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Drama Dock Presents: The Pirates of Penzance

Pirates will land on Vashon this month with Drama Dock’s presentation of the treasured classic, "The Pirates of Penzance". Drama’s Dock’s jolly band of thespians brings Gilbert & Sullivan’s popular comic opera to the Bethel Church stage with performances July 13-22 including Strawberry Festival weekend.

The original "Pirates of Penzance"…also known as "the Slave of Duty" opened in New York City on New Year’s eve 1879. It was an immediate hit and shortly thereafter 4 touring productions were launched. The show opened in London the following year and has gone on to become arguably the most popular of Arthur Gilbert and G.S. Sullivan’s works.

Director, Libbie Anthony returns to her roots and love of Gilbert and Sullivan with this show. Marita Ericksen is providing Music Direction with both ably supported by Assistant Director, Elizabeth Nye. Anthony relates how she grew up on G &S, attending wonderful performances every year during her youth and joining the G&S Company when she turned 18. She was a member of the Oberlin College G&S players, the oldest standing G&S troupe in the U.S. and was featured in summer productions on Cape Cod.

Critics loved the original show with the New York Tribune reporting, "…the music is fresh, bright, elegant and merry." Many felt it was G & S best work to date with one critic writing, "…a distinct advance on Gilbert & Sullivan’s earlier works…more variety, marked character, careful workmanship and is in fact a more finished artistic achievement…a brilliant success."

Since its inception, New York alone has seen over 40 major revivals of the show with legendary producer Joseph Papp launching an award winning revival on Broadway in 1980 starring Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith and Estelle Parsons. The production went on to win Tony and Drama Desk awards and in 1983, was made into a movie starring the original cast.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, "Pirates" is tops when it comes to being parodied throughout the years. In particular The Major Generals patter song, has long been a favorite of comedians and those auditioning for musicals, with references to Pirates appropriated in as disparate films and TV shows as Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Frasier, Pretty Woman, Disney cartoons, advertising, political commentary and much more.

Drama Docks’ robust cast of over 30 pirates, maidens and urchins has been in rehearsals since March. The strong chorus includes members of the Vashon Chorale, Vashon Opera, Drama Dock Youth Initiative and Vashon Youth Chorus with many local favorites in featured roles. Audiences members attending Drama Dock’s spring Sondheim fundraiser were treated to a tantalizing preview of "Pirates" with a surprise appearance from Julea Gardener (Mabel) and Joe Farmer (Frederic) performing their soaring duet "Stay Fred’ric Stay". Both singers have the chops required for their demanding roles and will be ably joined by their accomplished comedic co-stars, Rich Wiley as Major General Stanley, Gordon Millar as the Pirate King and Lissy Nichols as Ruth.

The dynamic cast is rounded out by: Salena Brio, Annelise Bogue, Carol Butler, George Butler, Alexis Carlton, Doug Clarke, Victoria Davies, Evan Erickson, Gregg Erickson, Laura Erickson, Nick Etchoe, Hannah Fellbaum, Laurie Hennessey, Eliza Marie Holmes, Charles Irish, Maya Krah, Jolene Lamb, Tim McTighe, Ann Moses, Mabel Moses, Meghan Murphy, Jack Nelson, Toby Nichols, Keanu Rousch, Victoria Trujillo, and Sue Weston.

Make the rollicking ‘Pirates of Penzance’ part of your summertime and Strawberry Festival plans.

Drama Dock presents: Gilbert & Sullivan’s "The Pirates of Penzance"

July 13-22 at Bethel Church
Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30
Thursday 7/19 at 7:30 pm
Sundays at 4pm
Tickets available at Vashon Bookshop or
General Admission $20
(Drama Dock members $16)

Seniors/Students $10
(Drama Dock members $7.50)