Pirates presents wacky view of Victorian England

Pirates presents wacky view of Victorian England When The University of South Dakota Departments of Music and Theatre present The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan, theatergoers will see an exuberant and wacky view of Victorian England.

The Pirates of Penzance, or the Slave of Duty plays Dec. 6-9 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

Written in the 1870s at the height of Queen Victoria's reign, The Pirates of Penzance depicts � with roguish good humor � the foibles of the English class system. The snobbery of the nouveau riche, feminine sentimentality, and an overly aggressive police force are subjects of Gilbert and Sullivan's satire.

Over the past century The Pirates of Penzance has become a classic comic operetta and Gilbert and Sullivan's most frequently performed work.

The action is set on the rocky coast of southwestern England where a whirl of pirates, policemen, young lovers, dewy-eyed daughters and an eccentric Major-General confront a merry-go-round of moral dilemmas.

Principal parts in the play are played by John Biddle, a sophomore from Sioux City, IA, as the Pirate King � a dashing, swashbuckling romantic. Tyrel Raba, a junior psychology major from Rapid City, plays Frederick, and indentured apprentice to the Pirate Kind.

Frederick shocks his compatriots when he announces on his 21st birthday that he will leave his free wheeling life as a pirate. He soon discovers love in the form of Mabel, one of the Major-General's daughters.

Mabel is played by Shelly Bottorff, a senior music education major from Webster City, IA. Scott Gessford, a senior majoring in theatre, plays the eccentric Major-General.

In an effort to protect his beautiful and respectable daughters (played by Holly Green, Kari Hammer, Samantha Hoskins, Randi Kent, Brandy Kitzmann, Mecia Morgan, Cassie Walters and Eve Welch) from the dangerous and rambunctious pirates, the Major-General calls upon the police to arrest them.

Brian Adams, Aaron Blunt, Werner Christensen, Mitch Hess, Tim Leith, Thomas Munson, Weston Olson, Patrick Pope, Shane Sather, Todd Stephens and Tyler Swank play pirates and policemen, variously. Erin Conlon, a freshman music major from Vermillion, assumes the role of Ruth, the pirates' maid.

The Pirates of Penzance is directed and choreographed by New York-based guest artist Jerry Yoder. Dr. Sue Ann Stutheit and Dr. John Thomson, faculty in the USD Music Department, serve as vocal director and orchestra conductor, respectively. The setting is designed by USD Theatre alum and Los Angeles-based professional designer Ahna Packard. Costumes are designed by Bea Ulrich as her MFA thesis project, while graduate student April Scott designs the lighting.

Tickets for The Pirates of Penzance are $10 for general public, $8 for senior citizens and youth, and $2 for USD students with ID. Reservations can be made by calling the USD Theatre box office at (605) 677-5400.

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