Swashbuckling entertainment

Majestic Theater stages 'Pirates of Penzance'

Majestic Theater stages 'Pirates of Penzance'

February 26, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - A production of "Pirates of Penzance" headed to the Majestic Theater on Saturday will seem "traditionalist" to people who've seen Joseph Papp's version starring Kevin Kline, said David Wannen, managing director of New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players.

"They changed the score," said Wannen.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Players' production at the Majestic on Saturday will stick to the original script and score, though it will take a few performance licenses here and there, said Wannen, who has the lead role as the Pirate King.

Wannen, 31, said he's been performing with the Gilbert & Sullivan Players for five years. He currently lives in New York, though he grew up in Washington D.C., and has family in Hagerstown.

Wannen said this production of "Pirates" integrates selected choreography from other popular New York shows. In the play, the song "With a Cat-Like Tread, Upon Our Prey We Steal," for example, takes a few cues from "Chorus Line."


New York City-based Gilbert & Sullivan Players specializes in the work of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.

"Pirates" is a 19th-century operetta about a boy whose father wants to apprentice his son to a pilot, that is, someone who steers a ship; through a misunderstanding, the boy is made an apprentice to a pirate.

As a creative team, Gilbert and Sullivan are credited for laying out the framework for what most recognize today as the situation comedy.

"Our sitcoms to this day have the same rhythm and same intentions (as) Gilbert and Sullivan," Wannen said.

Their work has managed to remain relevant to audiences over the course of more than a century. Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" was the first play Wannen recalled seeing, ever. This theme continued in his life, Wannen said, when the headmaster of his middle school believed children should be exposed to three things: "The Bible, Shakespeare, and Gilbert and Sullivan."

Michele McConnell has the lead soprano role, Mabel; Stephen Quint has the role of the Major General.

If you go ...

WHAT: "Pirates of Penzance," presented by Gilbert & Sullivan Players of New York

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28

WHERE: Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle St., Gettysburg, Pa.

COST:Tickets cost $48, $51 and $55

MORE: For tickets, go to

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