BWW Feature: PIRATES OF PENZANCE at Spring Mountain Ranch

BWW Feature: PIRATES OF PENZANCE at Spring Mountain Ranch
From left: Napoleon Buenrostro, James McGoff as the Pirate King, Jacob Weiss, Rebecca Morris as Ruth, Meric Pittman, and Jeff Vegas.
Photo by Richard Brusky

Turning 21 years of age is a milestone, even in 1879 as young Frederic, a pirate in training, has fallen for the lovely Mabel. However, a big obstacle stands in the way of true love. What will Frederic do? Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance showcases his quandary with musical, humor, and a timeless story as presented by Sin City Opera with Super Summer Theatre through Sept. 22.

Even in 2018, The Pirates of Penzance resonates with audiences about the dilemma of Frederic. His apprenticeship ends on his 21st birthday but he was born on Feb. 29 and the language states he is free after 21 birthdays instead of age 21. However, Frederic is in love with the Major General's daughter Mabel who has promised to wait 63 years for him after Frederic has celebrated 21 birthdays.

However, this is not a drama but a funny and hopeful operatic farce with the timeless music and lyrics of Gilbert & Sullivan. Long before Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, these swashbuckling pirates sing and dance about love and loyalty.

"It is brilliant. The comedy is simple and straightforward, and the dialog from the beginning to the end of the story is a wonder," says Skip Galla Katipunan, artistic director of Sin City Opera. "It is just so clever, even the small nuisances. The plot is easy to follow, relatable, and fun. The music is incredible."

Not all of the performers are opera singers, which was the goal of the company when the play was being cast. "We believe that the majority of the audience that attends Super Summer Theatre because of its reputation and the productions presented. We wanted to strike a balance between acting, movement, some musical theater elements, and powerful classically trained singers."

The cast of 34 includes opera singers, musical theatre performers, one cast member who just left performing in a Cirque du Soleil show The Beatles Love and ballet dancers. As Katipunan explains, the dancers didn't want to sing, and the opera singers didn't want to dance. By the final dress rehearsal, dancers were singing, and singers were dancing. "It has been a really great experience," says Katipunan.

The Pirates of Penzance is performed outdoors with additional challenges including hotter temperatures and dry air. Opera singers were miked up, and the sound technicians had to work with volume. However, the support of Sin City Opera's first performances at the ranch was "an amazing during the opening. It was a whirlwind weekend, and I couldn't be more proud," states Katipunan. "It was just brilliant and the fastest two hours that just flew by. The audience was just blown away."

Performers include Napoleon Buenrostro, James McGoff as the Pirate King, Jacob Weiss, Rebecca Morris as Ruth, Meric Pittman, and Jeff Vegas. The creative team includes director, Skip Galla Katipunan; assistant director, Adrienne Showker; musical director, Dean Balan; choreographer, Anastasia Weiss; scenic designer, Steve Paladie; costume designer, Ginger Land-van Buuren; and production stage manager, Marni Lewis.

The Pirates of Penzance presented by Sin City Opera (opening its ninth season) with Super Summer Theatre (43rd season) will be performed through Sept. 22. Visit here for dates, times, and ticket info.

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