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NU Theatre Presents Comic Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, The Pirates of Penzance | Arts & Culture

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NU Theatre Presents Comic Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, The Pirates of Penzance
NU Theatre Presents Comic Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, The Pirates of Penzance

From April 28 through May 8, Niagara University Theatre presents “The Pirates of Penzance,” a comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan. Directed by adjunct speech professor Amanda Lytle Sharpe, the delightfully zany Victorian-era production tells the tale of Frederic, a dutiful young man, and a crew of “orphan” pirates, a fast-talking major general, bumbling policemen and beautiful maidens.

Frederic’s nursemaid misunderstood his father’s instructions to find Frederic an apprenticeship with a “pilot.”  She thought he said a “pirate” and therefore made a contract with the pirates of Penzance until Frederic’s 21st birthday.  This comic opera begins with the celebration of Frederic turning 21 and his surprising announcement that he will be leaving the pirate-hood to devote his life to the extinction of pirates. But first, he would like to see a woman other than his nursemaid, who keeps insisting that she is the epitome of beauty.  He realizes he has been duped and the lunacy begins. 

Other works by Gilbert and Sullivan include “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Mikado,” and 14 comic operas which highly influenced the American musical theater movement and, believe it or not, rap and def poetry. 

“Pirates of Penzance” previews in the Leary Theatre within the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre, Clet Hall, at 7 p.m. on April 28 and will be presented at 7 pm on May 5. The production is also on stage at 7:30 p.m. on April 29 and May 6 and 7. Matinees will be held at 2 pm on May 1 (with post-show discussion) and May 8.

On April 30, the Friends of Niagara University Theatre will host the 26th annual Friends of Niagara University Theatre Gala including a 4 p.m. production of “The Pirates of Penzance” at the Leary Theatre within the Clune Center for Theatre, Clet Hall, and a cocktail reception, dinner and silent and live auction at the Niagara Falls Country Club. Tickets for the gala are $150 per person. For more information about the Gala, please contact Peg Lacki at (716) 286-8483.

Assistant director of “The Pirates of Penzance” is theater studies junior, Brittany Gabryel. Music direction is by Randy Andropolis. Dance lecturer Peter Bennett is choreographer, while theatre studies minor, senior Jocelyn R. Hanson, is assistant choreographer. Set design is by R.T. Williams. Costume design is by associate professor of design/technology, Maureen T. Stevens. Light design is by Jonathan Wyman. Sound supervision is by sound lecturer Glenn Bernardis. Fight choreography is by artist-in-residence/stage combat instructor Adriano Gatto.

Cast members include the following Niagara University theater studies performance majors:

Ross Donatelli of Farmington (Pirate King); Alan Trinca of Buffalo (Frederic); Leanne Troutman of Kenmore (Sam); Casey Lynn Moyer of Sanborn (Ruth); Andrew J. Adolf of Lancaster, Mary Boatman of Williamsville, Alex Garcia of Greece, Brianna Lanoye of Getzville, Eric Madia of Grand Island, Rachel M. Olszewski of Grand Island, Dino Petrera of Syracuse and Michael Wachowiack of Kenmore (Pirates); Renee Landrigan of Lockport (Mabel); Erin Daley of Rochester, Ashley De Mar of Watertown, Erica Miranda Diederich of Syracuse, Meghan Hinton of Lockport, Kayla Kreis of Queensbury, Kelsey Wright of Yorkshire and Chelsey M. Zimmerman of West Seneca (Daughters); Will Hicks of Ithaca (Major-General); Mike Van Dyke of Vestal (Sergeant); Bobby Hall of Syracuse, Michael Sheridan of Amherst, John Staton Jr. of Fort Myers, FL, and Dan Urtz of Verona (Police Chorus). 

There are three ways to purchase tickets for NU Theatre productions: 

1)ON-LINE:  We offer one of the lowest service fees online. Simply go to:  http://theatre.niagara.edu/boxoffice/ to purchase your tickets, select your seat locations and print your tickets.

2) IN PERSON: Visit our new box-office in the lobby of the Clune Center for Theatre, Clet Hall:   Monday-Friday 2:30-5:30 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain.

3) BOX OFFICE TELEPHONE AND E-MAIL: Call 716-286-8685 or send an e-mail to theatre@niagara.edu  Voicemail messages and e-mails are returned as soon as possible.

Ticket prices for “Pirates of Penzance”:

(Thursday productions at an earlier curtain time of 7 p.m.):

$12 tickets for general admission; $7 for Youth tickets

(Fri – Sun.): $14 general admission for adults

(Fri. – Sun.): $12 for seniors 62 and over; Friends of NU Theatre; NU alumni, employees, retirees

(All dates): $7 for youth 21 and younger (non-NU)

 Student Rush Policy: Any non-NU student, 21 and younger, with a current student ID card, may be admitted free of charge when there are seats available. Such tickets will be distributed five minutes prior to curtain. To guarantee tickets, purchase a discounted Youth ticket for only $7.

Media representatives who wish to schedule an interview or photography are asked to contact Gregory Fletcher, director of Niagara University Theatre, at (716) 286-8329 or fletcher@niagara.edu, or Ann Heuer, office & media coordinator at (716) 286-8480 or arh@niagara.edu 

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