22 April 2011: Gilbert and Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance

Smith College Department of Theatre. Directed by Ellen W. Kaplan. Music Director, Amy Roberts-Crawford. Choreography by Stephanie Simpson

A truly delightful mounting of one of the G&S Big Ones, with a cast mostly filled by Smith undergraduates, including a Pirate King (Tara Amber ’12) who sang, startlingly, an octave lower than her natural voice, if I may put it that way. Many trouser roles, then, among pirate crew and policemen, and all of them with stout, articulate voices. Major General Stanley’s daughters were individually named. Major General Stanley himself was John Iverson, a fixture of the Smith faculty, and he was fully up to the demands of patter songs which ideally need to be sung at breakneck pace even while every last word is intelligible, while Jefferson Hunter, a colleague in the English Department, was quite fine if not terribly profundo as the Police Sergeant.

Thus, a very well cast production, very well directed and choreographed in lively and spirited ways, and the orchestra, diminutive yet full-throated, ably conducted, and right on cue with the singers. We didn’t expect nearly so professional a production, and we were most happily surprised.


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An American Playgoer at Home by Joseph Donohue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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