if you don't catch it the first time, listen for the repeat by the chorus.)
Our junior production is a product of today! With a 21st century sensibility, we're looking back on Victorian England: its fashion, innovations, acknowledging a musical style as perhaps a precursor to one of our "modern" styles, and giving a nod to The New York Shakespeare's 1980 revival. This talented cast of novice actors has wholeheartedly embraced the world of Gilbert and Sullivan and together have prepared for you an interactive, swashbuckling, and hilarious performance that is both fast and funny; enjoy! -- Miss Wiel