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The Pirates of Penzance - Broadway

No Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera boasts as many walk-away tunes as The Pirates of Penzance, the only collaboration of the pair to premiere on Broadway, and not in England. Building on the success of the previous year’s H.M.S. Pinafore, but trading—as their principal “serious” focus—the rigors of naval discipline for the obligations of duty, G&S manage to burlesque their normal share of popular institutions, including the army, the police, and operatic sopranos. Pirate apprentice Frederic, at age 21, has faithfully served out his indentures and, replete with a sense of duty, joins the police force, determined to exterminate his old mates. He falls in love with Mabel, the first girl he sees, but the daughter of Major-General Stanley, who himself is the target of a pirate revenge plot. Plans go awry when it is revealed that, thanks to a leap-day birth, Frederic is really only five and one-quarter years old. The engaging musical score includes some of the catchiest music in the G&S canon: Mabel’s pyrotechnic “Poor, wandering one;” the tongue-twisting patter song “I am the very model of a modern major-general;” “A policeman’s lot;” “Climbing over rocky mountain”—a survivor from Thespis, G&S’s lost first stage work; and “With catlike tread,” which, more than a quarter-century later, was given new words as “Hail, hail, the gang’s all here.” At The Egyptian Theatre.

Schedule

Mark Hellinger Theatre

(New York, NY)
237 West 51st St.
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