Pirates of Penzance Has a Suntan in Goodspeed's Tropical Retelling

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01 Nov 2006

Andrew Varela plays The Pirate King at Goodspeed's <i>Pirates of Penzance</i>.
Andrew Varela plays The Pirate King at Goodspeed's Pirates of Penzance.
Photo by Diane Sobolewski
Goodspeed Musicals infuses a "Pirates of the Caribbean" flavor to Gilbert & Sullivan for its new production of the comic operetta Pirates of Penzance, opening Nov. 1 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT.

Gordon Greenberg directs the new adaptation, billed as a "swashbuckling musical comedy featuring pirates, parrots and perilous curses," wherein "swords clash, ladies swoon and policemen sing in a spectacular event for all ages."

The new musical arrangements by John McDaniel give a hint of the tropics. The work is set in the Caribbean in the 19th century. The show coincides with the popular Disney film franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean," but is not directly related to the movies. (A third film in the series is due out in the next year.)

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Pirates of Penzance began performances Oct. 6. It runs to Dec. 10.



Goodspeed Musicals' adaptation of Pirates of Penzance was conceived by Nell Benjamin (Broadway's Legally Blonde, Off-Broadway's Sarah Plain and Tall and Cam Jansen), Gordon Greenberg and John McDaniel. Additional book and lyrics for Pirates of Penzance were written by Nell Benjamin.

Andrew Varela (Broadway's Little Women and Les Misérables) plays The Pirate King. Ed Dixon (the versatile actor and musical theatre writer who penned Fanny Hill) is the Major General. Farah Alvin (Broadway's The Look of Love, Off Broadway's I Love You Because) is Mabel. Joanna Glushak (Broadway's Urinetown, Sweet Smell of Success) is Ruth. Jason Michael Snow is Frederic and John O'Creagh is Samuel.

The role of Sergeant is played by Gerry MacIntyre, while Edith is played by Julia Osborne. The ensemble for Pirates of Penzance includes Matt Baker, Ryan Bauer-Walsh, Matthew Scott Campbell, Kyle Fichtman, Daniel Spiotta, Robyn Kramer, Nick Mannix, Lindsay K. Northen, Tory Ross, Michael Rossmy, Roger Preston Smith, Leah Sprecher, Rebecca Strimaitis, Leonard E. Sullivan, Jacque Carnahan and Scott Ross.

Pirates of Penzance (Goodspeed has done away with "the" at the top of the title) has book and lyrics by Sir William S. Gilbert and music by Sir Arthur S. Sullivan. The original 1880 comic operetta was called The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty, and is set on the rocky coast of Cornwall.

Director Gordon Greenberg directed Goodspeed Musicals' The Baker's Wife and O. Henry's Lovers, Off-Broadway's Jacques Brel is Alive and Well . . ., Cam Jansen and Slut and the national tour of Peter Pan).

Warren Carlyle (The Baker's Wife at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre) choreographs.

The creative team includes scenic designer Robert Bissinger, costume designer David C. Woolard and lighting designer Jeff Croiter.

Music direction for Pirates of Penzance is by Michael O'Flaherty, who is in his 15th season as Goodspeed's resident music director. John McDaniel (two-time Emmy Award winner for his work on the "Rosie O'Donnell Show") is music supervisor and penned new arrangements. William J. Thomas is assistant music director.

Pirates of Penzance is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.

For more information, visit www.goodspeed.org.