THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE – THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE – Swashbuckling at SF’s Yerba Buena Center For the Arts

Celebrate The Lamplighters’ 58th Anniversary with pirate apprentice “Frederic”, who has a few surprises in store as he turns 21

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Lamplighters Music Theatre begins its 58th season with Gilbert & Sullivan’s swashbuckling musical comedy THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. Wacky, irreverent, and as entertaining today as it was when it first opened in 1879, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates Of Penzance follows the story of an orphan boy who was mistakenly apprenticed to a pirate instead of a pilot. A hilarious farce featuring sentimental pirates, bumbling policemen, dewy-eyed daughters, and an eccentric Major General, and peppered with unforgettable melodies and tongue-twisting songs such as I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General and Poor Wandering One. The Pirates of Penzance is one of the most popular operettas ever written. The production is directed by Phil Lowery and conducted by Monroe Kanouse. Choreography is by Erica Smith and costume designs by Melissa Wortman.
Click here to order tickets on-line: NOVELLUS THEATER

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CHRIS SHUFORD (Sergeant of Police) and JASON SARTEN (Pirate King)
Production photos by David Allen

The production opens in San Francisco for a limited run beginning Thursday, August 19th at 8:00 pm through Sunday afternoon, August 22nd at the Novellus Theater, conveniently located in Yerba Buena Center at Mission and Third. Final performances in Walnut Creek happen today, July 31st at 2 pm and 8 pm at the Lesher Center for the Arts Lesher Center for the Arts. The company then moves to the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts for two performances on Saturday and Sunday, August 14th and 15th. Following the San Francisco performances, the Pirates finish their high seas adventure at the Bankhead Theater at the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.

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JASON SARTEN, MICHAEL DESNOYERS (Frederic) and KATY DANIEL (Ruth)

SYNOPSIS
When Frederic was a child, Ruth, his nurse, was instructed to apprentice him to be a pilot. Being hard of hearing she misunderstood and instead apprenticed him to be a pirate, taking a job as the pirates’ maid-of-all-work in order to be by his side. Having finally reached the age of twenty-one, and having dutifully served his piratical apprenticeship, Frederic is preparing to leave. With just half an hour left to serve, Frederic warns the Pirate King that he plans to renounce piracy and, since it is a dishonest business, will devote himself to drive it out of existence. He urges the pirates to join him in embracing a lawful calling but they refuse.

Ruth pleads with Frederic to marry her and take her with him. Frederic has never seen another woman and has no way of knowing whether Ruth is as beautiful as she tells him. Nor is he sure how he feels about taking a forty-seven year old wife. Just then a group of young girls, wards of Major General Stanley, appear. At once Frederic sees that they are beautiful – in contrast with Ruth’s plainness – and renounces her. Soon Frederic is attempting to attract the girls and Mabel takes an interest. As he woos her, the pirates return and seize the girls, determined to marry them on the spot. Opportunely, the Major General arrives and dissuades the pirates from their dastardly plan. He has heard that they show sympathy towards orphans and tells them that he is one. Sure enough they agree to free his wards.

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JONATHAN SPENCER – as The Modern Major General

The Major General has taking to spending sleepless nights brooding on account of his lie to the pirates. He is consoled only by his wards’ sympathy and Frederic’s plan of leading a band of police against the pirates. The police arrive and are enthusiastically sent off by the Major General and the girls, leaving Frederic alone.

The Pirate King and Ruth appear and confront Frederic with some news of their own. They have discovered an amusing paradox: his indenture was to run out on his twenty-first birthday, and since he was born on February 29, he is really only five! Obeying the dictates of his strong sense of duty, Frederic immediately rejoins the pirates. He tells them that the Major General is not really an orphan and they declare revenge. Awaiting the perfect opportunity, they sneak up on the Major General and capture him. Just in the nick of time, the police come to the rescue and charge the pirates to yield, which they do. Ruth explains that pirates are really “all noblemen who have gone wrong” and they are pardoned and allowed to marry the girls.

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BRETT RUONA – as Mabel

Click here to order tickets on-line: PIRATES OF PENZANCE

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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