OBU Theatre and the Division of Music are proud to present W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.” The show opens Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Craig-Dorland Theatre in Shawnee Hall on the OBU Campus in Shawnee.
The production will continue through Nov. 3 with evening performances Oct. 24, 26 and 31 as well as Nov. 1 and 2. Matinees will take place Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. Tickets are $5 for students and $15 for adults. Tickets may be purchased online or in the main office of Sarkeys Telecommunication Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Season tickets may be purchased for $30 for adults and $12 for students at the Sarkeys OBU box office.
The story takes place along the coast of Cornwall, where the Pirates of Penzance have stopped in at their secret lair to celebrate the 21st birthday of their apprentice, Frederic. Tension begins to rise as Frederic, released from his apprentice-bond, swears off the pirating life and sets out to rid the world of the pillaging and scourge that comes with pirating. Along the way, Frederic meets the beautiful and compassionate Mabel. Frederic and Mabel are followed by the pirates as they are to be wed. This story is full of sea shanties, fair maidens, problematic paradoxes, bumbling bobbies and a Major General who truly has the gift of gab.
The show is directed by Dr. Hephzibah Dutt, assistant professor of theatre and director of theatre, with musical direction by Dr. Louima Lilite, associate professor of music and McGavern-Montgomery Professor of Music. Alongside the directors, the show’s choreography is by Trevor Mastin. Emili Ramos is the stage manager and Ruby Harris is her assistant. Scott Roberts is the set designer for this captivating performance.
Frederic will be played by senior communication major Court Haygarth, while senior vocal performance major Marlee Sedgwick will play Ruth. Augustus Matthews will play the Pirate King with pirates being played by Garrett Wheeler, Jordan Evans and Chase Davis. The role of Samuel will be played by Riley Davenport. Senior theatre major Caleb Frank will play the role of major general, with Grant McGee as the sergeant and Anne Aguayo as Mabel. Edith will be played by Erin Loyd while Kalyne Henrichsen will play the role of Kate and Harmony Dewees will play Isabel. Sarah Smith and Valerie Volpe will play the sisters. Police will be played by Rachel Campbell, Monica Stiffler, Kennedy Largent, Emma Greathouse, Anna Smolen and Makayla Jessup.
“This year we celebrate 100 years of OBU Theatre, and The Pirates of Penzance is the flagship show of our special anniversary season,” Dutt said. “One of my favorite parts of this show has been getting to work with such a strong production team. Lead by technical director and lighting designer, professor Jake Yenish, the student members of the production team have been impressive.”
“Audiences can expect a musical and visual delight for the senses, as well as comedy, romance, adventure and a surprise-twist ending,” she said.
Lilite has likewise been blessed to work on this production.
“Working on this show has been a genuine labor of love,” he said. “Working with singing actors and instrumentalists on this musical has brought a lot of joy to my heart. More importantly, it has encouraged my teacher’s heart to hear and see immense progress in the students involved in this work. The audience should expect to hear beautiful and fun singing. Trevor Mastin’s choreography and Dr. Dutt’s stage direction complement the music well. So, no one should miss this extravaganza.”
"The Pirates of Penzance” stands as Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular work. The show first premiered in 1879 at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City. The success of this incredible show has resulted in a century’s worth of performances by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in Britain, a 1981 Broadway production and a 1983 film adaptation.