‘Pirates of Penzance’ sails onto BGSU stage


BOWLING GREEN, O.-Bowling Green State University music and drama students join to perform the comic opera "The Pirates of Penzance," opening Nov. 1 in Kobacker Hall. An opera of romance, soft-hearted pirates and contractual obligations, "The Pirates of Penzance" is one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most frequently played and parodied operas.

"The Pirates of Penzance" will open at 8 p.m. Nov. 1 in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center, with an additional performance at 3 p.m. on Nov. 3.

The story in two acts follows the tenor Frederic, an indentured pirate apprentice. He and his "hard of hearing" contralto nursemaid, Ruth, go to shore after Frederic is released from his piratical apprenticeship. His sense of honor requires him to alert the police to the thieving pirates moored nearby.

"The Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty" received numerous positive reviews when it premiered in 1879. "The Major-General's Song" has been parodied ever since, and has been featured in "Home Improvement," "The Simpsons" and "Doctor Who."

Director Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers said she is confident that the actors will bring youth and freshness to the iconic opera.

"American audiences can relate to this pretty well," Schoonmaker Rodgers said. "The comedy is quintessential British comedy that relates fairly well to things we laugh at today."

Schoonmaker Rodgers explained that the combination of spoken dialogue and music is similar to contemporary American musical theater.

"There will be acting and singing. It's not a very serious show," she said. "It's all very light-hearted, some dancing, nothing very complex - perfect for family audiences."

(Posted October 25, 2013 )