The lineup will feature fully staged productions of H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, and an all-new production of Ruddigore. Free Kids Night is scheduled for January 12th (7PM).
H.M.S. Pinafore, or The Lass That Loved a Sailor marks the start of the Gilbert & Sullivan collaboration's hit parade and the beginning of musical theatre as we know it. On board H.M.S. Pinafore, the lowly sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, has fallen in love with Josephine, daughter of the repressed, but ever polite, Captain Corcoran whose social climbing ambitions have caused him to promise Josephine in marriage to the insufferable Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B, First Lord of the Admiralty. While the crew and Sir Joseph's groupies, referred to as "his sisters and his cousins and his aunts" dance their way across the deck, Josephine promises not to follow her heart in returning Ralph's affection and the Captain reveals his own attraction to the lowly peddler woman, Little Buttercup, who hints that "things are seldom what they seem." Sir Joseph senses Josephine's coolness to his advances, but is convinced by the Captain to make another effort in the boisterous Bell Trio. In a deliberately absurd twist of fate, Little Buttercup reveals that Ralph and the Captain were switched at birth, thereby allowing both Corcorans to marry the objects of their affections, within their own social classes. Sir Joseph is resigned to marrying his most devoted groupie, Cousin Hebe.
The Mikado or The Town of Titipu, the location is a fictitious Japanese town full of colorful characters - 3 little maids from school, a wandering minstrel, a hilariously corrupt public official, and a Lord High Executioner who may have a list of potential victims but is too tenderhearted to actually perform his duties. Beautiful school girl Yum-Yum loves the romantic minstrel Nanki-Poo but is engaged to Ko-Ko the executioner. This romantic triangle takes the usual course of thwarted romance, until the arrival first of the fearsome Katisha, claiming Nanki-Poo as her "perjured lover," and later of the emperor, or Mikado, himself - with his own list of punishments to fit the crime. In order to resolve the ensuing complications, Ko-Ko must use his wits to convince the most unattractive Katisha to marry him - in record time. That done, all other potentially dangerous circumstances are settled by the Mikado's all encompassing pronouncement "nothing could possibly be more satisfactory."
The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty centers on the dilemma of young Frederic who, as a child, was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his twenty first birthday. 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. On the rocky coast of Cornwall, England a band of tenderhearted pirates celebrates the coming of age of their apprentice, Frederic. Although Frederic's apprenticing to pirates was the mistake of his nurse maid Ruth, he has dutifully served, but he now announces his plan to devote his life to the extermination of piracy. The naive young man meets a group of beautiful girls, their father, the delightfully dotty Major-General, and enlists the help of some bumbling and diffident policemen. But Ruth and the Pirate King tell Frederic that his apprentice papers state that he won't be of age until his 21st birthday, which won't occur until the distant date of 1940 because Frederic was born in leap year on the 29th of February. Frederic is doomed to remain the pirate apprentice. The policemen try to capture the pirates on their own, but are easily defeated. Everyone is happy to discover that the pirates are really all "noblemen who have gone wrong," so all is forgiven in the end.
Ruddigore, or The Witch's Curse - thrilling, but not chilling, is the word for this musically evocative send up of melodrama, replete with virtuous maidens, robust sailors, honest old folks, and dastardly bad baronets. Bridesmaids' dresses swirl in hornpipes and country dances, while ancestral ghosts appear magically from their portrait frames. Gilbert & Sullivan even poke fun at themselves in the delicious "Patter Trio" which proudly proclaims: "this particularly rapid, unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter!" A family of baronets is under the unlikely curse of having to perform a crime of some sort each day. The most recent holder of the title has escaped this fate by hiding in a fishing village under an assumed name. When his younger brother reveals his true identity he is forced to assume his birthright position and face the ire of his predecessors, all ghosts represented by a picture gallery in the family estate. However, when the secret of how to break the curse comes to light, our hero is free to wed the beautiful, and very particular, girl of his dreams, while both his brother and recently deceased, but now fully revived, uncle find their own appropriate romantic matches.
Performances January 8th through January 17th are as follows: The Mikado _ Friday, Jan. 8th _ 8PM, Saturday, Jan. 9th _ 8PM, Saturday, Jan. 16th _ 2PM; H.M.S. Pinafore _ Sunday, Jan. 10th _ 3PM, Tuesday Jan. 12th _ 7PM (FREE KIDS NIGHT!); The Pirates of Penzance - Saturday, January 9th _ 2PM, Friday, January 15th _ 8PM; Ruddigore _ Thursday, Jan. 14th - 8PM, Saturday, Jan. 16th _ 8PM, Sunday, Jan. 17th _ 3PM.
Tickets range in price from $96 to $40. (Children 12 or under: half price when accompanied by an adult, 10% Senior discounts also available).
More information and tickets can be obtained through the City Center box office and by phoning CityTix (212) 581-1212 or log on to www.nycitycenter.org.
Under the artistic and music direction of Albert Bergeret, the company has presented over 2,600 performances throughout the United States, Canada, and England. Incorporating a 25-piece orchestra, its productions feature contemporary energy while retaining a traditional respect for each of the G & S masterpieces. New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players is considered by many to be the nation's "leading custodian of the G & S classics."