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Pirates of Penzance: Music and Theater

By Joe carriere
On September 22, 2011

For the first time in years, Xavier Players, Xavier performing

arts and Xavier music department are teaming up to put on a stage production. On Oct. 21-23 and Nov. 4-5,

Players and the two departments will be staging Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta Pirates of Penzance, a

hilarious tale of hapless pirates, dutiful and lessdutiful

daughters and blundering cops. The last time Players and the two departments worked together was on a production

of The Music Man performed in 2004. They have decided to collaborate again, bringing together the charisma and excitement of Players and the performing arts department with the instrumental flare of Xavier's Symphony Orchestra.

Pirates, a light-hearted story with a lively classical orchestration, was a natural choice for the two departments.

"Like all of our other programming, we select pieces that

are representative of each genre that students will encounter in their professional careers. Pirates of Penzance is an important show in the history of musical theater. It is the type of show that singers will be exposed to if they continue their art beyond their college days," music department chair Tom Merrill said. Not only is Pirates a good representation of what aspiring music professionals should expect to encounter in their future, but it's also a fun story that any audience can enjoy. The operetta follows Frederic, a young man who is about to finish his time as a pirate apprentice, and the mishaps that befall him as he tries to leave his crew and win the love of the major general's daughter. All sorts of ridiculous dialogue and campy melodrama occur— cutting edge comedy for the late

19th century and still hilarious today. "It's sort of like Pirates of the Caribbean, but the pirates are horrible at what they

do," J.J. Long, who is playing Frederic in the production, said. There is a lot of excitement for Pirates amongst both

the directors and the cast. "I love the music! It is witty and very melodious. I love that we have such a fine cast of beautiful voices," Merrill said. Long is also thrilled about the

show, "It has gorgeous music and hilarious writing, and we have a good cast with great people." Should you check out this whimsical, endearing musical adventure? Long seems to think so. "It's going to be a show to see."


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