As a young boy, Frederic was apprenticed to a band of pirates through a mistake made by his nursemaid, Ruth. Now 21 years old, he disavows the pirate life forever. Resolving to lead a blameless life henceforth, Frederic takes his leave from the Pirate King and company. On the beach he encounters many beautiful and proper young maidens, all daughters of the Major-General Stanley. It is love at first sight for the handsome Frederic and the beautiful Mabel. The pirates determine to wed all the other daughters! The Major-General tells a story which saves the day, but by night he is tormented by his tale of untruth. Just as Frederic is ready to lead the Police Sergeant and his officers to subdue the pirates, he is presented with an unforeseen paradox that would make him the slave of duty.
This much-beloved satiric comic opera remains one of the most popular theater shows in the world!! Gilbert’s pin-sharp wit and Sullivan’s scintillating score filled with beautiful melodies and toe-tapping tunes (including the hugely popular “Modern Major General” song) have enchanted audiences for nearly 150 years.
A gorgeous, professionally-designed set is featured at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre. At Longwood Gardens, the tradition of performing under the stars, on the stage of the Open Air Theatre amid the tranquil beauty of landscaped gardens and fountains will continue. At both venues, the show will be fully staged with beautiful costumes and a professional orchestra. Proceeds benefit the Chester Children’s Chorus.
Historical context of the show:
After the success of H.M.S. Pinafore, many American theatrical companies presented their own unauthorized versions. To prevent that from happening again and to protect their copyright, Gilbert and Sullivan with D’Oyly Carte presented official versions of The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty, simultaneously in England and America. With Sullivan conducting, the opera premiered in New York on December 31, 1879 at the Fifth Avenue Theater to secure the U.S. copyright, with a single performance given the previous day at the Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, England, to secure the British copyright. The Pirates of Penzance played successfully for over three months in New York and then opened in London on April 3, 1880, at the Opéra Comique, running for 363 performances.
Indoor at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre & Outdoor at Longwood Gardens Open Air Theatre.
William S. Gilbert (libretto) & Arthur Sullivan (music) Music Director Peter A. Hilliard, Stage Director, Bill Kiesling, & Producer William M. Kader, Jr.