The North Riverside Players, the community’s local theater company, wants everyone to jump aboard ship as they present this year’s spring musical, The Pirates of Penzance.
The show debuted in New York City in 1879 and is a comic opera featuring Frederic, a man who upon completing his 21st year is relieved from his duties of servitude to pirates.
However, after falling in love with a major general’s daughter, he soon discovers his leap year birthday means he has not had 21 actual birthdays but rather simply lived for 21 years.
According to the pirates, he must work until his actual 21st birthday, which isn’t for another 63 years.
Almost 150 years later, The Pirates of Penzance remains English playwrights Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular show about affectionate pirates, clumsy police officers and idiots in love.
Director Cheryl Pold is excited about doing a different kind of show, choosing Pirates of Penzance to expand the repertoire of the theatre group.
“We were supposed to be doing Beauty and the Beast, but I co-chair the play reading committee and we’re trying to expand the different kinds of shows that we do,” Pold said. “We’re adding more drama [and] we’ve never done a Gilbert and Sullivan show.”
Pold figured while the show is different, audiences will enjoy the comedy.
“People know the show, and Gilbert and Sullivan music is always beautiful,” she said.
Musical Director Jim Stahulak says audiences are guaranteed to have a good time with the Players’ version.
“It is a comedic opera, so even though an individual may not like opera, it is more of a farce and comedy people will enjoy,” he said.
Players’ newcomer Jonathan Wilson plays the lead role of Frederic.
“I’m a big fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, and it’s just a hilarious story with lots of fun and tricks,” Wilson said. “I thought it would be a great time.”
Longtime troupe member Angelica Landa is acting in the ensemble as a dancing police officer, and says the family camaraderie of the group enticed her to join the show.
“A lot of the people in the cast have been here for years and you have a general sense of family, and it’s nice to have new people come in.”
The Pirates of Penzance will be performed on the stage of the gymnasium at the North Riverside Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave., on April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for ages 60 and over, $14 for students and $13 for kids under 12.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.nrplayers.com