WVU’s School of Theatre and Dance brings seafaring action and romance to life with its production of Pirates of Penzance, opening April 6.
“Pirates of Penzance is colorful, fun, silly and beautiful,” said Lee Blair, director of the upcoming production. “It is a classic operetta and melodrama from the greatest composer and lyricist, in my opinion, of the light comic operetta form, Gilbert and Sullivan.”
The production features students of a variety of creative arts majors, including voice, musical theater and acting, at both the graduate and undergraduate level working together. The company has been working since mid-February to bring together the musical tale.
“With a musical you are dealing with three different disciplines: acting, dance and music,” Blair said. “They must all be rehearsed, somewhat separately at first and then combined and connected to tell a complete story.”
Cast members went through a two-part audition process to secure a spot in the production, as well as the last production “Pericles” at the same time.
Those auditioning were asked to perform a Shakespearean monologue and a song pre-1960 from a musical or operetta to be evaluated by director Lee Blair and choreographer Yoav Kaddar.
“I’ve been in many shows, but this is my fourth show at WVU,” said Rick Mugrage, an acting student portraying the Pirate King. “You just try to prepare as much as possible for an audition and hope for the best.”
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 6-8, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 9 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the Creative Arts Center.
“This whole experience has been a blast,” Mugrage said. “Lee Blair pushes us to refine little things that help to tell the story and refine the comedic elements of the show and it’s been a blast.”