Written by Gloria Tierney
Coronado School for the Performing Arts (CoSA) opens its new season on Friday with a rollicking production of The Pirates of Penzance.
The musical comedy premiered in New York in 1879. A hit with critics and the public from the beginning, it is ranked among the best loved of the operas by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.
Like all Gilbert and Sullivan productions the plot is zany and topsy-turvy. It’s a boy meets girl love story with improbable twists and over the top characters—a pirate king who thinks he’s a rock star and an apprentice slavishly committed to duty.
Barbara Wolf, who directed the production, chose it because she’s a fan of the 1983 movie staring Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt.
“I also had a group of young men who were excited about doing it and had the talent to do it,” she said.
The movie was more than an inspiration. It was a template for the CoSA production. “When I looked at the original script I realized that the movie is exactly like the original,” she said. “They didn’t change a thing and neither did we.”
The madcap madness begins when Frederic (Nathan Chisholm) meets and falls in love with Mable (Kate Jamison) the daughter of Major-General Stanley (Terence “TJ” Glynn).
The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Frederic was about to turn 21 years old and would soon be freed from his apprenticeship to a band of benevolent pirates on his birthday.
But his jealous and lovesick maid Ruth (Abbey Workman) conspires with the Pirate King (Ben Shaffer) to stop by informing Frederic that because he was born on February 29—Leap Day.
Technically he only has a birthday every four years and won’t turn 21 for another 63 years. Fredrick agrees to stay. Mable agrees to wait. Both are saved by a phalanx of bumbling policemen.
The Pirates of Penance runs through Nov. 2. Show times are 7 p.m. on Oct. 25-26, 2 p.m. on Oct. 27 and at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1-2 at the CoSA Theater at 650 D Ave. Tickets are available online or at the box-office 30 minutes before each performance or online.