A venerable Century College English professor, who is a man, playing the indomitable Queen Victoria? Pirates who won’t attack orphans?
A handsome young apprentice with a leap-year birthday discovering that he is “legally” five years old and still bound to his apprentice contract? It’s all part of the fun when Century performs one of the most beloved and silliest musicals ever written, “The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan.
This best loved British musical will be performed over the last three weekends in April, from Friday, April 13, to Sunday, April 29, 2012. Performances will be in the West Campus Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Century Theatre will perform the updated version of the script and score, created by Joseph Papp, which was made famous in the 1983 production featuring Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury and Linda Ronstadt. The updated version offers exuberant energy and vibrant staging. The play is rich with recognizable melodies, as well as abundant comedy and romance.
The zany cast of characters includes the Pirate King (a seasoned rapscallion in the Century production) and his band of men (who won’t rob or pillage anyone who claims to be an orphan); Frederick, a handsome young man who was mistakenly bound to pirate service, but wants to turn good; Mabel, one of the many daughters of the Major General; Ruth, who has been Frederick’s governess (and refuses to be left stranded by pirates or Frederick,) and the Major General, who has daughters to spare (but not to pirates).
After a musical skirmish on the beach, the Pirate King and his band decide to let the Major General and his bevy of beautiful daughters go. The reason for this is, of course, that the Major General claims to be an orphan. The Pirate King vows not to give in so easily, however. Together with his men, the King, Ruth and Frederick all sneak up to the Major General’s house by dark to make off with his daughters.
The British Bobbies and their captain (terrified though they are) arrive to fight off the unlawful pirates and save the daughters. Just when it all seems lost, the name of the Queen is invoked in an attempt to stop the thieving pirates. At that, the ruling monarch of England, Queen Victoria herself (played by Century English professor Robert Hathaway) makes a “miracle” appearance and pardons the penitent pirates of their crimes. Everyone can then get married and live happily ever after.
Many fine performers from the Century campus and the community have come on board to perform “Pirates.” In addition, Randy Winkler, a seasoned Twin Cities director and choreographer, directs the stage action and dances. Century Music Department Professor Shirley Mier conducts the orchestra, while Minneapolis director and composer Marya Hart directs the vocal music. The professional design team includes Will Slayden on scenery and properties, Lisa Mangone on costumes, Grant Merges on lighting, and Lucas Melchior on sound.
With beautiful and ambitious musical numbers, zany and foolish characters, inexplicably silly plot complications and Queen Victoria herself, this is a show sure to please theatre goers of every age. You won’t want to miss Century College Theatre’s production of The Pirates of Penzance.
Tickets are $12 for adults; $9 for seniors and Century staff, and $7 for students with ID and youth 17 and under. Parking is plentiful and free. Please call the Century ticket line at 651-748-2623 for information or to reserve tickets. (The second Sunday matinee will host a “Pirates Costume Contest” for children 12 and under before the show.)