"A treasure to behold! Pirates! is the kind of pure, giddy entertainment springtime stages are made for. A perfectly cast swashbuckling machine. A night of theatre this well put together is a fathoms-deep pleasure to see. Prepare to have your timbers shivered!" — Boston Herald

Set sail for the Caribbean with this raucous and rowdy update of a musical comedy classic, complete with swordfights, sex appeal, Gilbert's glorious music, and Sullivan's trademark wit. This young, brilliant creative team has adapted the book in a way that promises it won't be your grandmother's Gilbert and Sullivan!

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  • Pirates! at the Huntington Theatre Company is "pure, giddy entertainment!"

    Set sail for the Caribbean with this raucous and rowdy musical comedy classic, complete with swordfights, sex appeal, Gilbert's glorious music, and Sullivan's trademark wit. This young, brilliant creative team has adapted the book in a way that promises it won't be your grandmother's Gilbert and Sullivan.

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Photos

Articles

  • Perfectly Outrageous: The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan

    William S. Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur S. Sullivan (1842-1900) first collaborated on the opera Thespis, as a holiday production at London’s Gaiety Theatre in 1871. Both were accomplished in their respective fields — Gilbert in writing and Sullivan in musical composition — before pairing up to form one of the most successful creative duos in history.

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  • The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

    The eponymous pirates in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, it is discovered at the end of the original version, are outcast or disenfranchised nobility living in the time of Queen Victoria. Gilbert and Sullivan used anachronism in this case to make a satirical point about the superficial and seemingly arbitrary nature of the aristocracy in Victorian England; history points to the real “Golden Age of Piracy” as spanning the late 1600s and early 1700s.

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  • Fending Off Theatrical Pirates: The Transatlantic Birth of an Operetta

    The creation story of The Pirates of Penzance seems most appropriate to its subject matter, as legend has it that Sullivan accidentally left the completed score in London before his and Gilbert’s departure to America for the premiere, and completed it on the high seas; or that he intentionally finished the score upon arrival in New York in December of 1879 using cannibalized portions of Thespis, his earliest collaboration with Gilbert.

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  • An Opera By Any Other Name

    Years before Gilbert and Sullivan began their first collaboration, musical theatre, as we know it, existed in the form of the comic opera, popularized in Western Europe in the 1700s and 1800s. Perhaps the best known of these early musicals in English was John Gay’s 1728 satirical ballad opera, The Beggar’s Opera.

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  • "I'd Rather Be Laughing:” Nell Benjamin, Adaptor Extraordinaire

    Harvard alumna Nell Benjamin, who recently finished penning the music and lyrics for Broadway’s Legally Blonde, was initially reluctant to change a word of the original Gilbert and Sullivan operetta she loved as a child. But after a little wining and dining by director Gordon Greenberg she warmed up to the idea. Here in a conversation with Artistic Associate M. Bevin O’Gara, Benjamin talks about her process and why she adores The Pirates of Penzance.

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Press Reviews

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""A treasure to behold! Pirates! is the kind of pure, giddy entertainment springtime stages are made for. A perfectly cast swashbuckling machine. Prepare to have your timbers shivered! Pirates! is the stage equivalent of a summer movie blockbuster: not too deep and incredibly entertaining. Even if you don't go in for pirates, a night of theatre this well put-together is a fathoms-deep pleasure to see!" Boston Herald
"Magnificent! Hysterical! A swashbuckling tour-de-force. As good as musical theatre gets. One of the best productions of this or any other season." Examiner.com
"Unbuckle your swashbuckle, channel your inner Johnny Depp and prepare to have a blast at Pirates! This Pirates takes the beloved operetta to rollicking heights. From the opening strains of the overture to the big finish, Pirates! is well served by its musically gifted cast under Mr. Greenberg's spirited direction. Mabel, played wisely and radiantly by the vivacious Farah Alvin, lights up the stage at each entrance. The true star turn is offered by Ed Dixon as Major-General Stanley. With extraordinary diction and sure-fire comic timing, Mr. Dixon gives a performance that rivals the Savoyards of old. Gilbert and Sullivan would no doubt be proud, 'for it is, it is a glorious thing' to see this Pirate King." The New York Times
"Not since the swashbuckling days of Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power has the Jolly Roger flown so high. Pirates! abounds in vivacity, charm and musical allure. While faithful to the original operetta's core, this freshly conceived and performed update is an appealing confection. Ed Dixon stops the show when he sings the tongue-twisting 'very model of a modern Major General.'" - Variety
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Features

  • From the Trove, Pirates Remade

    From The Boston Globe, May 19, 2009: "The first thing to know about Nell Benjamin is that she carries major Hasty Pudding DNA. The Pudding musical romps staged each year by Harvard undergraduates define creative silliness. Their plots are silly, their songs silly, their puns beyond belief. She worked on three shows, including one as stage manager, another as author. . . ."
  • Playing with Gilbert and Sullivan

    From The Boston Globe, May 19, 2009: "The Huntington Theatre's presentation of Pirates! takes more liberties than the average Gilbert and Sullivan production - aficionados can be protectively resistant to nontraditional stagings. But as the operettas have made their way into more mainstream pop culture, they have occasionally been substantially revamped. . . ."

Artists

  • Farah AlvinMabel
  • Krista BuccellatoCornelia
  • Anderson DavisFrederic
  • Ed DixonMajor-General
  • Wes HartPirate
  • Cady HuffmanRuth
  • Mel Johnson, Jr.Sergeant
  • Steve KazeePirate King
  • Sam KiernanPirate / Policeman
  • Douglas LyonsPirate / Policeman
  • Chris MessinaAssistant Choreographer / Dance Captain / Pirate / Policeman
  • Brittney A. MorelloPippa
  • Julia OsborneEdith
  • Joel PerezPirate
  • Michael RossmyPirate / Fight Director
  • Caesar SamayoaSamuel
  • Dave SchoonoverPirate
  • Kristen SergeantKate
  • Christopher SergeeffPirate / Policeman
  • Erica SpyresIsabel
  • Victor J. WisehartPirate
  • Sarah ZieglerJane
  • Nell BenjaminCo-Conceiver / Additional Book and Lyrics
  • Gordon GreenbergCo-Conceiver / Director
  • John McDanielCo-Conceiver / Music Supervision and Arrangements
  • Denis JonesChoreographer
  • F. Wade RussoMusic Director
  • Rob BissingerScenic Designer
  • David C. WoolardCostume Designer
  • Jeff CroiterLighting Designer
  • Drew LevyCo-Sound Designer
  • Tony Smolenski IVCo-Sound Designer
  • Alaine AlldafferCasting Director
  • Gail P. LunaProduction Stage Manager
  • Carola Morrone LaCosteStage Manager
  • Goodspeed Opera House
  • Paper Mill Playhouse

Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA: 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116
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