To Genesius Guild director David Long, staging the musical “The Pirates of Penzance,” is truly a collaborative effort between he and his cast.
“Obviously I blocked the whole show, but there are some things, where the pirates are abducting girls and the pirates and the police are fighting, where I gave everyone parameters and let them take off on their own,” he said. “It’s been endlessly creative, and funnier than I could have come up with for each individual person.”
Opening Feb. 23 and running through March 10 at Hammond’s First United Methodist Church, “Penzance” tells the tale of Frederic, a young pirate apprentice, who finds adventures with a band of seasoned pirates and falls in love with Mabel, the daughter of a prominent major.
Originally staged as an opera in 1880 and created by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan and a theatrical staple ever since, “Pirates” was updated a century later by Joseph Papp. Opening on Broadway in 1981 and starring Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt, Papp’s “Pirates” took home a handful of Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for nearly 800 performances.
“It’s a show that I think of as comedy,” Long said. “The situations are silly and in British (comedy) style … it’s been a long time since it’s been done (regionally) and the music is great and the comedy is great. The characters are just so fun, and the audience and the performers, I think, have a great time.”
Leading Genesius Guild’s cast of “Pirates” are Justin Treasure as Frederic, Mary Herrod as Mabel and Jeff DeBoer as the Pirate King.
“It’s a very fun group of people,” Long said of his cast. “They’re very fun and very creative.”
Next up for Genesius Guild is a production of the drama “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which is scheduled to open at First United Methodist Church April 19.