This weekend, the Anchorage Opera presents "The Pirates of Penzance," a comic two-act opera and the fifth collaboration between Victorian-era theatrical powerhouse Gilbert and Sullivan, on stage at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
The Pirates of Penzance centers around a band of "tender-hearted" pirates and their indentured apprentice Frederick who, being born on the 29th day of February, only has a birthday every four years. When Frederick turns 21, the pirates release him from his contract. Shortly thereafter, he meets Mabel, a major-general's daughter. Fredrick falls in love with Mabel, but soon discovers that because he was born on leap year, he owes the pirates another 63 years of service before he (technically) turns 21 and fulfills his contract. Frederick's sense of duty takes hold and drives him away from Mabel and back to the pirate band -- but not before Mabel pledges her fidelity to him.
The show has a long and rich history. It premiered in New York City on New Year's Eve, 1879. Many of the opera's themes, including domestic obligations, unqualified authority, liberal education, sense of duty and civic responsibility, were somewhat taboo for the times. Regardless of its sharper edges, the play became a classic.
In 1981, American director and producer Joseph Papp revived the work and brought it to Broadway where it had a successful run, winning both the Tony Award for Best Revival and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical. The rest, they say, is history.
"The Pirates of Penzance" will run for three days in Anchorage, beginning Friday, April 5 through to Sunday, April 7 in the Alaska Center for the Performing Art's Discovery Theater. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday's matinee is at 4 p.m.
Pirates is being presented in lieu of "My Fair Lady," which was cancelled. Everyone who purchased "My Fair Lady" tickets can use them at the corresponding performance" of Pirates.
Only a few tickets remain. Purchase them online or call 907-263-ARTS.