The Pirates of Penzance

Staging and Direction byLeo Nickole. Music Direction byRichard DeMone. Choral Direction byNancy Lemoine. Choreography byTerrie Bater. Click here for photos taken during rehearsals.

The bonds of duty have never been presented with such wacky delight as in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, which whirls a cast of pirates, police, young lovers, dewy-eyed daughters, and an eccentric Major-General through a melodious merry-go-round of moral dilemmas.

This great classic now takes on roguish new life in this delightful version presented on Broadway by the New York Shakespeare Festival. With an updated, smaller orchestration and two additional songs from other Savoy operas, this new adaptation crackles with the special Gilbert and Sullivan wit wedded to a fresh perspective on the script by director Wilfred Leach.

Performances were on two weekends, 9-11 May and 16-17 May 2008, at Belmonte Middle School in Saugus. Audiences were delighted.

The cast included: Amanda Allen, Frank Arsenault, Sarah Berggren, Brian Cipoletta, David Colpitts, Brian Dion, Alexis Fafard, Ashleigh Fafard, Joanne Fafard, Ian Helmick, Matt Huffman, Tom Knowlton, Carolina Lanney, Nancy Lemoine, Elissa O’Donnell, Tanya Portalla, Lauren Robinson, Bob Russell, Mike Sakovich, Jillian-Rae Santosuosso, Jessica Stockton, Sean Waple, William Waple, and James Wlodyka.

The show was generously supported by our show sponsor, the East Boston Savings Bank, and our corporate sponsor, The Lynn Daily Item.

Musical Numbers: “Pour, O Pour the Pirate Sherry”, “When Frederic was a Little Lad”, “Oh, Better Fair to Live and Die”, “Oh, False One, You Have Deceived Me”, “Climbing Over Rocky Mountain”, “Stop, Ladies, Pray!”, “Oh, Is There Not One Maiden Breast”, “Poor Wandering One”, “How Beautiful Blue the Sky”, “Stay, We Must Not Lose Our Senses”, “I Am A Very Model of a Modern Major-General”, “Oh, Men of Dark and Dismal Fate”, “Oh, Dry the Glistening Tear”, “When the Foeman Bears His Steel”, “When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold”, “My Eyes Are Fully Open”, “Away, Away! My Heart’s on Fire!”, “Stay, Frederic, Stay!”, “Sorry Her Lot”, “When a Felon’s Not Engaged in His Employment”, “A Rollicking Band of Pirates We”, “With Cat-Like Tread, Upon Our Prey We Steal”, “Hush, Hush! Not A Word”, “Sighing Softly to the River”,.

Synopsis of The Pirates of Penzance:
ACT 1. A Rocky Seashore on the Coast of Cornwall. The pirates are gathered on the rocky shore of Cornwall, toasting Frederic who has become of age and a full-fledged pirate. There is merriment but Frederic is sad and Ruth, the pirate’s maid-of-all-work, tells them that when Frederic was a little lad and she was his nursery maid she misunderstood his father and had him apprenticed to a pirate instead of a pilot as his father had requested. Frederic explains that his sense of duty forces him to become an honest man and destroy his beloved pirates although he knows that they are tenderhearted men particularly toward orphans as they are orphans themselves.

The pirates leave and Ruth begs Frederic to take her with him. Although she is many years older than he, Frederic, never having seen another woman since he was a young lad, believes Ruth to be beautiful. But just at that moment a group of young maidens, the daughters of Major-General Stanley, happen upon the scene. All but one, Mabel, are frightened by Frederic’s admission that he is a pirate although a reformed one. He pleads for understanding and Mabel responds and offers him her report.

The pirates return and seize the girls planning to take them off and marry them whereupon Mabel warns them that they are wards in chancery and that their father is a Major-General. At that moment Mabel’s father arrives and makes it quite clear that he is indeed a Major-General. When the pirates persist in their demands for his daughters in marriage General Stanley begs them to have pity on him as he is an orphan and knows their reputation for being tender-hearted particularly towards orphans. The pirates allow him to go in peace with his daughters.

ACT II. A Ruined Chapel by Moonlight. General Stanley is sitting amid the ruins of a chapel with his daughters hiding from the pirates. He is fearful that they will harm him when they learn that he is not an orphan. Frederic comforts him and explains that he has called the local constabulary who will attack the pirates at eleven o’clock and exterminate them leaving him free to marry Mabel. The police arrive and sing their reluctance to fight but the girls “cheer” them on and they leave in pursuit of the pirates.

Frederic is about to join them when Ruth and the pirate king appear with drawn guns and explain to him that because Frederic was born on leap-year day he will not be twenty-one until 1940 and thus he is still legally apprenticed to them. Frederic, being a slave to duty, acknowledges his indentures and is forced in all honor to tell the pirates that the Major-General is not an orphan.

The police return and reluctantly plan to do battle with the pirates. Hearing them in the distance the police conceal themselves as the pirates converge stealthily upon their prey. The police spring into action but are swiftly conquered. As the pirates stand over their victims with drawn swords, the police charge them to yield in Queen Victoria’s name. The pirates, who love their queen dearly, yield immediately.

The police prepare to arrest them but Ruth secures their pardon by revealing that they are not common criminals but noblemen who have gone astray. The Major-General invites them to resume their ranks and legislative duties and consents to their marriage to his daughters. Frederic and Mabel are reunited and all is well.