This New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players production is your chance to get carried away by Pirates. Join the band of swashbuckling buccaneers, bumbling British bobbies, frolicsome Victorian maidens, and the delightfully dotty "model of a modern Major-General" for a rollicking romp over the rocky coast of Cornwall.
This exuberant musical theatre masterpiece, directed and conducted by Albert Bergeret with choreography by Bill Fabris, is performed in its original format. The rich sounds of full orchestra, chorus, and legitimate vocal soloists resonate with classic elegance and power while the company’s vibrancy, energy, and contemporary sense of humor keep the show alive and exciting to a modern audience. The Pirates of Penzance — they’ll steal your heart away!
The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty was first performed at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on December 31, 1879. It was the only Gilbert & Sullivan operetta to have its world premiere in the United States and it has remained popular both here and throughout the English-speaking world ever since. Gilbert’s wit (always incisive but never vicious or dated) and Sullivan’s memorable score (including the original tune from which "Hail, hail the gang's all here" is drawn) are among the most valuable treasures of musical theater history.
Patter songs are a Gilbert & Sullivan trademark and Pirates features the most famous of them all, "I am the very model of a modern Major-General." This jaunty tune has been cleverly set to different words countless times (Tom Lehrer’s element song a notable example) and used in commercials to sell everything from Campbell's Soup to Handi Wipes, cars, newspapers, and other items.
Pirates also contains some of Gilbert’s most famous lyrics such as the often-used quotation "a policeman's lot is not a happy one" from the Act II lament of the diffident "men in blue." Other highlights of the show include "For I Am a Pirate King," the pirates' "Here's a First-Rate Opportunity,” the policemen's "When the Foeman Bears His Steel," and Mabel’s show-stopping coloratura aria "Poor Wand'ring one."
The plot of Pirates centers on the dilemma of young Frederic who, as a child, was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday. Since he was born in leap year on February 29, he is honor bound to remain a pirate until the distant date of 1940, despite his moral objection to piracy. Helping Frederic to deal with this unusual predicament are the brash Pirate King, Ruth; the pirate maid-of-all-work, romantic Mabel; and the delightfully stuffy Major-General Stanley.