Umble Center will soon be host to the exhilarating and humorous show, “Pirates of Penzance.”
Written by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, “Pirates of Penzance” is a comic opera in two acts. The show originally premiered in 1879 and since has become one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most frequently performed operas, alongside “The Mikado” and “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
“The works of Gilbert and Sullivan have been a significant influence on musical theater as we know it today,” said Anna Kurtz Kuk, director of “Pirates” and assistant professor of theater.
“Pirates of Penzance” follows the story of Frederic, a young lad whose “father wished for him to be apprenticed to a maritime pilot.” His nurse, mishearing these instructions, instead apprenticed him to a band of pirates. Following his release from this apprenticeship, Frederic attempts to make up for his disreputable youth. However, with the interference of tender-hearted pirates, damsels in distress and a modern major general, “starting a proper life with his soon-to-be wife may not be as easy as he thinks.”
“The storyline [of Pirates of Penzance] is crucial to understand,” said Lisa Rosado Rivera, a first-year actress in GC’s production. “The dialogue contains a tremendous amount of humor that will make it hard for audience members to contain their laughter.”
Including the pit orchestra and technical workers, there are over 60 students involved in the production, all under the direction of Kurtz Kuk. In addition, Scott Hochstetler, professor of music, is overseeing musical direction, and Tom Myers, dance instructor, oversees the direction of choreography.
Regarding the cast and crew, Kurtz Kuk said, “The performers and designers have brought an incredible amount of energy, creativity and humor to the production.”
Over the past seven weeks, the cast and crew have been painstakingly rehearsing this elaborate production.
“I couldn’t be happier with how things are going,” said Kurtz Kuk.
At the beginning of rehearsals, the cast practiced their dance, vocal and acting routines separately before just recently bringing them all together in the weeks leading up to opening night.
Several students, including Joshua Liechty, a junior, and Kailey Rice, a first-year, remarked that the rehearsal process has been less stressful than shows they’ve been involved with in the past. This has boosted overall confidence and morale.
“Everyone was immediately dedicated,” said Liechty. “I partially credit that to the captivating qualities of Gilbert and Sullivan’s music, the presence of the directors, the stage management team and the students who are committed to create a production that reaches its maximum potential.”
“My favorite aspect of preparing for performances has been working with the amazing cast, musicians and crew,” said Rice. “Goshen is full of so many talented individuals and working with them has been an amazing experience.”
“Pirates of Penzance” is Tom Myers’ first show at Goshen, and he is pleased with how the choreography has come together for the production.
“It was fun to design different styles for each of the pirates, the policemen and wards,” said Myers. “The group has done a great job of executing the choreography for the show.”
The scenography and stage design of “Pirates” is an important part of the production, with the aim of making audience members feel as if they are sharing the same space as the cast. Coupled with dialogue dripping with humor and energized music, the effect is one that the cast and crew hopes will create an experience the audience will enjoy.
“Pirates of Penzance” will be the inaugural musical performed since the introduction of the theater department’s musical theater minor at the beginning of the school year.
“As we embark on this new venture,” said Kurtz Kuk, “we hope to explore and honor the great tradition of musical theater.”
The show opens Friday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Umble Center with performances on March 17 and 23, also at 7:30 p.m. Performances accompanied by ASL interpretation will be on March 18 and 25 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 general and $7 for seniors/students/GC employees.
They can be purchased online at goshen.edu/tickets or in person at the Box Office, located in the Goshen College Music Center, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (574) 535-7566.