The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble and Orchestra at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will present the timeless Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance,” on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21. Both performances will be presented at 7:30 p.m., in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater.
In “The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty,” Frederic, who has spent his formative years as a junior pirate, plans to mark his 21st birthday by breaking free from the Pirate King and his wacky band of pirates. His nursemaid, now turned piratical maid of all work Ruth, has misled him as to the charms of younger women, and when he meets a group of them on the beach, he begins his courtship of Mabel, a daughter of Major-General Stanley. But because he was born in a leap year, on Feb. 29, a date that only arrives every four years, Frederic isn't technically 21—and the Pirate King is still his master. Unless something changes, Frederic will soon be on a collision course with the Pirate King’s new nemesis, Mabel’s father.
This production has been double-cast for many major roles, to highlight the talents of a broader number of Crane students. As a result, each evening performance will feature different casting.
The cast features Tristan Lesso as Frederic, Allie Brault as Mabel, Will Paddock as Major-General Stanley, Shavon Lloyd and Matthew Hogan as the Pirate King, Dominique Santiago and Gabrielle McCormack as Ruth, and Tony DeLousia and Joseph DeMato-Garcia as the Sergeant of Police.
Led by Musical Director Kirk Severtson, this production of “The Pirates of Penzance” features students from The Crane School of Music in the cast, as well as students from Crane and the Department of Theatre and Dance behind the scenes.
Stage Director David Ward joins the Crane faculty this year as a visiting assistant professor. He has served as the opera director at the University of Arizona and the University of North Texas. Ward has directed for Opera in the Ozarks, Houston’s Opera in the Heights, the Moores School of Music, Opera in the Rock, the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and for the College Light Opera Company, where he has mounted critically-acclaimed productions of “The Merry Widow,” “The Desert Song,” “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Gondoliers,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” After singing for 25 years as a basso buffo, he received his Master of Music degree at the University of Houston, where he directed “Tartuffe” and “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and began his directing career.
Three local designers’ work will also be showcased in the production. Bill Newman is the scenic designer, Catherine Mason returns as the costume designer, and Pat Downes ’18, a senior theatre major at SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Theatre and Dance, is serving as the lighting designer. Theatre major Manley Gavich ’18 is the choreographer for the show. The stage management team is headed by Jeri Barber ’18, a Crane music education major.
Tickets for the Crane Opera Ensemble production of “The Pirates of Penzance” are $10 for the general public and $8 for SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff and students. To purchase tickets, contact the Community Performance Series Box Office, located in the lobby of SUNY Potsdam's Performing Arts Center, by calling (315) 267-2277 or visiting www.cpspotsdam.org.
About the Crane Opera Ensemble:
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble provides exciting opportunities for students to experience all facets of opera performance and production, through rehearsals, coaching and classes related to performance practices and production techniques. The ensemble’s productions have garnered awards from the National Opera Association (2015, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2003), The American Prize (2011), and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (2010). To learn more, visit https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/opera.
About The Crane School of Music:
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution. For more information, please visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.
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